Maersk Withdraws From Board Membership at ICS, Citing Climate Goals

Maersk is going its own way with more ambitious climate targets (Maersk file image)

Published Jul 10, 2022 8:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

Maersk has withdrawn its representative from the board of the International Chamber of Shipping, the largest shipowners' association in the world, citing differences over climate policy.

Maersk - the number-two ocean carrier and one of the world's largest shipowning groups - said in a statement that the decision came after a climate-driven review of its memberships.

ICS is a longtime proponent of keeping carbon regulation at IMO, which has achieved limited progress on controlling greenhouse gas emissions in the seven years since the Paris Climate Agreement. In recent years, ICS has promoted a compromise plan for a small IMO-administered research levy of $2 per tonne of bunker fuel, which would fund a 10-year program to investigate zero-carbon shipping technology. IMO MEPC turned down that plan twice over the course of the past year, and ICS is now moving on with an internal discussion of industry-driven climate initiatives. 

By contrast, Maersk has already committed to a net-zero-by-2040 target, one decade ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement goal for non-shipping sectors. Its policy prescription for the rest of the industry is just as ambitious: its CEO has called for a $450-per-tonne bunker levy to close the price gap between VLSFO and future fuels, and it has founded a research institute to help find practical solutions for decarbonization. 

The gap between Maersk's goals and ICS' position appears to have drawn notice at Maersk's headquarters. The Danish shipowning giant has confirmed that is withdrawing its board membership at ICS and moving ahead with its own plans. 
”We scrutinize our memberships once a year to ensure that the trade organizations of which we are members lobby in accordance with targets of the Paris Agreement and other crucial issues. Consequently, we assess if their approach and efforts reflect our attitudes and values,” Maersk said in a statement. “One outcome of the 2022 process is our decision to support the strengthening of the [carrier-focused World Shipping Council] and dedicate internal resources hereto.”

Maersk remains a member of Danish Shipping - an ICS member association - as well as BIMCO, the Getting to Zero Coalition, WSC, and the A.P. Maersk-McKinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, among other initiatives.