The IMO has set global ambitions on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction since 2018, becoming the first global regulator to do so on a sector-wide basis. But decarbonisation and the digital infrastructure needed to achieve it, means so much more than conforming with IMO targets.
The same data that is already gathered, analysed and shared by shipping companies for compliance purposes, can be used to take more agency of their energy transition journeys. To lead and not just to follow. This is true regardless of the size or influence of a given carrier and tangible progress toward mandated 2030 and 2050 goals can be achieved relatively quickly in many cases.
For businesses of all sizes operating within the global shipping industry, the need to embrace a responsible and proactive approach to decarbonisation is rapidly moving beyond optional. Measures like carbon credits, the Carbon Intensity Index (CII), and Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), have brought the environmental impact of outdated processes and technology into sharp relief as threats to business continuity and asset values.
Pressure to bring about change and accelerate decarbonisation efforts in shipping come from both the supply and demand side of the industry. Significant pressure is building from charterers, cargo owners, and financiers as factors such as scope 3 emissions reporting and tighter environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies become embedded into the money supply. Speaking at the Inmarsat Shaping Connected Future event at Singapore Maritime Week 2023, Sarah Greenough, Head of Maritime Sustainability at mining company and prominent dry bulk charterer, BHP, remarked, “We are seeing shareholders not only demanding value, but also sustainability credentials as well. We see both of these elements as two sides of the same coin.”
But with any change comes opportunity. The maritime industry can choose to take the reins and develop effective action plans which will deliver them from present, to target states of digital and sustainable readiness. This opportunity is widely recognised by ship operators according to the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD). The action and research organisation recently surveyed 130 ship owners and charterers representing about 13,000 vessels, and found that 70% now believed decarbonisation to be very important to their business.
Our recent report, comissioned by Inmarsat, considers the approaches taken by some of the most proactive businesses in the maritime industry to spot the patterns and features common to effective energy transition programs. The result is a “three-by-three” framework, detailed in our Decarbonisation Toolkit which can be applied to any maritime business with a need to take action. The report and framework can be downloaded below.