Accumulated and verified in conjunction with the Gold Standard Foundation, the 14 vessels from Grimaldi Group have been enrolled in the programme after upgrading to the biocide-free Intersleek hull coating from AkzoNobel.

The coating can improve vessel efficiency and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Under the scheme, carbon credits are awarded for every tonne of verified CO2 that is saved and are currently valued in excess of $500,000 based on the current market.

“The carbon credits are an added incentive for ship owners to be more sustainable and are something that goes beyond the operational benefits,” AkzoNobel’s director of sustainability André Veneman said. “We want to make sure that ship owners receive a financial reward for reaping the investment into sustainability by earning real money for emissions that they take out of the atmosphere.”

Currently, more than 4,500 vessels are using Intersleek coating, which AkzoNobel claims has achieved total annual reductions of 17 million tonnes in carbon emissions – equivalent to 1.5% of the shipping industry’s global emissions. In total, 50 of these vessels are enrolled in the carbon credits programme.

Grimaldi Group’s external relations manager Paul Kyprianou said: “Being awarded the largest ever issue of carbon credits demonstrates Grimaldi’s commitment to its social and environmental responsibilities, and to pioneering the market in developing transport and logistics solutions that are founded on sustainability.

“The shipping industry is under significant pressure to improve operational and environmental efficiencies and AkzoNobel’s carbon credits programme is an initiative that can play a significant role in helping achieve this.”

In February this year, AkzoNobel issued more than 126,000 carbon credits – worth more than $500,000 – to 16 ships belonging to various operators, in a move that reduced the emissions of each vessel by 4,000 tonnes annually. The 16 vessels collectively received 126,785 carbon credits. On average, these credits equate to 1,250 tonnes in fuel reduction.

The company has also introduced the Intersleek 1000 range, after the whistle-blowing website WikiGreen – which focuses on the shipping and coatings industry – called out AkzoNobel in September for its use of tin as a “catalyst” in its anti-fouling coatings. The new range can reportedly offer fuel savings of up to 6%.

The new Intersleek 1000 coating has already been tested on pure car carriers, container vessels and LNG ships. One vessel, coated with Intersleek 1000, has already generated 1,500 carbon credits during a five-year trial – representing the removal of 1,500 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere.

Sustainable shipping

Veneman claimed that companies could choose to store the credits and wait for the market price to rise – which he expects will in the near future. While the credits can also be used across other sectors including aviation, AkzoNobel hopes that the credit scheme contributes to “greater policies and a more sustainable shipping industry”.

The shipping industry – which accounts for 4% of the Europe’s carbon footprint – saw emissions reach 949 megatonnes in 2014, and could rise by up to 250% by 2050 without clear industry guidance and political procedures.  

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) meets in London this week to discuss what measures could be adopted to reduce maritime emissions, but has already been criticised for a lack of movement in establishing a global framework.

Without the necessary regulatory guidance, there is only so much progress that the private sector can make. But, it appears that companies are undeterred by the IMO’s stance and are forging ahead with new agendas.

AkzoNobel, along with WWF and Unilever, is part of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative coalition, which has previously launched a roadmap that encourages the shipping industry to promote sustainable practices.

The roadmap aims to overcome barriers linked to the lack of availability of skilled labour; issues over workers’ welfare; increased demand for transparency and regulation; as well the lack of desire to promote shipping as a viable workplace.

Matt Mace

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