Vincent Clerc is CEO of A.P. Møller–Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies and a leader in sustainable shipping. It has invested in 25 container ships that run on lower-emission bio-methanol instead of fuel oil, the first of which set sail in 2023, with 19 more expected to launch by 2025.
What is the single most important action you think the public, or a specific company or government, needs to take in the next year to advance the climate agenda?
Investments and financial incentives shape decision making and actions. For actual change to happen, a carrot and/or stick approach has historically proven to be helpful. That’s why I see the expected introduction of a global pricing mechanism—a carbon tax if you will—to be one of the most influential actions in the years to come for the logistics industry to succeed with the push toward a green future.
What sustainability effort do you hope will gain popularity with the general public this year, and why?
Each government, company, and individual needs to feel responsible and act accordingly to ensure that our planet will prevail. Citizens protesting and changing consumer behavior have been among the key change-makers in the past. Hopefully, this will materialize even further in the choices we make in the supermarket, department store, or when spending money online. With a strong and growing demand for low-emission products, decarbonization simply is a business opportunity too good to miss out on, and I’m quite encouraged by this trend when looking at the adoption rates for low-emissions products we currently see.
What is a climate technology that isn’t getting the attention or funding it deserves?
To succeed with the green transition in shipping and logistics, we’ll need green fuel. While several technologies are in play long-term, for ocean shipping the only viable solution for this decade is green methanol, making it absolutely key for shipping and other hard-to-abate industries to stay aligned with the Paris Climate Accord. There is sizable demand buildup: Shipowners have more than 100 methanol-enabled vessels on order for the next couple years, with the first vessel already delivered. Yet, investments in large-scale green methanol production are lacking significantly.
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