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Shipping has focused on fuels as the one factor it can control in the push to decarbonise, but the creation of a truly sustainable industry will require a more holistic ‘lifecycle’ approach. The concept of a circular economy requiring us to reduce, reuse, refurbish and recycle should be a sustainability slam dunk, but it requires cross-sectoral collaboration, global regulation and business model innovation — all challenges this industry has traditionally struggled to overcome. So how do we close the loop on the circular economy for shipping?
WHAT will sustainable shipping look like in the decades ahead? In the clamour to cut carbon emissions it would be easy to forget that building a sustainable business is more than a single-topic subject.
And yet as an industry we have been primarily focused on reducing emissions from ship operations through developing and scaling up alternative fuels.
But a sustainable pathway to decarbonisation needs to go beyond the engine and consider the rest of the vessel, including materials and processes at the construction and recycling stages.
It needs to consider how shipping fits into the wider principles of waste reduction, better material flows, reducing and reusing, less carbon-intensive materials across global trade.
Decarbonisation of the global economy requires massive changes beyond fuels. More circularity may reduce inefficiencies and give rise to novel solutions that allow more economic activity using fewer resources — and demand less transportation of virgin materials and fossil fuels.
A circular economy may even hold the potential to redefine shipping business models, from a commoditised service — to a value-adding facilitator of a more circular flow of products, materials and services.
The concept of a circular economy and how it can be applied to shipping has graced the footnotes of many an ESG report over recent years as something of a sustainability buzzword, but the pragmatic and practical consequences of what it actually means in practice have arguably not received the attention they deserve.
Well no longer, the Lloyd’s List Podcast is on the case. This week’s edition is a slightly extended one brought to you in collaboration with our friends at the Sustainable Shipping initiative.
Joining Lloyd’s List Editor Richard Meade this week:
- Samantha Bramley, Executive Director, Environmental and Social Risk Management, Standard Chartered Bank
- Ginger Garte, Lloyd’s Register Foundation Environmental & Sustainability Director, Americas
- Capt. Prashant S. Widge, Head of Responsible Ship Recycling at Maersk
- Andrew Stephens, Executive Director, The Sustainable Shipping Initiative