Amazon, Ikea commit to zero carbon shipping by 2040

Cargo owners push for increased ambition from governments either rEgionally or internatIonally

 Cargo owners, through their involvement in the Aspen Institute in the US have made a commitment to support zero emission shipping by saying they intend to stop using polluting ships within the next 18 years. The Energy and Environment Program of the US-based policy group Aspen Institute announced the intention to form Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) a coalition for ambitious action to accelerate maritime shipping decarbonisation.


This cargo owner-led network includes Amazon, Brooks Running, Frog Bikes, IKEA, Inditex, Michelin, Patagonia, Tchibo, and Unilever. The Aspen Institute says the announcement send a clear signal to shipowners and shippers that there is a demand for vessels that use zero carbon fuels that will form part of the industry’s future.


“It also signals increased interest by consumer goods companies and retailers to work collaboratively, deploy their capacities for innovation, and drive economies of scale to foster an economically viable marketplace for zero-carbon shipping.” Said the institute in a press statement.


The timing of the announcement is not coincidental given the focus being placed in the coming days on the run up to the UNFCCC’s COP 26 in Glasgow. The Aspen Institute also says the coZEV coalition is also “calling on policymakers around the world to take swift and ambitious action to advance maritime shipping decarbonisation—in their domestic, regional, and international leadership capacities”.


It points to the current goals of the International Maritime Organization to reduce to absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008.


“Given the long lifespan of maritime cargo vessels and the need to ramp up renewable energy production to support zero-carbon fuel supply chains around the world, the transition must accelerate rapidly. This announcement is intended to heighten a sense of urgency and increase confidence in the investment opportunity presented by zero-carbon shipping”

Shipping support

Some leading shipping executives have begin to welcome the announcement already.


“I very much welcome the bold commitment made tosay, “wrote Søren Skou, Chief Executive at AP Moller Maersk, who added that Maersk will continue its efforts to develop fuels such as methanol and ammonia. Skou also addressed a key element within the industry that continues to anger proponents for change.


“Incentivisation of fossil fuels must stop. We ask for a market-based carbon tax of at least 150 USD per ton CO2 equivalent. Revenues collected from this tax be recycled into R&D investments in green fuels and improved resilience into logistics chains across the world, with a specific focus on supporting developing countries as well as subsidies for the cost of green fuel”.


Also from the press statement

“The coZEV network is changing the conversation about climate solutions in maritime shipping—and beyond,” said Dan Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “Maritime shipping, like all sectors of the global economy, needs to decarbonize rapidly if we are to solve the climate crisis, and multinational companies will be key actors in catalyzing a clean energy transition in shipping. We applaud the coZEV 2040 Ambition Statement signatories for their leadership, and we urge other cargo owners, value chain actors, and governments to join forces with us.”

“The coZEV initiative represents an historic step in the fight against climate change, with its bold ambition to harness corporate climate leadership to accelerate decarbonization of the global maritime shipping industry,” said Ingrid Irigoyen, Director of the Aspen Institute Shipping Decarbonization Initiative, which facilitates the coZEV effort. “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.”

“We are thrilled to co-launch this much needed initiative aimed to help switch ocean freight to vessels powered by zero-carbon fuels,” said Edgar Blanco, Director, Net-Zero Carbon at Amazon. “We look forward to working together with the Aspen Institute and other companies to scale up innovative climate solutions to decarbonize maritime shipping, which will help us meet The Climate Pledge, a commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040. The time to act is now and we welcome other cargo owner companies who want to lead on addressing climate change to join us in collaboration.”

“We need to speed up the transformation towards zero emission ocean shipping. By collaborating with like-minded partners, companies, and organizations across the value chain we can create strong movements. Therefore, we have today signed the ambition statement ‘Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels’,” says Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld Sustainability Manager Supply Chain Operations at IKEA. “It’s an important stepping-stone to manifest the commitment to decarbonize ocean shipping. With this ambition statement we want to demonstrate the determination to reach set targets and instill confidence amongst all stakeholders across the ocean shipping industry on the direction of our common decarbonizing journey ahead.”

“Unilever has committed to achieving net zero emissions throughout our global value chain by 2039. With logistics and distribution accounting for 15% of our total greenhouse gas footprint, we’re committed to working with partners and other companies to accelerate the transition to cleaner transport options,” said Michelle Grose, Head of Logistics at Unilever. “The next few years offer exciting and important opportunities for harnessing technology and innovation in the shipping industry, and there’s really no time to lose. Working with the Aspen Institute and collaborating with other large maritime freight users as part of the coZEV network, we look forward to accelerating the decarbonization of the maritime industry and working towards our joint commitment of zero emission shipping.”

Today, maritime shipping powered by heavy fuel oil produces 1 billion tonnes of climate pollution each year — as much as a G7 country or all of America’s coal-fired power plants combined. Maritime shipping currently accounts for 3 percent of all global emissions, and could rise to 10 percent by 2050 if the industry continues to rely on carbon-intensive fuels. Maritime shipping also produces 10-to-15 percent of the world’s manufactured sulfur oxide and nitrous oxide emissions. To mitigate these negative impacts and align with Paris Agreement goals, the maritime shipping industry must transition to zero-carbon fuels by the mid-2020s, use them at scale by 2030, and be fully decarbonized by 2050, at the latest.

Share article:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Register now to secure a place



Stay On Top Of The Transformation Of The Shipping And Maritime Sectors With Our Weekly Email Newsletter.