Science based greenwashing benchmark tool launched

UCL academic/consultants publish Science Based Target Initiative with CDP, UNGC, WRI and WWF and in line with COP27 'net zero emissions commitments of non-state entities'

The opinion, from academic and green lobby groups, that shipping is not ambitious enough to meet its 1.5 degree commitment is probably not surprising. The data being produced for a few years now, and used in the IMO’s GHG reports, has underscored this, but so far it has amounted to a lot of verbal pressure, finger wagging and of course, accusations of corporate  greenwashing.


But now U-MAS, a group of academics turned consultants from University College London in the UK, has helped develop a tool to assist all in the sector, and by this one should include extremely influential customers of shipping’s services, to determine these efforts and steer clear of greenwashing.


The new Science Based Target Initiative is a partnership between the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund (WWF), has launched the SBTi maritime tool.


It is, says UMAS, a benchmarking tool that can let companies align directly with the science of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which crunches the climate figures that are used in UNFCC discussions) and the all important 1.5 degree target.


It is, says UMAS in an email to the press, guidance to avoid net-zero greenwashing.


The SBTi guidance and tools enable the recommendations from the High Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities, released at Sharm el-Sheikh during COP27, which suggest that goals and net-zero alignment should be independently verified by third parties. 


Dr Jean-Marc Bonello, Principal Consultant at UMAS, who provided the technical input to the SBTi maritime tool said; “While the rate at which the carbon intensity of maritime transport needs to decline can feel daunting, this is what the science is dictating. Initiatives such as SBTi are providing a tool for companies to assess their performance and plan ahead to mitigate against costly changes to their operations too far down the line.”


UMAS points specifically to the  coZEV (Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels) initiative. In coZEV, major retailers such as Amazon and IKEA, have set long-term targets for their maritime freight to be zero emissions by 2040.


“The new SBTi targets will allow them to benchmark their progress in the short and medium term, including actions that maximise energy efficiency and transparently reporting on their progress against the trajectories.,” said UMAS.

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