September 20, 2010
Sustainable Shipping Initiative launched
Maersk Line, Gearbulk, BP Shipping, Lloyd's Register and ABN Amro are working with Forum for the Future and WWF on a "Sustainable Shipping Initiative" (SSI).
It will examine the challenges and opportunities which face the shipping industry over the next 30 years and what it needs to do to ensure that, by 2040, it is robust and profitable with a strong record of social and environmental responsibility.
"Shipping plays a vital role in global trade and affects the lives of billions of people around the world," said Jonathon Porritt, founder director of Forum for the Future. "Smart shipping companies can see the way the wind is blowing in terms of today's pressing sustainability issues, and leadership of this kind is crucial to the future success of the whole industry."
Founded in 1996, Forum for the Future is an independent, non-profit organization with a mission to promote sustainable development. It says it helps businesses and public service providers "to understand and manage the risks that change will bring, to find new opportunities in tackling these global challenges, to implement their own commitments to social and environmental responsibility, and to work with others to overcome barriers to action."
Jacob Sterling, head of Climate and Environment at Maersk Line, said: "Climate change is a huge challenge for all, and we believe that shipping is not only part of the problem, we can also be part of the solution. We hope that the SSI will deliver an action plan that can strengthen the role of the shipping industry in shaping a low-carbon future."
The founder members aim to bring other leading organizations from across the industry into the SSI, including global shipping firms, shippers and financiers. Members will identify the key megatrends that will affect shipping, explore how best to react to them, and prepare a case for action as a resource for the entire industry.
"Shipping is the least energy-intensive form of trade transport but, to create a truly sustainable model, we still have to find ways to lessen our impact on the planet," said Tom Boardley, Marine Director, Lloyd's Register.
CEOs and board-level representatives will launch this case for action at a members' summit in 2011, chaired by Jonathon Porritt. This will set the agenda for creating a vision of a sustainable shipping industry and a plan to create a step change in the social, environmental and economic sustainability of the shipping industry.
"Our involvement in the SSI supports our sustainability vision which is 'To take responsibility for the future through the choices we make today'," said Kristian Jebsen, Chairman and CEO of Gearbulk. "Our work with the Forum for the Future is a way of ensuring that shipping is able to operate in a manner which takes all stakeholders into consideration, as well as to evaluate and reduce the impact human activity has on the planet."
The ultimate goal is to mobilize support across the industry for this action plan, which may include technical and engineering initiatives, policy proposals, development programs for industry leaders and marketing and communications plans.