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SEVERAL major consumer goods companies have announced they intend to switch all their ocean freight vessels to be powered by zero-carbon fuels by 2040.

Amazon, Ikea, Michelin, Unilever and several others are among the first signatories to the statement, which was facilitated by Cargo Owners for Zero Emissions Vessels (CoZEV).

The statement is intended to send a message to the maritime value chain and bunker fuel producers that freight customers want zero-carbon shipping.

Ikea sustainability manager supply chain operations Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld said the transformation towards zero-emissions shipping needs to be sped up.

“By collaborating with like-minded partners, companies, and organisations across the value chain we can create strong movements. Therefore, we have today signed the ambition statement Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels,” she said.

“It’s an important stepping-stone to manifest the commitment to decarbonize ocean shipping. With this ambition statement we want to demonstrate the determination to reach set targets and instil confidence amongst all stakeholders across the ocean shipping industry on the direction of our common decarbonizing journey ahead.”

Unilever head of logistics Michelle Grose said the company has committed to achieving net zero emissions throughout its global value chain by 2039.

“With logistics and distribution accounting for 15% of our total greenhouse gas footprint, we’re committed to working with partners and other companies to accelerate the transition to cleaner transport options,” she said.

“The next few years offer exciting and important opportunities for harnessing technology and innovation in the shipping industry, and there’s really no time to lose. Working with the Aspen Institute and collaborating with other large maritime freight users as part of the coZEV network, we look forward to accelerating the decarbonisation of the maritime industry and working towards our joint commitment of zero emission shipping.”

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The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program’s Shipping Decarbonization Initiative is facilitating the CoZEV effort. The organisation partners with organisations and companies from around the world to drive the transition to zero-emissions maritime shipping.

Aspen Institute Shipping Decarbonization Initiative Ingrid Irigoyen said CoZev represents a historic step in the fight against climate change.

“Maritime shipping has long been a major producer of climate and air pollution, and attempts to transition away from fossil fuels have faced significant hurdles, including a perceived lack of freight customer demand that has stifled investment and scalability of potential solutions,” she said.

“By setting an aggressive target today, a group of leaders is changing the conversation. And this is just the start, we expect this movement among climate leading companies to grow rapidly. This will allow us to drive economies of scale, innovation, and a surge of confidence among investors and value-chain actors that there is a business opportunity in doing the right thing.”

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