Improving the sustainability of international shipping

Improving the sustainability of international shipping

The pioneering participants in AkzoNobel’s ground-breaking carbon credits programme are now reaping their first commercial rewards. Early adopters of the first ever initiative in shipping include Greek tanker and bulker operator, Neda Maritime.

The ship owner has generated 17,168 independently validated carbon credits earned as a result of proven cuts in carbon emissions from its tanker vessel Argenta. Participants in AkzoNobel’s carbon credits initiative have the option to sell their credits for cash, use them to offset emissions from other areas of the business, or pass the carbon credits onto customers and stakeholders looking to offset their emissions.

Neda Maritime, which is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and building on its reputation for sustainability, will use its carbon credits to offset other sources of CO2 emissions within its business.

“Engagement in our landmark initiative demonstrates a shipping company’s proactive approach to reducing their emissions and increasing operational efficiencies,” comments Trevor Solomon, Global Product Stewardship Manager at AkzoNobel. “This is now an increasingly important factor for charterers, the ship owners’ customers, who are looking to improve levels of sustainability within their supply chains.  Our carbon credits initiative therefore also increases competitive advantage.”

AkzoNobel’s carbon credits methodology was formulated in close cooperation with The Gold Standard Foundation, a UN-accredited organisation specialising in carbon mitigation projects.  Emissions cuts are achieved through the application of latest-generation biocide-free hull coatings such as Intersleek®, part of AkzoNobel’s International® range of products.  The emission reductions are independently measured and validated.

Intersleek® products, based on fluoropolymer foul release technology, are the latest hull coatings formulated specifically to reduce hull resistance through the water, reducing fuel consumption and thereby cutting emissions. Through the carbon credits programme, ship operators upgrading from a biocidal coating to the biocide free Intersleek® range earn carbon credits based on the amount of CO2 emissions avoided – a one-tonne of avoided carbon dioxide is equivalent to one carbon credit.

Why The Gold Standard Foundation?

AkzoNobel is working with The Gold Standard Foundation because the United Nations accredited organisation champions low-carbon development projects and is considered a world leader in the assessment and validation of carbon-reducing technologies. Credits issued by the Gold Standard Foundation trade at a premium in the voluntary carbon credits market. The Gold Standard Foundation also works closely with other transport companies including DHL, Jaguar, Land Rover and Virgin Atlantic.

Set up by the Worldwide Fund for Nature in 2003, the Gold Standard Foundation is now used by more than 80 non-governmental organisations to validate carbon-reducing technologies and issue credits, which have a cash value and can be traded in the market.

How to earn carbon credits?

The process is simple. Once a ship operator has decided to upgrade from a biocidal antifouling to a biocide free product in the Intersleek® range, the coating is applied and ship performance data is provided covering the docking cycles prior to and after the Intersleek® upgrade. The minimum data requirement is what is normally collected in vessel daily noon reports such as fuel oil consumption, speed, distance and power.

Data is then analysed and submitted to The Gold Standard Foundation, independently audited and validated, and carbon credits are then issued.

To take part in the initiative, a ship owner or operator simply agrees to participate, to share data and to specify how they would like to benefit from the carbon credits – whether in cash or in a carbon offset arrangement.

In the first carbon credit claim, more than 126,000 credits have been issued. This corresponds to 126,000 tonnes of independently validated and verified emissions savings and 40,000 tonnes of fuel savings, equivalent to about $8m at today’s prices.

“Win-win” for ship operators

Participation in the initiative has many benefits for ship owners and operators. Upgrading to a hull coating in the Intersleek® range improves vessel efficiency by saving fuel and reducing emissions. Resulting carbon credits have a cash or offset value, and they can be traded on a market in which many industrial companies participate. These include Barclays, British Airways, BskyB, HSBC, KLM, MAN Group, Microsoft and Unilever.

Shipping companies can also share or transfer carbon credits to their customers, demonstrating that they are at the forefront of sustainability and championing one of the marine industry’s most innovative environmental initiatives. Additionally, as the credits issued are independently verified, they can be used as evidence for the European MRV regulation and other such environmental initiatives.

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