According to a new study, only 33 major shipping firms have a publicly stated goal of achieving net zero by 2050 or have committed to IMO targets of 50% absolute reduction in 2050 compared to 2008, which accounts for 35% of the world’s 94 largest shipping companies.
The study, conducted by the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping (MMMCZCS), a Danish independent research center, is based on the published decarbonization targets and actions of the major enterprises by owned capacity in the tanker, bulk, container, and RORO/ car segments.
These four divisions account for roughly 70% of global maritime emissions.
According to the research, the current level of decarbonization in the maritime industry demonstrates that, while significant progress has been made, there is still a long way to go for the industry to reach net zero within the limited time frame available for transition.
In comparison to other industries, it appears to be lower with only 35% of shipping businesses having IMO or net zero 2050 pledges.
A 2020 KPMG analysis that examined the top-100 firms by revenue in 52 countries across industries has shown that 66% of automotive, 56% of oil and gas, and 45% of transportation and leisure companies had sustainability reports with carbon reduction targets.
Among the maritime sector, the container business has the most ambition, with 16 of the 30 largest enterprises in the segment setting emissions objectives for the year 2050, said the report. In terms of owned deadweight tonnage, this equates to 69% of the overall container maritime fleet capacity.
Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of the MMMCZCS, stated that the center strongly encourages shipowners to set ambitious emissions reduction targets, preferably aligned with a net zero ambition for 2050 or sooner, and supplement pledges with tangible targets and plans already in place for this decade.
“Transparency is critical for the transition, and there is no doubt that ship owners and operators will increasingly need to be upfront about climate targets and actions , not only to regulators, but also to customers, investors, insurance, the general public, and its own personnel,” added Cerup-Simonsen.
While shipowners are required to take measures, regulators must also step up and establish strict reporting requirements of climate-related impacts subject to third-party auditing, the report suggests, proposing that requirements should depend on global standards to promote comparability and avoid creating new reporting burdens.