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Shippers defining sustainability says group

LONDON: A study by the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), a coalition of shippers, carriers and banks, says charterers are defining how the shipping industry integrates sustainability into strategy and operations.

The group, which includes Maersk Line, Wartsila, Rio Tinto, Bunge, Cargill, Carnival, ABN AMRO, AkzoNobel and Unilever, claims it is showing how charterers are becoming a powerful force in driving sustainable shipping standards and becoming a catalyst for instigating industry change beyond regulation.

Several members say they have already achieved "significant tangible financial and environmental benefits". According to Carol Routledge, Global Sustainability manager for AkzoNobel, the company has incorporated the Clean Shipping rating index in its tendering process to inform purchasing decisions and strengthen its business value chain.

SSI logos"Including a consideration of eco efficiency rates within the tender process enables a more holistic assessment of tender responses," she explains. "It helps us to ensure that data on the environmental impact of the shipping services purchased is given due weight, alongside other considerations such as the financial impact of choices made."

Global agribusiness company Bunge reports saving some 10,000 tonnes of bunker fuel since last year by slow-steaming 25 percent of its fleet. It has also created a transparent global emissions index to help with decision-making and provided incentives to build more fuel-efficient ships.

Cargill, another major agribusiness, says it has committed to using the RightShip Green Rankings system in its vessel selection process and will only charter vessels that meet particular efficiency ratings levels. As a result it has achieved "significant emission reductions".

Confirming the trend, Maersk Line says 19 percent of its customers are requesting sustainability information as part of their contracted relationship with the company. Head of Sustainability Signe Bruun Jensen observes: "We are keen to collaborate with first-movers to accelerate the development, promotion and adoption of best practices for integrating sustainability into logistics and procurement strategies as ultimately we believe that this will benefit our business, our customers and the industry as a whole."

With charterers' sustainability and procurement processes becoming increasingly interlinked, the SSI says greater standardization across ship ratings schemes and the measurement parameters for CO2, SOx and NOx emissions could help drive greater transparency, efficiency and more consistent benchmarking for further improvements.

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