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Maersk Accelerates Net Zero Emission Targets to 2040

A.P. Moller-Maersk has revealed ambitious targets for its entire business to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, a decade ahead of its initial 2050 goal.

The new targets are expected to align the company with the net zero criteria of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) pathway to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The targets go beyond previous efforts to reduce emissions related to the ocean fleet.

“As a global provider of end-to-end logistics services across all transport modes, it is a strategic imperative for Maersk to extend our net zero ambition to the total footprint of the business,” Soren Skou, CEO of Maersk, said. “The science is clear. We must act now to deliver significant progress in this decade. These very ambitious targets mark our commitment to society and to the many customers who call for net zero supply chains.”

Tangible near-term targets for 2030 are set to ensure significant progress on curbing direct emissions in this decade. These include a 50 percent reduction in emissions per transported container in the Maersk ocean fleet and a 70 percent reduction in absolute emissions from fully controlled terminals. Depending on growth in the ocean business, this will lead to absolute emissions reductions between 35 percent and 50 percent from a 2020 baseline.

“Our updated targets and accelerated timelines reflect a very challenging, yet viable pathway to net zero which is driven by advances in technology and solutions,” Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of fleet and strategic brands at Maersk, said. “What is needed is a rapid scale-up which we will strive to achieve in close collaboration with customers and suppliers across the entire supply chain.”

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As recommended by SBTi, over the decade Maersk will go above and beyond the 1.5 degree Celsius-aligned targets and invest in building a portfolio of natural climate solutions that will result in around 5 million tons of CO2 savings per year by 2030.

To maximize progress toward net zero supply chains in 2040, significant 2030 targets for a range of green product offerings are being introduced, adding to solutions including Maersk’s Emissions Dashboard and Maersk ECO Delivery. They aim to reinforce Maersk as an industry leading provider of green supply chain solutions and cover ocean, air, contract logistics and cold chain businesses. These products will utilize green technologies and solutions to ensure that they provide real emission reductions within the supply chain.

Covering indirect emissions means the targets also address areas such as inland transport services and vessel building that are provided by third party suppliers. Tackling this challenge will require extensive data insight and close collaboration with local and regional suppliers of products and services across the Maersk business footprint., the company added.

“Maersk’s announcement to raise its climate ambition is an exciting and necessary step forward for the maritime shipping industry,” said Ingrid Irigoyen, director of the Aspen Institute Shipping Decarbonization Initiative which facilitates the Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) initiative.

Irigoyen noted that in October, a dedicated group of climate-leading multinational customers of the shipping industry came together through the coZEV 2040 Ambition Statement to signal to carriers, policymakers, and other cargo owners that they are prepared to collaborate, embrace fuel and technology innovation, and call for policy change at domestic and International Maritime Commission levels to eliminate greenhouse gases from maritime shipping.

“We applaud Maersk for responding to their climate-conscious customers and bolstering the industry’s collective confidence in a fully decarbonized future with this new commitment to eliminate their climate impact by 2040, and for creating measurable 2030 targets that will help ensure the success of this transition,” she added.