IMO and BIMCO respond to criticism of shipping’s decarbonisation efforts

BIMCO and the IMO’s Secretary-General have made statements following the publication earlier this week of InfluenceMap’s report that questioned the shipping industry’s commitment to decarbonisation. 

The report suggested that individual companies are silent on climate risks and prefer to use BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping, and the World Shipping Council to do their lobbying for them. All three of whom have been criticised by InfluenceMap for not supporting advances in GHG emissions reduction, increased regulation on the Energy Efficiency Design Index, and low carbon policies.

In response to this, a statement from BIMCO said: 

BIMCO’s position on GHG reduction is fully transparent and clearly demonstrates that we welcome the Roadmap for the reduction of GHG emissions by international shipping. Further, we have been active in setting out realistic proposals to drive international shipping towards a meaningful reduction in GHG emissions. Our position has been set out in various submissions to IMO, most recently to MEPC 71. These submissions are open and freely available.

In addition, the IMO’s Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, released a statement today: 

Recent media reports have questioned the transparent, inclusive approach adopted by all stakeholders with an interest in addressing the threat of climate change through the IMO, the global regulator of shipping, and the body most able to deliver uniform, global solutions in the spirit of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Indeed, IMO’s efforts to reduce harmful air emissions from ships spans decades, and continues this week with the second meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships. 57 IMO Member States and 21 Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in consultative status are participating in this week’s meeting. 

As is the case in other UN agencies of a technical nature, the make-up of national delegations to IMO is entirely a matter for the countries themselves, and those countries who wish to include industry technical experts or others may do so. Neither the IMO Convention, nor any of the Rules of Procedure for individual meetings limits, in any way, Member States’ ability to structure their delegations as they consider most appropriate in order to carefully consider the issues before them.  

In addition, IMO currently has consultative arrangements with 77 NGOs. They include environmental groups, seafarer organizations, and groups representing classification societies, shipbuilders and owners of different types of ships. The range of NGOs represented at IMO rightfully covers the broad spectrum of shipping, maritime and social interests. These NGO’s are selected by the Member States based on their ability to substantially contribute to the work of the IMO through the provision of information, expert advice and representation of large groups whose activities have a direct bearing on the work of IMO. Participation of organizations representing so many different viewpoints provides a balance that adds considerably to the credibility of the Organization’s overall output. This inclusiveness is one of IMO’s great strengths.

I look forward to the continued efforts of all involved to address the pressing issue of climate change.


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