Sustainable shipping rating schemes: How to use and improve sustainability rating schemes in shipping

Time period: 2012-2013

Members involved: BP Shipping, Carnival Corporation, DNV, Forum for the Future, Maersk, Lloyd’s Register, Rio Tinto, Unilever, WWF

Partners: Southampton Solent University

Beyond-compliance rating schemes benchmark vessels on their sustainability performance, allow customers and other stakeholders to select ships and reward shipowners based on a credible assessment of their sustainability.

The SSI believes that increased demand for rating schemes has the potential to create significant change in the industry and therefore seeks to contribute towards an increase in the uptake of rating schemes across the industry through greater awareness and understanding.

To provide and improve the transparency and comparability that enables cargo owners, charterers and shipowners to integrate sustainability considerations into commercial decisions, and to move toward a more sustainable shipping industry.

The challenge for the SSI was to find ways of helping the shipping industry and its customers navigate the growing number of beyond-compliance rating schemes, to encourage wider adoption of rating schemes and to improve sustainability performance in the shipping industry.

Stakeholder research by Southampton Solent University identified five main barriers to uptake:

  • Lack of demand from the shipping industry’s customers due to low awareness
  • Perception of cost to the industry – initiatives must demonstrate a financial gain
  • Critical mass in the market – wide engagement must be industry driven
  • Standardisation in the way parameters are measured, e.g. CO2, SOx and NOx
  • Alignment with and between different industry sectors