2nd January 2013 — Industry leaders AkzoNobel, the largest global paint and coatings company and producer of specialty chemicals, and U-Ming Marine Transport Corporation  – a major Taiwanese marine transporter of cement dry commodities and raw materials with 44 ships – have both joined an ambitious global coalition of companies and shipping leaders from around the world called the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI).

The SSI is facilitated by global sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future in conjunction with NGO World Wildlife Fund. The cross-industry group represents ship owners and charterers, shipbuilders, engineers and service providers, banking, insurance, and classification societies. The newest members, AkzoNobel and U-Ming, join more than 18 global companies already involved, including key industry players such as Maersk Line, Lloyd’s Register, Cargill, DNV, Unilever and Wärtsilä. It is the first time the shipping industry has joined forces on such a cooperative global scale to tackle big sustainability issues.

The ultimate goal is to show that collaborative action is possible, and to mobilise support across the industry, demonstrating that shipping can contribute to – and thrive in – a sustainable future.

Andre Veneman, AkzoNobel corporate sustainability director said: “AkzoNobel works together with stakeholders to develop improved products and business concepts. Our membership of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative supports our vision of working in partnership with other supply chain experts to apply sustainability thinking through the full value chain. Together we can make a real difference to our industry for the future.”

C. K. Ong, President of U-Ming said: “Forum for the Future has been a pioneering supporter of the shipping industry in setting up the Sustainable Shipping Initiative. As one of the world’s major shipping lines we felt it was critical to take part in sharing ideas and knowledge for the future and to encourage widespread adoption of new thinking to solve mutual problems.”

The SSI’s members have signed into action their collective Vision for 2040, setting out their vision and aspirations for how the industry needs to respond to the industry’s global challenges– backed up by specific commitments to action.   The key areas for action include becoming a more trusted and responsible partner in communities in which shipping operates; providing a safe, healthy, secure and rewarding work environment; diversifying the industry’s energy mix and ensuring greater resource efficiency to make dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas intensity and ensuring responsible governance of oceans; promoting greater transparency and accountability at corporate and industry levels; and enabling the financing and large scale uptake of technological and operational innovations that will lead to a step-change in the industry’s performance on sustainability.

Overseen by Forum for the Future, four initial  SSI workstreams run by member companies are currently underway looking at tackling issues including energy technologies, financing sustainable ship building, reviewing ship materials and sustainability ratings and standards. The workstreams will run over the next twelve months and the results will be announced at an international press conference in September 2013.

Stephanie Draper, Director of System Innovation, Forum for the Future, said: “The Sustainable Shipping Initiative is delighted to welcome such industry-leading organisations to join what has become a powerful force for change. Together we have recognised the major issues facing shipping and we welcome new partners who can help us on this journey so we can create a tipping point for wide spread adoption of sustainable practices.”