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Inditex, Amazon and Patagonia pledge zero carbon shipping by 2040

By Rosalie Wessel

Oct 21, 2021

Business

Image: Patagonia, Facebook

Big name retailers such as Inditex, Amazon and Patagonia have joined the Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) coalition, pledging to achieve zero carbon shipping by 2040.

Joining a new cargo owner led network facilitated by the Aspen Institute, a large group of companies have announced their intentions to switch all of their ocean freights to vessels that run on zero-carbon emissions by 2040. The signed companies intend for the announcement to heighten the sense of urgency behind this issue, and to grow investors’ confidence in the potential of zero-carbon shipping.

Cargo shipping causes an estimated 1 billion tonnes of climate pollution each year, and also makes up 3 percent of all global emissions, according to coZEV. In order to meet the Paris Agreement goals the maritime shipping industry needs to begin using zero carbon fuels by the mid 2020s and be fully decarbonised by 2050.

The ambitious agreement was signed by companies Inditex, Amazon, Brooks Running, Patagonia, Tchibo, Unilever, Michelin, Frog Bikes and Ikea.

“We are thrilled to co-launch this much needed initiative,” said director, net-carbon zero at Amazon Edgar Blanco. “The time to act is now and we welcome other cargo owner companies who want to lead on addressing climate change to join us in collaboration.”

There have been other movements within the maritime shipping industry to speed up decarbonisation and lessen the impact of its global emissions. The International Maritime Organisation - shipping’s global regulator - is drafting a greenhouse gas strategy which will necessitate the industry to reduce absolute emissions. However, the strategy only requires the reduction to be 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2008.

The coZEV agreement will also enable companies to create zero-carbon maritime transportation corridors for the first time, signalling the expectation for consumer goods companies and retailers to work side by side. Additionally, the signed companies have also called on policymakers to start making strides towards total decarbonisation. The collaboration is intended to prompt policies that would make the zero-carbon transition less costly.

“Maritime shipping, like all sectors of the global economy, needs to decarbonize rapidly if we are to solve the climate crisis, and multinational companies will be key actors in catalyzing a clean energy transition in shipping,” said president and CEO at The Aspen Institute, Dan Porterfield. “We applaud the coZEV 2040 Ambition Statement signatories for their leadership, and we urge other cargo owners, value chain actors, and governments to join forces with us.”