Project to Define Sustainability Criteria for Marine Fuel

new initiative to explore sustainability criteria for marine fuels
(file photo)

Published Sep 2, 2020 8:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

A new collaboration between academia and industry partners is being launched to define sustainability criteria for marine fuels. 

Working under the Green Shipping Project, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) and Copenhagen Business School Maritime (CBS) are launching a new partnership to bring clarity to the sustainability issues surrounding the alternative fuels under consideration for shipping’s decarbonization. The collaboration will focus on defining criteria to establish these fuels’ sustainability credentials and to facilitate their certification. No sustainability standard nor related certification scheme currently exist for marine fuels, according to their announcement about the new initiative.

SSI and CBS Maritime said that their partnership will develop a set of sustainability criteria for marine fuels, applying these criteria to assess the alternative fuels currently being explored for zero-emission shipping. The criteria will also feed into a number of decarbonization initiatives across the maritime and energy sectors. SSI will subsequently engage with certification bodies to facilitate the development of a sustainability standard or certification scheme for marine fuels.

“Today, we have no clarity nor consensus on the sustainability issues surrounding the fuels being explored for shipping’s decarbonization, and the criteria to assess their sustainability remain undefined,” said Andrew Stephens, Executive Director at SSI.  “This work will contribute to this debate and ultimately, inform the selection of one or more winning options for zero-emission shipping. Our partnership with CBS Maritime through the Green Shipping Project will contribute thought leadership to the broader debate currently underway in the maritime sector.”

The collaboration is carried out under the Green Shipping Project, an international research partnership managed jointly by CBS Maritime and the Centre for Transportation Studies at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Sauder School of Business in Vancouver. With the aim of advancing knowledge and understanding towards the progressive governance of sustainable maritime transport, the Green Shipping Project was launched in 2017 and is a collaboration of 18 universities and 19 government, industry, and NGO partners. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the international maritime research network is focused on five areas of research: Trade and Logistics; Green Ports; Innovation; Stakeholders; and Value Chains. 

“We believe that university-industry collaboration is critically important for the achievement of sustainable growth and industry transformation, commercialization and competitiveness, as well for the advancement of academia and higher education,” said Dr. Henrik Sornn-Friese, Co-Director of the Green Shipping Project and Director and Associate Professor at CBS Maritime. “High-quality academic research is pivotal in creating new scientific knowledge that industry does not possess, nor can create on its own. Our partnership with SSI is extraordinary in bringing together a global network of stakeholders in resolving one of the biggest challenges in today’s international maritime shipping”

CBS Maritime was established in 2013 to bridge the economics and management disciplines at CBS and collaborate with businesses and other knowledge institutions to advance the complex challenges of global shipping and the broader maritime industry. It became a stepping-stone for cross-disciplinary research collaboration across three continents in the Green Shipping Project. 

“Our research collaboration with SSI on alternative fuels provides a rich contribution to the goals of our green shipping project. It is critical and timely for not just helping to understand the challenges but also the opportunities for the essential transformation of the maritime sector,” concluded Dr. David Gillen, Principal Investigator of the Green Shipping Project and Director of the Centre for Transportation Studies and Professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business.