Aspen Shipping Decarbonization Initiative Applauds Maersk Announcement on New 2040 Climate Target

January 13, 2022

In October of last year, nine climate-leading multinational companies through coZEV declared an ambition to only use zero-carbon vessels in their maritime operations by 2040.

January 13, 2022, Washington, DC– Yesterday, Maersk, one of the largest container shipping line and vessel operators in the world, announced new plans to accelerate their net zero greenhouse gas emission milestones and targets by 10 years. Their new 2040 target ensures that Maersk is aligned with Paris Agreement 1.5 degree Celsius goals.

Even though the new target is described as “net zero,” Maersk clarified that any nature-based offsetting would only be used as a last resort to address minor residual emissions, go above and beyond their stated obligations to reduce and eventually eliminate actual greenhouse gas emissions, and would not be used to meet IMO and EU climate goals for shipping. This means that their target aligns well with the 2040 Ambition Statement issued in October 2021 by Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV).

Maersk’s new 2040 goal also includes a number of targets to be met by 2030, giving the maritime shipping industry a potential roadmap for a successful transition to zero emission technologies and a plan to get aligned with the Paris Agreement. In their official announcement, Maersk outlined the following targets:


  • Net zero emissions across entire business and all scopes
  • Will be aligned with the SBTi net zero criteria


  • Commitments to customers and society to act now and have impact in this decade
  • Emissions reduction aligned with SBTi 1.5°C pathway (Scope 1 and 2, baseline 2020)
  • Ocean: ~50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions intensity
  • Terminals: ~70% absolute reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Natural Climate Solutions used above and beyond 1.5°C target to build a portfolio that generates around five million tons of CO2 savings per year by 2030
  • Industry leading green customer offerings across the supply chain
  • Ocean: 25% of all cargo transported using green* fuels
  • Air: Minimum 30% of cargo transported using Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF)
  • Contract Logistics (warehouses and depots) and Cold Chain: Minimum 90% green* operations (Scope 1 and 2)
  • Inland transportation: Industry leading green offering – targets will be set during 2022

*Green means fuels or energy that have low or very low greenhouse gas emissions on a life cycle basis

“Maersk’s announcement to raise its climate ambition is an exciting and necessary step forward for the maritime shipping industry,” said Ingrid Irigoyen, Director of the Aspen Institute Shipping Decarbonization Initiative which facilitates coZEV. “In October of last year, a dedicated group of climate-leading multinational customers of the shipping industry came together through the coZEV 2040 Ambition Statement to signal to carriers, policymakers, and other cargo owners that they are prepared to collaborate, embrace fuel and technology innovation, and call for policy change at domestic and IMO levels to eliminate greenhouse gases from maritime shipping. We applaud Maersk for responding to their climate-conscious customers and bolstering the industry’s collective confidence in a fully decarbonized future with this new commitment to eliminate their climate impact by 2040, and for creating measurable 2030 targets that will help ensure the success of this transition.”


The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program’s Shipping Decarbonization Initiative (SDI) is partnering with leading organizations and companies from around the world, tapping into a vast network to drive the transition to zero emission maritime shipping and decarbonize one of the most important sectors of the global economy. Aspen SDI is convening multinational cargo owners to accelerate shipping decarbonization, elevating the need for shipping decarbonization within the U.S. policy context, and advancing the establishment of zero-carbon transoceanic maritime transport corridors.

Cargo Owner for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) is a platform for climate-leading, multinational companies to come together for high impact initiatives that accelerate the transition to zero-carbon maritime shipping. It is facilitated by the Aspen Institute. For more information, visit

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