Sustainable shipping is more than just carbon reduction

The Lloyd’s List Podcast

The shipping industry has no shortage of discussions purporting to be about sustainability, but there is a case to be made that we are having the wrong discussions.

They are certainly too often too narrow and performed in isolation.

Selecting zero- and low-carbon marine fuels is not just about the narrow aspects that are to be regulated, nor are they just about what comes out of a ship’s smoke stack.

Price, availability and technical feasibility — that’s all on the agenda right now. But to be truly sustainable over an entire lifecycle are we including sufficient consideration of the operations around the production, transport, storage, handling and use of marine fuels? Have we considered social, labour and human rights, ecological impacts? Safety? Land use change?

The shipping industry’s impressively ineffective history of regulatory progress can be read as a series of reactive measure closing doors after the proverbial horse has bolted, and almost always done in blind isolation from the unintended, but generally unconsidered consequences of their actions.

In a special extended edition of the Lloyd’s list Podcast this week, Editor Richard Meade is joined by an international panel of guests prepared to lift their heads sufficiently to consider the bigger picture of sustainability when it comes to shipping’s zero carbon transition.

Speaking on this week’s edition are:

•            Katharine Palmer, Global Sustainability Manager at Lloyd’s Register

•            Mark Lutes, Senior Advisor on Global Climate Policy at WWF’s Climate and Energy Practice

•            Simon Bennett, General Manager for Sustainable Development at The China Navigation Company

During the discussion the group references the white paper Defining sustainability criteria for zero and low carbon marine fuels which sets out sustainability issues and principles surrounding marine fuels under consideration for shipping’s decarbonization. The paper, published by the Sustainable Shipping Initiative and Lloyd’s Register, can be accessed here.