Sea Cargo Charter hesitates to raise climate ambitions

The climate ambitions of the Sea Cargo Charter initiative have been criticized by several members, but it seems they still don’t stand to be raised, Chair Jan Dieleman tells ShippingWatch. For over a year, the initiative has considered raising the bar.

Photo: Umit Bektas/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Members of the Sea Cargo Charter initiative continue to discuss its climate ambitions, which have been criticized by several signatories for not being ambitious enough.

Last week, the Poseidon Principles climate initiative, which like the Sea Cargo Charter is also an initiative of the Global Maritime Forum, raised its ambitions by adding a new track for reducing emissions, but for now, there is no prospect of the Sea Cargo Charter following suit.

According to Sea Cargo Charter Chair Jan Dieleman, who is president of Cargill Ocean Transportation, it is certainly not possible right now, he says an interview with ShippingWatch.

”The Poseidon Principles for insurance and for banking have raised their ambition, which is also linked to that it’s also going to be lifecycle emissions and not operational emissions,” Dieleman says.

”The Sea Cargo Charter is a little bit stuck in the middle to some extent, because the Poseidon Principles for banking were established earlier. So they have an additional year of reporting and working together.”

It’s clear that the Sea Cargo Charter is going to raise its ambition. There’s no doubt about that. I think the question is when that will be

Jan Dieleman, Chair, Sea Cargo Charter

The Poseidon Principles are an association of banks that was launched in 2019 and poses tangible requirements for the shipping portfolios of banks in terms of CO2 efficiency and other green parameters, so they fit with the goals of the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Questions remain

For more than a year, the Sea Cargo Charter has considered raising its ambitions, basing its efforts on the IMO’s goal of at least halving carbon emissions by 2050.

Dieleman has previously said he expected the bar to be raised as early as in the first half of 2022. But there is still no answer as to when the time will come.

”It’s clear that the Sea Cargo Charter is going to raise its ambition. There’s no doubt about that. I think the question is when that will be,” he says.

”Most companies that have signed up have similar ambitions to the 1.5 degrees Celsius [the Paris Agreement targeting climate neutrality by 2050, -ed.]. So I think it’s going that way. But there are a couple of things we need to iron out. And it’s complicated stuff.”

The first climate report by the Sea Cargo Charter initiative, which was founded in 2020, shows that the 25 member companies encompassed by the report were on average 2.7 percent away from meeting the climate targets of the Sea Cargo Charter in 2021.

The Sea Cargo Charter currently counts 34 signatories, including Norden, Cargill and Klaveness.

English edit: Jonas Sahl Hollænder

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