International trade is dependant on shipping, and the world is dependent on oil and gas as primary sources of energy. The transportation and energy sectors contribute significantly to global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions due to fuel consumption and energy use and flaring during oil production. Ocean shipping transports 90 percent of the world’s goods and generates an estimated 3 to 4 percent of global energy-related CO2. Companies in these industries are consciously focusing on improving their environmental impacts.
The A.P. Moller-Maersk Group believes in sustainability. In line with its corporate values, the company has made a commitment to developing environmentally friendly solutions to the challenges faced by oil and gas production and global transportation. Not only does this offer a competitive edge to the business, but equally important are the benefits it brings to the environment and climate.
With transportation and energy as its largest sectors, AP Moller-Maersk’s “Eco-Efficiency” strategy means using natural resources in the most efficient manner possible with the least impact on the environment, across all the business units and in the business opportunities sought. The company is constantly aiming to reduce its environmental impacts and go beyond compliance requirements in order to build competitive advantage through more efficient use of resources, lower emissions and optimizing cost.
Environmental improvement strategies are focused in the transportation and energy segments. Climate change programs are based on five guiding principles:
- Reducing environmental impact by making individual business activities as energy-efficient as possible, as it applies to oil and gas production and shipping.
- Environmental initiatives often go hand in hand with financial benefits. The less fuel consumed, the less CO2 emitted. This is good for the environment – and financially beneficial for the company.
- Globalization is increasing the need to transport goods between countries, and ocean shipping is the most energy-efficient form of transport. Shipping emits less CO2 per tonne of goods transported than transport by train, plane or truck. The more goods transported by sea, the better it is for the environment. Shipping companies are acknowledging their responsibility to improve the energy efficiency of their vessels.
- Shipping is global and therefore requires international regulation. Regional or local regulation may create unfair competition without simultaneously achieving environmental benefits.
- To limit emissions of CO2, it is necessary to increase the use of sustainable forms of energy (wind, solar and hydroelectric power, etc). But the company recognizes that fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) will remain indispensable for many years to come. The challenge facing A.P. Moller-Maersk is to produce oil and gas in the most environmentally friendly manner and for the ships to maximize efficiency and decrease fuel consumption.
To be sustainable, there must be respect for the environment while recognizing the importance of and oil and gas production and container shipping to the economies and well-being of communities around the world. This also requires that new, groundbreaking techniques are developed and solutions implemented across the entire transportation chain, including the A.P. Moller-Maersk business units of oil and gas production, shipping, shipbuilding, logistics, and inland transportation.
A.P. Moller-Maersk is known for developing technological breakthroughs in a number of business areas. Addressing the environmental impact of the operations is a significant challenge that the company takes very seriously. The company is known for its long-term commitment to protecting the environment, and often leads industry initiatives to reduce environmental impacts at sea, in port and throughout the global transportation sectors.
Dr. Lee Kindberg is director of Environment, North America and Mary Ann Kotlarich is director of Communications, for the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, a worldwide organization involved in a wide range of activities within the shipping, energy, shipbuilding, retail and manufacturing industries. Visit: www.maersk.com and www.maerskgreen.com.