More container shippers are agreeing to progressively switch all of their ocean freight to vessels powered by zero-carbon fuels by 2040.

The Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (COZEV) has added ten multinational companies to its 2040 Ambition statement.

The move means 19 companies that are backing the zero carbon goals drawn up by the US-based Aspen Institute.

The latest signatories include Beiersdorf, DuPont, Electrolux, ETTLI Kaffee, Moose Toys, Ohana Beverage Company, Philips, REI Co-op, Sisley and Target.

These line up alongside Amazon, Brooks Running, Frog Bikes, IKEA, Inditex, Michelin, Patagonia, Tchibo, and Unilever which signed up as founding members in October 2021.

“If we are to see a vast global fleet of zero-emission vessels on the water by 2040, we need accelerated investment in that transition today,” said Ingrid Irigoyen, director of COZEV and the Aspen Shipping Decarbonization Initiative.

“This growing roster of COZEV 2040 signatories that represent a wide range of industries, boosts our sense of optimism that we can eliminate the climate impact of even the hardest to abate sectors,” Irigoyen saod.

First mover ‘not enough’

“But first mover action in this space isn’t enough,” Irigoyen said.

“We’re hopeful that global and regional policy action…provide concrete policy wins that match cargo owners’ ambition to achieve the clean energy future we all deserve.”

Such policy action might include the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act in the US, the ongoing discussions in the European Union on its Fit For 55 policy and the upcoming International Maritime Organization meetings.

COZEV was established to demonstrate the business case for investment in scalable zero-emission fuels.

The initiative argues that shipping is at risk of increasing its share of global emissions from 3% today to 10% by 2050.

High ambition from corporate customers is critical to ensure that the transition to zero-emission fuels begins by the mid-2020s and achieves scalability by 2030, COZEV argues.

The lobby group is a partner in other green projects including the Los Angeles – Shanghai Green Shipping Corridor Partnership, as well as the maritime shipping commitments of the First Movers Coalition.

“The global economy’s maritime decarbonisation journey is still in its early stages, but such progress in less than a year confirms for us that cargo owners can drive impact quickly when they come together,” Irigoyen said.