The below was first published in Tank Storage Magazine ahead of StockExpo 2022. Written by CSO Øistein Jensen.
The challenge is obvious. Sustainability is about meeting our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. But already in July 2022, we mark ‘Earth Overshoot Day’, the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources exceeds what the planet can regenerate in that year.
Climate change is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges of our times. Global warming is caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere, mainly from human activities, such as burning fossil fuels. To tackle climate change and its negative impacts, 197 countries adopted the Paris Agreement in December 2015. The agreement aims to substantially reduce global GHG emissions to limit the global temperature increase this century. We all have to do our part to achieve the aims of the Paris Agreement.
Sustainability for Odfjell is about having a long-term perspective on how we do business. It is about actions we take today that will make a difference in the future.
The best endorsement for this way of thinking is our 107-year history, and we plan to be here for the next 100 years as well. To do so, we need to act responsibly and think about our business’s long-term effects on people and the planet. In 2020, Odfjell set ambitious targets to reduce our environmental footprints. We aim to reduce our carbon intensity by 50% by 2030, compared to 2008 baseline, and to have a climate-neutral fleet from 2050. Both targets go beyond the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) targets.
Massive industry – Massive potential
Although Odfjell is one of the world’s largest chemical tanker operators, we are still a very small part of the massive global shipping and terminals industry: The world fleet consists of about 90,000 ships that trade around the globe, night and day – among them Odfjell’s near 100 ships.
90% of world trade is carried by sea. This means that most of the products you and I use every day have been shipped across the oceans, many to and from a terminal. It also means that we are all extremely dependent on this industry, as there are no sustainable alternatives to keeping the global supply chains working.
Furthermore, world trade will continue to grow: According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the demand for ocean transport will nearly triple towards 2050, so the dependency on ships and terminals will also increase. Compared to other transportation methods, shipping is by far the most efficient and environmentally friendly.
However, due to the size of the industry and as ships burn fossil fuels, shipping is also responsible for about 2-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Per today, there are no commercially available alternatives for deep-sea shipping. We are a part of the problem, but also a part of the solution – and we have a responsibility to do what we can to make a positive difference.
Sustainable performance – Sustainable financing
Odfjell’s ships and terminals handle around 600 different liquids and chemicals. These chemicals are part of our modern life, vital to countless industries and products we use every day. Society, and our customers, trust us to handle these chemicals while adhering to the highest standards of safety and quality control.