How the shipping industry can calculate its CO2 emissions to start reducing them.
This article is the outcome of our work experience with one of the largest Roll-on/Roll-off (RORO) shipping companies. The shipping industry is an irreplaceable backbone of global supply chains. In fact, 8 out of 10 goods used in daily life are transported by the shipping industry. However, the sector is also a growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions:
· Per IMO’s 4th GHG Report (2020), global shipping emissions represented 1 billion tons of CO2, which is ~3% of GHG emissions caused by human activities.
· Shipping emissions are projected to grow from ~3% to ~17 % of all human-made carbon pollution by 2050.
Greenhouse Gas reduction strategy in place
In 2018, the shipping regulatory body IMO (The International Maritime Organisation), set a GHG reduction strategy:
· One of its goals is to reduce carbon intensity by 40% by 2030 (and 70% by 2050) compared to the 2008 level.
· IMO also sets targets for overall annual GHG emissions from international shipping, stipulating a 50% reduction by 2050.
Three steps to success
Despite all the regulatory groundwork, the shipping industry is still confused about how CO2 emissions are calculated. Based on our experience, we have outlined three vital steps to get started with “carbon footprinting”:
1. Foundation. Understanding the terminology and concepts of GHG measurement.
2. Data strategy. Operationalizing data collection, converting activities to emissions and consuming the insights.
3. Feedback loop. Drive operational changes, measure improvements and re-iterate.
1. Foundation: GHG terminology and measuring shipping emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions are categorized into three groups, scopes, by the most widely used carbon accounting standard Greenhouse Gas Protocol: