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19 retailers committed to zero-carbon shipping fuels by 2040

‘Support for maritime decarbonization has grown swiftly in just a short time,’ director of COZEV says

Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (COZEV) announced Thursday it gained 10 new retailers, bringing the total number of companies committed to switching all of their ocean freight to vessels that use zero-carbon fuels by 2040 to 19.

Zero-carbon fuels are expensive, if available at all right now. Building or retrofitting ocean vessels to run on those fuels also takes time and resources. 

The industry will need many demand signals such as large retailers joining COZEV to scale production, improve technology and lower costs of zero-carbon fuels.

New additions to COZEV include:

  • Target
  • DuPont
  • REI Co-op
  • Philips
  • Beiersdorf
  • Electrolux
  • ETTLI Kaffee
  • Moose Toys
  • Ohana Beverage Company
  • Sisley

These 10 companies are joining Amazon, Brooks Running, Frog Bikes, Ikea, Inditex, Michelin, Patagonia, Tchibo and Unilever, which were the first nine retailers to launch COZEV in October 2021.

Since then, several large carriers and fuel suppliers have announced plans to advance green shipping fuels and build dual-fuel container ships with the capability to run on zero-emission fuels.

There is debate in the industry about which fuels should be considered carbon-neutral or zero-emissions. COZEV specified that liquefied natural gas does not meet its criteria, and the zero-carbon shipping fuels of the future will likely be hydrogen-based, such as e-ammonia or e-methanol.

“Support for maritime decarbonization has grown swiftly in just a short time due to the bold, climate-leading companies that are making their climate ambitions as freight customers clear to maritime carriers, fuel producers, ports and other value chain actors,” Ingrid Irigoyen, director of COZEV and the Aspen Shipping Decarbonization Initiative, said in a news release

COZEV is facilitated by the Aspen Institute’s Shipping Decarbonization Initiative, whose partners include the Ocean Conservancy, Clean Air Task Force, Environmental Defense Fund and UMAS.

Shipping industry’s progress since COZEV launch

Since COZEV launched in 2021, huge industry players and governments have collaborated to make commitments and set goals to reduce emissions in shipping.

“In less than a year, COZEV has changed the narrative surrounding decarbonization in maritime shipping,” said Dan Porterfield, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “Cargo owners are kick-starting a clean energy transition in this critical industry.”

The First Movers Coalition was launched during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021. The coalition’s goal is to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors such as shipping through sending necessary demand signals to advance zero-emissions fuels and technologies.

Also during COP26, 22 nations signed the Clydebank Declaration. The goal of the declaration is to establish six green shipping corridors, which are zero-emission maritime routes between two or more ports, by 2025.

The declaration also aims to have at least 200 zero-emissions vessels using green corridors by 2030, Danish Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht said at COP26.

Following the signing of the Clydebank Declaration, the ports of Shanghai and Los Angeles partnered to begin the transition to zero-carbon-fueled ships by 2030 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions along one of the world’s busiest cargo routes and at ports.

This Pacific shipping lane could be one of the first green shipping routes.

In July, legislators introduced the Clean Shipping Act of 2022. The act, if passed, would establish standards that limit the carbon intensity of fuel used by certain ocean vessels. The goal of the bill is to protect the health of port communities and address environmental injustice.

“The global economy’s maritime decarbonization journey is still in its early stages, but such progress in less than a year confirms for us that cargo owners can drive impact quickly when they come together,” Irigoyen said. “We are so pleased to welcome these new signatories, all important global brands, and look forward to helping support their leadership in the maritime decarbonization space.”

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Alyssa Sporrer

Alyssa is a staff writer at FreightWaves, covering sustainability news in the freight and supply chain industry, from low-carbon fuels to social sustainability, emissions & more. She graduated from Iowa State University with a double major in Marketing and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about all things environmental and enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, ultimate frisbee, hiking, and soccer.