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Shipping Company Climate Ratings: Nowhere to Hide

Barry Parker
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May 23, 2022

All of the in-person extravaganzas that were put on hold in Q1 2020 are now back, albeit with schedules slightly off-kilter. So it is with the World Economic Forum (WEF), a confab of important and wealthy folks who gather in Davos, Switzerland. Previously, its meetings were held during the weeks after Christmas/ New Years, ski season in the Swiss Alps. This year, the meeting will be held during the last week of May. 

The WEF has some not so tangential connections to shipping; the Global Maritime Forum, based in Copenhagen (and integral to initiatives including the Poseidon Principles for Marine Finance, and the Sea Cargo Charter, among others) lists the WEF among its list of Project and Knowledge Partners. So there is indeed a nexus.

At the 2022 event, Keith Svendsen, Chief Executive Officer of APM Terminals, A.P. Møller-Maersk, Denmark, will be participating on a panel titled “Unlocking New Investment and Services Markets”, set for May 24th

It goes without saying that one of the major issues discussed at Davos is climate change (though geo-politics seems to be the major topic for reasons well known). Nevertheless, the topic will come up, and this got me looking into what influencers outside of day-to-day shipping operations, looking for ratings of shipping companies at high levels, might be seeing.

A non-profit group called CDP Global (describing itself as “the gold standard of environmental reporting”) issued a report late last year with scores for individual companies (see here and scroll to the bottom of the page). The report, prefaced by “The A List”, notably includes a number of maritime companies.  

In my articles and occasional rants, I’ve suggested that shipping companies will need to be responsive to cargo providers, who are under numerous microscopes when it comes to emissions generally. For readers who have any doubts, check out  https://www.cdp.net/en/supply-chain which explains environmental disclosure services and invites customers to sign up. If readers have any doubts about shipping’s place in the cross-hairs, consider that the website’s “supply-chain” page has a banner image mid-page of a fully laden container ship. CDP lists McKinsey, the consultants, as a “Partner”. McKinsey also figures in efforts of Global Maritime Forum and other experts who have opined in maritime emissions. 

The CDP report (which I found through a McKinsey publication regarding the upcoming Davos 2022 meetings) rates hundreds of companies across multiple parameters, and the online data can be grouped by industry categories (again, see here). In the different sectors related to “Transport”, the table below shows the scores that I found for maritime companies. Before getting too excited about the various “F” ratings- CDP indicates that an “F” refers to a failure to provide data fitting into the CDP algorithms.

With 2023 and the new carbon intensity (CII) regulatory reporting requirements coming up, there are literally dozens of providers for CII information. CDP attempts to provide its rating across much broader parameters than whether individual vessels are meeting their “trajectories,” or not. Nevertheless, with CDP (and others) looking at such scores, it will be harder and harder for maritime companies to remain invisible. 

Here’s a preview of the CDP ratings below:

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