COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Maersk Line has become the first in its industry to independently verify its carbon emissions vessel by vessel -- a move that enables customers to track the environmental data along with other performance information about shipping line.
Maersk announced the development Monday and received plaudits for its efforts from Starbucks, one of the line's larger customers, Lloyd's Register, which verified the CO2 data for the shipping line, and climate change NGO Carbon War Room.
"Being a good environmental steward is important to Starbucks Coffee Company," said John Bauer, the firm's director of global transportation, in a statement included in Maersk's. "Our global logistics providers can aid us in lowering the carbon footprint of our supply chain by improving their CO2 emission data. Quantified measurement and verification is a step in the right direction."
"Maersk Line is to be congratulated for taking the lead in promoting transparency and credibility with regard to carbon emissions," said Madlen King, head of climate change and sustainability at Lloyd's Register, in the statement.
Earlier this year, Maersk developed Customer Scorecards for key clients to give them information on the shipping line's performance in several areas. CO2 emissions are now among the eight categories included in the scorecard, which allows customers to "benchmark their monthly Maersk Line emissions against an industry average," the company said.
Maersk has a goal of reducing its carbon emissions per container moved by 25 percent between 2007 and 2020.
More than 90 percent of the products traded worldwide are transported by ship and shipping accounts for 2.7 percent of global carbon emissions, according to the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.
The European Union has urged a cut in shipping emissions to 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and expected the industry to devise a proposal for doing so by the end of this year. But the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Marine Organization met last month in London without making any headway on establishing energy efficiency requirements to reduce emissions.
In praising Maersk, Carbon War Room Chief Operations Officer Peter Boyd said the company's initiative sets an example for the industry.
"Maersk has set a precedent for the shipping industry by making available this credible and detailed environmental data to their customers," Boyd said in a statement. "We would like to see effective comparisons across the entire fleet with ubiquitous indexing. Maersk has laid down an important challenge today, underlining that progress in efficiency can be made economically, and without industry-wide consensus."
Maersk is participating in efforts to help develop a global industry standard for verifying CO2 emissions and is a member of the BSR Clean Cargo Working Group, a multi-industry coalition that seeks to embed environmentally and socially responsible business principles into transportation management. More than 30 shipping lines, retailers, apparel and shoe manufacturers, and international food, coffee and pharma companies are part of the group.
Image courtesy of the Maersk Line.