1 of 5 | Nine major companies on Tuesday announced an initiative called Cargo Owners for Zero Emissions Vessels, in which they pledged to employ only ocean shippers that use zero-carbon fuel by 2040. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 19 (UPI) -- A group of nine major companies including Amazon, Ikea and Unilever on Tuesday pledged to only use ocean shippers that run on zero-carbon fuel by 2040.
The initiative known as Cargo Owners for Zero Emissions Vessels, or coZEV, was organized by the nonprofit Aspen Institute, which listed Amazon, Brooks Running, Frog Bikes, Ikea, Inditex, Michelin, Patagonia, Tchibo and Unilever as partners.
"By setting this target and signaling our dedication to decarbonize this part of our supply chains, we hope to inspire a surge in investment by ocean freight carriers and producers of zero-carbon shipping fuels," the companies said in a joint announcement.
The companies said they will work to track their maritime transportation emissions, seek opportunities to expand the group of cargo owners engaged in maritime decarbonization and unify their collective freight demand to help accelerate the transition.
They also called for lawmakers to act in their "domestic, regional and international capacities" to align the shipping industry with the goals of the Paris climate agreement by implementing regulations and market-based measures to promote rapid production of new fuels and technology, thus allowing zero-carbon shipping fuels to "become competitive with fossil fuels as soon as possible."
Environmental groups praised the companies for committing to zero-carbon shipping but said the 2040 goal date was not soon enough.
"We're asking Big Retail to be first movers in shipping's clean energy transition -- not just float along -- which means a 2040 target date is not sufficient," Madeline Rose, climate campaign director of Pacific Environment, said in a statement.
Rose also noted that several big-name retailers were absent from the agreement.
"We're shocked to see that Walmart, the single-largest maritime importer to the United States, did not join today's commitment," she said. "Where are Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes and many leading maritime importers as documented in our Shady Ships report?"
Tuesday's announcement comes amid an increased focus on the supply chain, which is beset by increased congestion and shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Joe Biden last week ordered major ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., to run for 24 hours a day and couriers such as FedEx and retailers such as Walmart, Target and Home Depot to expand their hours to relieve the slowdowns.