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Reflecting on our impact in 2023

With the end of the year drawing near, Lora Jakobsen, Chief Purpose Activist, reflects on how collective climate ambition can be put into action, and ZeroNorth's contributions to driving greener global trade in the past 12 months.

I was honoured to attend this year’s COP28 in Dubai, which felt like a pivotal moment in fighting climate change. It was inspiring to see different industries, countries, and organisations come together, united in their genuine desire to make a difference. Progress is slow, but we are still making progress.

Setting global climate objectives, hearing strategies for meeting these goals, and evaluating progress made me think about ZeroNorth’s achievements so far and how we can turn this collective ambition into action. This also drew me to reflect on our role so far in furthering the global trade climate agenda. In 2023, we have had significant impact in reducing CO2 emissions from our customers’ vessels, preventing more than 750,000 metric tonnes from entering the atmosphere. Beyond this, ZeroNorth has also championed collaboration, playing a pivotal role in shaping conversations and initiatives that will drive greener global trade.

While at COP28, people considered how to turn climate ambition into action, ZeroNorth is already enacting this in our mission to drive greener global trade. And that mission is clear: to forge strong relationships with key stakeholders in the wider climate, concerned leaders, the global shipping industry, regulatory bodies, and the public to drive a unified approach to reducing our impact on the planet.


The importance of collaboration

Decarbonisation is one of the biggest challenges facing the global trade ecosystem, particularly as it seeks to balance both profit and sustainability motives. However, industry leaders do not need to navigate the decarbonisation journey alone. By forging partnerships, the shipping industry can work together to find solutions to the challenges holding back decarbonisation and collaborate on initiatives that will accelerate the green transition. ZeroNorth not only believes in the power of collaboration but is active in partnerships across the global trade ecosystem to help drive meaningful impact in the fight against climate change.

ZeroNorth is a member of the Global Maritime Forum's (GMF) Short-Term Actions Taskforce and a signatory of the operational efficiency ambition statement, and in 2023, has helped to define a new roadmap for shipping companies to drive immediate emissions reductions. As part of a collective of 30 maritime companies, ZeroNorth outlined five key action areas to improve vessels’ operational efficiency, committing to adopt these measures at the GMF’s Annual Summit, held in Athens this past October (read more). The five areas are data collection and transparency; contractual changes; pilot projects; ports, terminals, and value chains; and culture and leadership. Together, we signed an ambition statement agreeing to take collective action in these five areas, assessing progress, and taking a leadership role in highlighting the importance of operational efficiency in driving shipping’s decarbonisation.

ZeroNorth also partnered with Energy LEAP, a strategic alliance between energy majors, and other industry partners to develop a Vessel Emissions Reporting Standard (VERS 1.0) for tanker ships (read more). The new standard sets out a standard way of managing and reporting emissions data to track progress and ensure compliance with the IMO’s decarbonisation goals. With a standard outlining the data points that should be collected daily, ZeroNorth is helping to improve the quality of the data operators collect to enhance emissions analytics, as well as further assist owners in reporting on emissions at the end of each year.

Building on our success with VERS 1.0 for tanker shipping, I am also thrilled to be the chairperson of a collaboration between ZeroNorth's working group Impact Today and Energy LEAP to develop a standard for dry bulk vessel emissions reporting in 2024 (read more). This will support the accurate reporting of these vessels' emissions, as the tanker and dry bulk markets require differentiated standards. Today's data collection practices are not robust enough to comply with the MRV and EEXI, or voluntary reporting under the Sea Cargo Charter. Driving standardisation across both the tanker and dry bulk markets will dramatically improve how data is processed and utilised, strengthening data insights and outcomes for the wider industry and tackling the fragmentation holding back shipping’s green transition.


Looking ahead

Next year, ZeroNorth will look to build on our successes in 2023 and continue to drive impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating the green transition. This year, we have had great successes in the bunker space. We have consolidated our product and service offerings after a string of acquisitions, our eBDN solution was chosen as one of just three solutions piloted by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore as part of its digitalisation efforts. We have begun to get eBDN market adoption with Golden Island Diesel Oil Trading becoming the first marine fuel supplier to transition to 100% eBDN operations (read more). We plan to continue driving digitalisation across the entire bunker value chain in 2024.

Inline with this commitment, ZeroNorth Bunker’s Managing Director Kenneth Juhls is chairing the IBIA Digitalisation of Bunkering working group, with a mission to provide actionable recommendations as to where and how digital solutions can be deployed along the bunker value chain, in order to streamline day-to-day processes, reduce cost to serve, release incremental value, accelerate the green transition, and align incentives across industry players (read more).

ZeroNorth is committed to continuing to highlight how data-driven decision-making, technological innovation and collaboration can significantly contribute to the industry's sustainability goals. Our goal is to catalyse the adoption of digital solutions across the shipping industry, fostering a collective commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the green transition. Together in the coming months and years, we can shape a sustainable future for global trade and the shipping industry.

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