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Odfjell takes the stage at UN General Assembly roundtable

As part of the 75th UN General Assembly, several high-level meetings are held under the headline: The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism’. CEO Kristian Mørch joined as panelist in the CEO Roundtable on decarbonized shipping.

The UN General Assembly “brings together a select and diverse group of global business leaders with top decision-makers from the UN and governments to identify critical actions for the ocean”. For the first time, the assembly is all digital.

CEO Roundtables on Ocean Stewardship

UN’s Ocean Stewardship 2030 report has defined five tipping points for a healthy and productive ocean:

  1. Sustainable seafood
  2. Set sail for decarbonized shipping
  3. Harnessing ocean electricity
  4. End waste entering the ocean
  5. Mapping the ocean

The General Assembly addresses these tipping points in several roundtable sessions where CEOs convene alongside NGOs, academia, governments, Heads of UN and international organizations. The discussions cover current status and the impact of the pandemic, but most importantly: What is needed to achieve the ambitions.

Set sail for decarbonized shipping

One of the top challenges for the shipping industry worldwide is realizing zero-emission ships. In the ‘Set sail for decarbonized shipping’ roundtable, CEO Kristian Mørch joined IMO’s Mærsk EVP Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, Lloyd’s Register CEO Nick Brown, StormGeo CEO Søren Andersen and other leaders to discuss what global initiatives are needed to propel the progress towards reaching IMO’s targets.

“Shipping moves 80 percent of the world’s goods. Decarbonized shipping can be a key factor in reaching the Global Goals through increasing sustainable global trade. The disruptive and transformational decarbonization challenge will affect all players in the shipping industry,” the roundtable introduction reads.

Reducing the carbon footprints is high on the agenda for Odfjell, and CEO Kristian Mørch welcomed the opportunity to discuss the topic with other stakeholders. In the panel discussion, he underlined the need for common policies:

“The sooner we get clear global policies on these matters, the better. Sustainability goes far beyond the shipping industry. Odfjell has high ambitions for our work on ESG issues, but we cannot succeed alone – we need clear regulations, common arenas and collective efforts to drive progress.”

Commenting on technologies in development and the need for global initiatives, he said:

“What probably is holding progress back a bit, is the fact that the technology that we really need in order to solve this problem does not exist today. This means that if you are a shipping company and you are looking at investing in new technology that you know today, f.ex. LNG, it will only take you half-way there. And you are looking at an asset with a 25-30 years economic lifetime. This is a hard decision to make, and I think it probably hampers part of the progress. Most shipowners are reluctant to invest; and if you do invest in the new technology, how can you be sure that the infrastructure is available for actually trading those ships? That is why it really is a matter of getting everyone together globally.”

Roundtable participants: 
Hiroyuki Yamada, Director, Marine Environment Division, IMO
Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, EVP, CEO Fleet & Strategic Brands, A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S
Harald Solberg, Chief Executive Officer, Norwegian Shipowners' Association
Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, Maritime Port Authority of Singapore
Nick Brown, Incoming Chief Executive Officer, Lloyd's Register
Kristian V. Mørch, Chief Executive Officer, Odfjell SE
Laurence Pessez, Global Head of CSR, BNP Paribas
Christine Cabau Woehrel, Executive Vice President Operations and Assets, CMA CGM
Michael Parker, Director, Global Maritime Forum-Getting to Zero Coalition, Chairman, Global Shipping, Logistics & Offshore, Citi
Søren Andersen, Chief Executive Officer, StormGeo
Patrick Verhoeven, Managing Director Policy and Strategy, International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH)
Moderator: Erik Giercksky, Head, Sustainable Ocean Business, UN Global Compact

Odfjell has been a signatory to UN Global Compact since 2011, and is committed to operating a sustainable business and continuously seeking improvements. Read more:
Odfjell endorses the Sustainable Ocean Principles
Odfjell joins the Getting to Zero Coalition
Acting today for a better tomorrow

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