Decarbonize the maritime shipping industry and reduce its environmental impacts by implementing changes throughout the supply chain of internationally traded goods.
Using giant container ships to ferry ninety percent of all consumer goods, the maritime transport industry is the backbone of the globalized economy. As global populations and economies grow, maritime trade volumes are set to triple by 2050. The sector accounts for three percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and is projected to continue growing as demand increases. Large-scale change is needed across supply chains to reduce shipping emissions and pollution, including investment in low-to-zero carbon fuels and the vessels that can run on them. Retailers should prioritize maritime shipping over more emissions-intensive air freight and employ lightweight, streamlined packaging for their distributed goods. Individuals can do their part by shopping locally, or at least domestically, which cuts emissions from the shipping industry and the trucks, planes, and trains involved in the last leg of a product’s journey. Governments, port authorities, and shipping companies have responsibilities to transition to zero-carbon, low-impact shipping. Experts have mapped a pathway to decarbonize and minimize ecological harm over the coming decades, but enormous investment, innovation, and collaborative effort are required.