Global ShippingEarlier this week, the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced a revised strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) associated with the global shipping industry. Members of the IMO unanimously agreed to a goal of net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping by 2050, the latest in a global push towards elusive net-zero across many sectors. According to the IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, “we have to pay more attention to supporting developing countries…so that no one is left behind.” As exemplified in the struggles of developing nations, profit maximization can initially stand at odds with environmental considerations, even more so for nations with fewer resources for investment. 

To ease this transition, developed countries, IGOs, and business need to work together, and the changes led by the IMO are the latest in a widespread push for greater environmental responsibility in the global shipping industry. For businesses around the world, the transport of both raw and finished materials has proved to be a complication in ESG considerations. Finding environmentally-conscious shipping partners while maintaining competitive pricing can be difficult with limited options. The IMO’s Levels of Ambition – energy efficiency, decline of carbon intensity, uptake of near-zero GHG technology – will hopefully help to provide ESG-friendly alternatives to shipping around the globe.

Considering these recent initiatives, do you think that UN-led programs are enough for a widespread transition? If not, how can international change be organized?

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