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Maersk has set itself a more ambitious target for reaching net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, bringing the deadline forward by a decade to 2040.

As previously reported, in December 2018 the company had set a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

The global shipping giant says the new targets go beyond previous efforts to reduce emissions related to the ocean fleet as they cover all direct and indirect emissions across the entire Maersk business.

‘As a global provider of end-to-end logistics services across all transport modes, it is a strategic imperative for Maersk to extend our net zero ambition to the total footprint of the business,’ said A.P. Moller – Maersk CEO, Soren Skou. ‘The science is clear, we must act now to deliver significant progress in this decade. These very ambitious targets mark our commitment to society and to the many customers who call for net zero supply chains.’

Additionally, Maersk has established ‘tangible’ near-term 2030 targets. These include a 50% reduction in emissions per transported container in the Maersk Ocean fleet and a 70% reduction in absolute emissions from fully controlled terminals. According to the company, depending on growth in the ocean business, this will lead to absolute emissions reductions between 35% and 50% from a 2020 baseline.

‘Our updated targets and accelerated timelines reflect a very challenging, yet viable pathway to net zero which is driven by advances in technology and solutions,’ said Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands, A.P. Moller – Maersk. ‘What is needed is a rapid scale-up which we will strive to achieve in close collaboration with customers and suppliers across the entire supply chain.’

As recommended by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), over the decade Maersk says it will go ‘above and beyond’ the 1.5°C-aligned targets and invest in building a portfolio of natural climate solutions that will result in ‘around five million tonnes’ of CO2 savings per year by 2030.

While some shipping firms, such as MSC and CMA CGM have opted for a carbon-reducing strategy which includes so-called ‘transition’ fuels such as LNG, Maersk has been one of the more high-profile companies to rule out such an approach, instead focusing its attention on future fuels with a potential to be net zero. As previously reported, earlier this week, the company exercised an option for an additional four methanol-fuelled, 16,000 TEU containerships.

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