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Container Carriers Environmental Impact: A Detailed Review

Container Carriers Environmental Impact: A Detailed Review

Gliese Foundation has published twelve independent reviews of the largest container carriers. The table presents the ranking, name, score, number of pages of the Sustainability Report (still called CSR Report by some companies), the month of release of the report, number of years producing sustainability reports (the number available on the website, including 2019), and country in which each company is headquartered. Next, we present some of the highlights of each of the reviews.


Maersk’s report tops the list; one can practically say that it belongs to a different dimension than all the others because it not only reports on its actions during 2019, but it also presents a vision for 2030 and 2050.

Maersk is the only liner that has gone to the level of detail of identifying twenty-five targets from twelve SDGs that the company is impacting.

The company states the two strategic targets on CO2 emissions: net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 and 60% relative reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 compared to 2008 levels.

On GHG emissions, Maersk overpasses the IMO, leaving the London headquartered institution quite behind, as if the IMO’s strategy were nothing else than a bureaucratic, outdated, and non-visionary document.

Maersk’s technological sequence from 2020 to 2030 is particularly illustrative: During 2020-23, to explore the three working hypotheses for future fuels; 2023-27, to design vessel and supply chain pilots; and 2027-30, to produce the first ZEVs.

Regarding IMO 2020, Maersk has changed its environmental position on scrubbers due to profitability reasons. The expression “level of cleanliness of emissions” disappeared from the 2018 and 2019 reports.