Overcoming bottlenecks to accelerate the decarbonization of industry
To speed up the process of decarbonizing the shipping industry and improving energy efficiency, public and private players need to act on several fronts, starting with legislation. For the time being, most governments and institutions have not legislated or ruled on the ocean freight issue. While there are SMF objectives and EU regulations in place, these are not enough. These haven't been instituted in a clear, easy-to-apply way, as it has been the case in other transport areas, such as the electric vehicle market.
There are no obligations or limited subsidies, and there is limited visibility on potential low-carbon alternatives for these infrastructures. It's hard to understand how future solutions will be adopted, and within what timeframes they will be available. Obviously, this is slowing down the sector's transformation, and the most recent decisions by the International World Organization proposing a carbon-neutral ambition for 2050, meaning in 27 years!! This is far from sufficient to wait for this to happen, considering some contributions do already exist.
Private companies find it hard to see the benefits of using more environmentally-friendly ships or alternative, greener energies. However, they could showcase their efforts in this area to stand out from the competition, for example by subscribing to labels and certifications attesting to their efforts. For customers, this can be a real marketing advantage: rather than greenwashing taking place (i.e. claiming to be good for the environment when efforts are actually very limited, or even counter-productive), they know the approach is real and results in concrete effects.
In invitations to tender, efforts to protect the environment are gradually becoming a distinctive criteria. Price is no longer the only factor when choosing between several carriers: at GEODIS, we’re amongst the logistics providers who have added this element to our service selection criteria.
Generally speaking, logistics companies have a role to play in taking environmental issues into account throughout the supply chain. They can raise their customers' awareness of the importance of responsible shipping, CO2 emissions, duty of care regarding working conditions, anti-corruption measures, etc., encouraging them to extend their eco-responsible approach to scope 3, and suggest ways of improving in this direction.
Businesses that decide to invest in the environment are ultimately rewarded in a number of ways. Naturally, this enables them to improve their CSR and meet ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria, which are used to assess the extent to which certain issues are taken into account in corporate strategy. Reducing their carbon footprint, which is a success in itself, can also help them to receive financial aid, as well as increase their customer base, which is increasingly sensitive to environmental values. Lastly, it's a way of attracting talent by being more in tune with their values, in a market where the shortage of talents affects all sectors and all types of businesses.