IKEA pledges to accelerate zero-emission shipping

On March 29, the Aspen Institute announced the addition of IKEA as the first member of the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA), alongside co-founders Amazon, Patagonia and Tchibo. ZEMBA is a first-of-its-kind effort to create aggregated demand for zero-emission maritime fuels. The mission of ZEMBA is to accelerate commercial deployment of zero-emission shipping, by leveraging companies’ collective buying power to accelerate the zero-emission vessel market and realize the ambition of zero-emission ocean shipping by 2040.  

The Ship It Zero coalition commends IKEA for joining Amazon, Patagonia, Tchibo and the Aspen Institute as a leader that will bring about transformation in the shipping decarbonization movement by addressing the need to accelerate technologies for the shipping sector. 

Ship It Zero is particularly encouraged by ZEMBA’s focus on immediate action, noting the announcement’s commitment to issue a request for proposals for zero-emission shipping this year to move products by no later than 2025-2026. In addition, it welcomes the focus on “emissions on a lifecycle basis, for all greenhouse gasses, not limited to carbon dioxide,” which major shipping carriers should take as a clear sign to stop investing in methane-emitting liquified natural gas (LNG).

“We applaud IKEA’s commitment and leadership to zero-emission shipping as the first member of the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance. The latest UN climate change report makes it clear: we must act urgently to secure a liveable future for all, which means achieving 100% zero-emission ocean shipping by 2030. We need big, bold actions to combat climate change, and call on Walmart, Home Depot and Target to step up to the challenge,” said Eric Leveridge, Corporate Climate Campaigner, Pacific Environment.

“We appreciate IKEA’s leadership in becoming the first member to join this alliance and its commitment to zero-emission shipping by the end of the next decade. It’s a step in the right direction but simply fails to meet the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to rapidly decarbonize ocean shipping. We urge companies to commit to achieving 100% zero-emission, fossil-free ocean shipping by 2030 to ensure a healthier, cleaner tomorrow for our communities and our climate,” said Kendra Ulrich, Shipping Campaigns Director for Stand.earth. 

The global shipping industry accounts for 3% of global climate emissions, more than global air travel. If shipping were a country, it would be the world’s sixth largest climate polluter. But since maritime shipping negotiated itself out of the U.N. Paris Agreement, the effort to reduce emissions in the industry has been slower than in other sectors.

Approximately 90% of the world trade is transported by sea, and current business-as-usual scenarios project emissions will grow up to 50% over 2018 levels. While the International Maritime Organization noted increased ship size and operational improvements aimed at creating better fuel efficiency have resulted in a decrease in emissions intensity, annual absolute emissions are still increasing.

Photo credit: iStock/ Sundry Photography. IKEA store in Silicon Valley, San Francisco bay area.

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