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New coalition with Inditex, Ikea, Amazon aims to decarbonise ocean cargo by 2040

By Simone Preuss

27 Oct 2021


COZEV / Aspen Institute

A new coalition named Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (COZEV) facilitated by the international NGO Aspen Institute has committed to a first-of-its-kind target to progressively switch all of their ocean freight to vessels powered by zero-carbon fuels by 2040. Among the nine first signatories are Amazon, Brooks Running, Frog Bikes, Ikea, Inditex, Michelin, Patagonia, Tchibo, and Unilever.

The coalition’s aim is to accelerate the decarbonisation of shipping and to jointly develop and offer marketable carbon-free marine fuels. With about 90 percent of the world’s trade transported by sea, global shipping accounts for almost 3 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. The sector is therefore under increasing pressure to become cleaner.

coZEV / Aspen Institute

“Maritime shipping has long been a major producer of climate and air pollution, and attempts to transition away from fossil fuels have faced significant hurdles, including a perceived lack of freight customer demand that has stifled investment and scalability of potential solutions. By setting an aggressive target today, a group of leaders is changing the conversation.  And this is just the start, we expect this movement among climate-leading companies to grow rapidly. This will allow us to drive economies of scale, innovation, and a surge of confidence among investors and value-chain actors that there is a business opportunity in doing the right thing,” commented Ingrid Irigoyen, director of the Aspen Institute’s Shipping Decarbonisation Initiative.

Joining forces with other global shippers is essential for signatories to drive a transformation towards zero-emission maritime transport. “The Tchibo supply chain is also significantly influenced by shipping. Over 90 percent of the non-food items and raw coffee purchased are transported to Germany by container ship. This is why Tchibo’s CO2 emissions are so strongly influenced by shipping,” explains the German retailer in a press release.

COZEV / Aspen Institute

The United Nations have set a target to reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from 2008 levels by 2050, with increasing calls for a more ambitious goal of complete decarbonisation by 2050. A 50 percent reduction will also require the rapid development of zero- or low-emission fuels and new designs for ships.

“The demands of our global economy have grown over the last year, even as public understanding of the negative impact shipping emissions have on our environment grows as well. The COZEV network is the first collaborative effort of maritime freight customers to motivate the rest of the maritime value chain to invest in zero-carbon shipping,” explained Greg Gershuny, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Energy and Environment Program

“COZEV is also unique in its ability to harness cargo owner voices to call on policymakers at various levels to support this essential clean energy transition in shipping. Maritime shipping is the lifeblood of global commerce, and it must come into alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Policymakers should enact measures that can make zero-carbon shipping competitive with fossil fuels as soon as possible,” summed up Gershuny.