Maritime task force established to support transition to net-zero

by 11, Nov, 2021Innovation, Maritime 4.00 comments

ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton (left)

A new Just Transition Maritime Task Force has been agreed to drive decarbonisation of the industry and support millions of seafarers through shipping’s green transition.

The task force will push forward shipping’s climate goals while protecting its works and their communities, ensuring opportunity for all. It will focus on the development of new green skills and green and decent work, identifying best practice across the value chain and providing policy recommendations for an equitable transition – with a specific focus on developing economies.

The task force was agreed during COP26, including in discussions with the Shipping lead, UN climate champions team, whose founding members include the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), representing shipowners, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), representing seafarers and port workers, and the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

Other UN organisations including the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will join the task force as formal partners.

Guy Platten, secretary general ICS, said: “We are all about to face the single largest transition in modern times, and all of us will be affected.

“Many of our seafarers come from developing nations, who are witnessing first-hand the effects of climate change. We must ensure they are given the green skills they need to keep global trade moving, and that developing nations can have access to the technologies and infrastructure to be part of shipping’s green transition.”

Stephen Cotton, ITF general secretary, said: “This task force will give international shipping the opportunity to lead the transformation of transport. We welcome the commitment from all partners, from industry and the UN agencies, to tackle this challenge collaboratively with workers and their unions. We know that seafarers’ expertise will lead shipping’s green transformation, and we look forward to working in the task force to push forward concrete, tangible solutions to decarbonise the sector in a worker-led just transition.”

The move represents the first of its kind for shipping and will provide clear leadership and steer for the industry to coordinate efforts and work with governments, industry, workers and their representatives to ensure a people-centred transition for the maritime industry.

Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and executive director of the United Nations Global Compact said: “Businesses are raising ambition for climate action and preparing for the transformative shift in our economies and societies necessary to secure a 1.5C future. As companies work to halve emissions by 2030, a people-centered approach is a key to ensuring a just transition that  leaves no one behind.

“With over 87 million people employed by our nearly 14,000 Participant companies, the UN Global Compact is uniquely positioned to scale the collective global impact of business to support a just transition. Guided by our recently launched Just Transition Think Lab this Maritime task force will help translate concrete strategies and policies for the sector.”

A meeting is expected to take place in December to begin setting up the practical next steps for the Just Transition Task Force.