Time period: 2020-Present

Members involved: Bunge, Forum for the Future, IMC, Lloyd’s Register, Louis Dreyfus Company, Maersk, Oldendorff Carriers, RightShip, South32, Swire Shipping, WWF

Partner: Copenhagen Business School (CBS) Maritime, Green Shipping Project

Ocean transportation is currently the most environmentally sound mode of transport in terms of CO2 emissions per tonne of cargo transported. Despite this, shipping is still responsible for 2.6% of total global anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which is broadly equivalent to the emissions of Germany.

The adoption in April 2018 of the IMO initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships sets out a vision to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping and phase them out entirely in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. For this to be possible, zero-emission vessels (ZEVs) must enter global fleets as soon as possible.

An initial review of the sustainability issues by SSI members surrounding the alternative fuels being explored for shipping’s decarbonisation remain unclear. The sustainability criteria of these fuels remain undefined, posing a challenge to sustainability standards and certification – and ultimately, the selection of one or more winning options for zero emission shipping. Additionally, standards and certification schemes do not currently exist for these fuels.

SSI has identified a set of sustainability issues and principles for the alternative fuels under consideration, capitalising on the building momentum on the search for technically, commercially viable and sustainable ZEVs through initiatives such as the Getting to Zero Coalition (for which SSI is a knowledge partner in the fuels and technologies workstream).

Contributing thought leadership to the broader debate currently underway in the maritime sector, SSI’s work will provide clarity on the sustainability issues surrounding the fuels currently being explored for shipping’s decarbonisation.

Through this work SSI aims to map existing sustainability standards and certifications of relevance as well as define the sustainability criteria for the fuels being considered as part of shipping’s decarbonisation, to establish their sustainability credentials and facilitate certification.

The sustainability criteria for marine fuels will be conducted across three phases:

Phase 1: Preliminary compilation of sustainability criteria for marine fuels and presentation of preliminary criteria at key industry forums for initial testing/validation and feeding into ongoing industry initiatives

Phase 2: Research and consultations on sustainability criteria for marine to validate/challenge the preliminary criteria developed in phase 1; explore existing sustainability standards and certification of relevance for marine fuels; and understand stakeholder perceptions and the application of these

Phase 3: Facilitation of the development of a sustainability standard/certification for marine fuels, through engagement with standards and certification bodies to use SSI’s work as a building block to develop a sustainability standard and/or certification for marine fuels

  • Set of sustainability criteria for marine fuels
  • Development of report and academic paper on the sustainability issues surrounding these fuels, and dissemination to stakeholders across and beyond the maritime industry
  • Facilitation of sustainability standard/certification for marine fuels by relevant standards and certification bodies