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Shippers Pledge Sustainability Performance Standards

Major shipping companies have pledged to pioneer methods for stakeholders to compare sustainability performance, in an effort to improve the industry’s environmental impacts.

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative, which includes Maersk Line, Rio Tinto, Cargill and BP Shipping, released a Vision 2040 paper to outline “specific commitments to action,” though the paper does not list any deadlines or quantitative targets for improvement. Today’s release builds on the initiative’s Case for Action, published in May.

Today’s paper said the companies will encourage their customers to make sustainability performance a key factor in selection. The firms said they will promote global adoption of an agreed set of performance standards, and will develop preferential access to capital and insurance that rewards high sustainability performance.

The companies plan to work in partnership to share risks and benefits associated with developing, testing and implementing sustainable innovation and technology for both new-build and retrofit of ships.

They said they will pioneer aggressive energy efficiency improvements in new ship designs, retrofitting and operations., and will actively seek renewable energy sources to significantly reduce greenhouse gas intensity.

The members also said they will implement systems to trace ship building materials and their sources, with the ultimate aim
of end-to-end accountability for these materials, and will explore ways to put a financial value on ecosystems goods and services.

The paper also outlined four work streams that will be launched in spring 2012. These will tackle financing new technology, reducing vessels’ life-cycle impact, achieving a step-change in energy technology innovation and uptake, and producing standards to drive improved sustainability performance.

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