A number of leading shipping companies, including Maersk Line, have pledged to work towards a more sustainable business model, covering energy use, the environment and employment, as part of a major new strategy document.
The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), a coalition of 17 global companies and NGOs has this week launched its Vision for 2040, described as “the first time such a wide-ranging approach has been taken to the challenges facing an industry which carries 90 per cent of world trade”.
According to SSI, the stategy document is intended to address the three principal challenges facing the industry – rising oil prices, structural shifts in world trade and “growing scrutiny” of the sector’s social and environmental performance.
Jonathan Porritt, director of SSI coordinator Forum for the Future, said: “Shipping has reached a crossroads. After years of focusing on a commodity-focused ‘boom and bust’ business model, leaders in the industry have aligned to ask more of themselves – emphasising the urgent need to take the lead in reshaping the entire industry ahead of regulation.”
Among other commitments, the document’s signatories have pledged to develop new finance models for the faster introduction of new technologies, overcome barriers to the uptake of low-carbon and energy efficient techonolgies, reduce the life-cycle impact of ship materials and “weed out” poor working practices.
Maersk Line chief operating officer, Morten Engelstoft, said: “We are in business for the long-term and therefore take an active role in defining the future we want to be part of. Delivering on a joint vision for our industry will help drive a needed change in operating models – thereby allowing economies to grow, trade to develop and social wealth to spread.”