With the ocean covering over 70% of our planet, it is clear to see how big a part it plays in our everyday lives. The ocean serves as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 3 billion people depending on it for their primary source of protein. It is also essential to our economy, with 40 million people expected to be employed by ocean-based industries by 2030 and 3 billion people specifically depending on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. And, our reliance on the ocean has only been exacerbated by the events of 2020.
Throughout the pandemic, global maritime supply chains became ever more critical to ensuring the continual running of essential services. From enabling the global movement of vital supplies to supporting the delivery of food, medical supplies, and healthcare equipment, maritime-based transportation was recognised as a key component of the global infrastructure.
However, it’s not just our daily activities that rely on our oceans; these bodies of water are the lungs of our planet, providing at least 50% of the oxygen we breathe, and absorbing 30% of the carbon dioxide we produce.. But, with pollution and global warming on the rise, all of this is at risk. 90% of big fish populations have now been depleted and 50% of coral reefs are destroyed, threatening the stability of our climate and our ocean resources.
As a result, the movement towards the sustainable management of the world’s oceans is no longer a choice, but a critical need. And, as the challenges facing the ocean grow, so does the need for new solutions, and ideas that address them. World Oceans Day 2021 will explore worldwide innovations and shed light on how the ocean is our planet’s lifesource.
What role does maritime trade play in this?
With 90% of world trade travelling by sea, shipping is the backbone of our fossil-fuelled global trade mechanism. In addition, the global commodities sector contributes 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with 70% of a commodity traders’ carbon emissions relating to shipping, highlighting the unparalleled impact that a single industry can have on the ocean.
With the overexploitation of our planet comes the need for governmental action, which the UK has recently set in motion. The latest carbon budget is now set to incorporate shipping emissions for the first time, in an ambitious effort to reduce overall emissions by 78% by 2035, compared to 1990 levels.
In conjunction with this, the European Commission has initiated a move towards low-carbon shipping by calling for the shipping industry to contribute to reaching carbon neutrality by cutting emissions by 40% by 2030. Other demands included establishing a sulphur emissions control area (SECA) for the Mediterranean and encouraging EU Member States to adopt similar controls for nitrogen oxides. And, there is also push for a revision to the Port State Control Directive to allow for more effective control of ships, including incentives for compliance with environmental, social, public health, and labour law standards. It seems that the process has now been set in motion for every sector to be held accountable for its emissions contributions.
When tackling urgent global issues such as climate change, cross-industry collaboration is essential. At Pole Star, we’ve partnered with CarbonChain to provide companies with exposure to maritime trade with an award-winning vessel screening and monitoring solution for sanctions compliance and emissions reporting.
The collaboration aims to tackle rising greenhouse gas emissions in shipping by combining Pole Star’s sanctions screening and regulatory compliance solution with CarbonChain’s best-in-class GHG emissions calculation tool. Companies can now easily measure their GHG emissions in PurpleTRAC and incorporate this data into their financial reporting and sustainable trade finance programs.