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COPENHAGEN: The Clean Shipping Index (CSI) and the Clean Cargo Working Group (CCWG) —two environmental reporting initiatives for ships and ship operators—are to create a single global initiative that provides a uniform set of environmental reporting and assessment tools for logistics procurement.

The two organisations say the recent proliferation of market-oriented environmental initiatives and standards for the maritime industry, while a positive development for sustainability, has bred confusion for shippers and carriers.

Volvo hybrid bus"Alignment behind one initiative is of great importance to the industry and our members, and this will help us more quickly reach our common goal of improving the environmental performance of the transport and logistics supply chain," said Angie Farrag-Thibault, project director of CCWG and associate director of the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) transportation and logistics practice.

Commenting on the move, Susanna Hambeson, environmental manager at Volvo Group Logistics Services said: "For Volvo it's important to be a part of such a proactive environmental project and to work together with so many prominent environmentally focused companies. The [CSI] database is easy to understand and to work with – it's a flexible tool and a great way to work with the shipping companies. It makes my work easier."

Hambeson added that if its major logistics suppliers don't submit their data, Volvo won't use them: "If they submit data and the environmental performance is good we might extend our collaboration." Currently, Electrolux, Heineken, IKEA, Marks & Spencer, and Nike are using CCWG metrics and tools to review and compare ocean carriers on their sustainability practices and set expectations with transport providers for continuous improvement.

The CCWG has 40 member companies with an equal spread of carriers and shippers, including 18 liner fleet operators and 18 global shippers and freight forwarders. The CSI is used by shippers as a benchmarking tool to evaluate the environmental performance of 19 of the world's largest container carriers.

According to the BSR, transport accounts for about a quarter of global energy-related carbon emissions and it works with SmartWay, GreenFreight Europe, and GreenFreight Asia in a bid to align global standards. In addition, Kühne Logistics University researchers are now using CCWG data to analyse operational decisions that can improve environmental performance.

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