RightShip’s environment and sustainability predictions for 2023

As we begin 2023, there is hope in the air that change is coming to the maritime industry, including outputs from the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27), UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) and IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 79). 

The key updates from COP27 includes greater push for green shipping corridors globally, production and deployment of five million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030 and launching of a new action plan for training seafarers to provides skills to facilitate meet shipping decarbonisation targets.  

In addition, MEPC 79 laid the foundation for revising the ambition of the Initial GHG Reduction Strategy towards shipping’s decarbonisation target. This includes annual reduction in Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) and implementation of “basket of measures” to support the GHG reduction goals, with target for adoption on MEPC 80 (July 2023). This emphasises the importance of implementing emission reduction initiatives, through usage of green corridors and collaborating with national and international organisations to accelerate climate initiatives. Rightship’s products, including GHG Rating and Carbon Accounting, aims to facilitate vessel’s emissions measurement and support various shipping stakeholders in their journey to achieve the GHG Reduction target.  

Furthermore, emissions regulations were made more stringent, such as designating the Mediterranean Sea as an Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides and making cuts to Black Carbon emissions in and near the Artic, encourages the use of alternative/ future fuels to reduce total pollutants and emissions from vessels.  

In addition, key updates from MEPC 79 includes preparation for the reduction of Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) annually, making significant cuts to black carbon emissions around the Artic and encouragement for usage of alternative fuels, emphasising the need for urgent action. MARPOL regulations were made more stringent, such as designating the Mediterranean Sea as an Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides, requiring vessels to use fuel oil of 0.10%m/m sulphur content when operating in the area.  

At RightShip, our team of sustainability and environmental experts give their predictions and ‘ones to watch’ for 2023 – what’s important, what needs to be done and who’s doing it already. They examine where the ESG focus is really going to lie for shipowners and managers, charterers, ports and terminals and others whose lives are touched by seafaring responsibilities, highlighting some of the main challenges ahead.    


Serene Teoh – ESG Analyst  

  1. Actions on crew welfare. ISWAN’s 2020 mental health report was ground breaking when it came out, and we’re expecting to see more action being taken to support crew welfare practises by all in the industry https://www.seafarerswelfare.org/assets/documents/resources/Mentally-Healthy-Ships.pdf  

  1. The Council of the EU gave final green light to more transparency required when companies report on sustainability practises. This will have a huge impact worldwide and should be something every CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer is looking at this year:The Council for the EU and the European Council: Council gives final green light to corporate sustainability reporting directive  

  2. The Ports for People campaign and their Ports Playbook for Zero-Emission Shipping stood out as an important read during this year, we’re excited to see what comes out from this non-profit. You can read more here: Ports Playbook for Zero-Emission Shipping  


Aaron Poon – Senior Sustainability Advisor 

  1. Keep your eye on the links to carbon tax and carbon pricing connected to European Emissions Trading System. This will have a big impact on vessels travelling through European waters EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)  

  1. Scope 3 reporting is becoming more mainstream as more companies are starting to consider the full supply chain as part of their emissions profile. We’ve found a series of useful webinars on Scope 3 emissions here: Reducing Scope 3 Emissions 2022 Series - YouTube 

  1. Companies are asking us more and more for help setting targets to reduce their emissions. We recommend reading the SBTi report launched in November 2022: SBTi launched the Maritime Guidance- Guidance on how to set Science based target related to maritime transportations. SBTi-Maritime-Guidance.pdf (sciencebasedtargets.org) 


Tam Pham – Sustainability Manager  

  1. Green shipping corridors are relatively new topics for maritime sustainability but with far reaching benefits. You can read more about them here: The-Next-Wave-Green-Corridors.pdf (globalmaritimeforum.org). And the 2022 Annual Progress report on Green shipping corridors which identifies more than 20 green corridor initiatives across Transpacific, Asia Pacific and Transatlantic regions, Europe, North and South America. 

  1. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has changed its lifecycle assessment guidelines, looking at calculating well to wake life cycle, and will have a big impact on the future low/zero-carbon fuel choices for ship owners, charterers, and ports. Read more here: IMO Lifecycle GHG - carbon intensity guidelines 

  1. We’ll see an increase in scrutiny on Modern Slavery risks due diligence within maritime shipping supply chain. Read more on Maritime Human Rights Risks and the COVID-19 Crew Change Crisis.  


Jon Lane – Environmental Manager 

  1. Developments in future fuels. With a target of 5% zero carbon future fuels by 2030 to allow decarbonisation by 2050, the race is on. There are lots of exciting partnerships in this space and the development of Green Corridors can help solve the chicken and egg question of infrastructure, supply and demand of alternative fuels. Whilst the safety side is important, the environmental impact of any release of this fuel into the marine environment also needs to be considered. Further thought dedicated to this important topic is required this year and beyond such as this investigation into Ammonia at Sea

  1. Biodiversity and biofouling, including marine growth on the vessel hull, propellers and appendages will gain increased focus. Transferring invasive species outside of their natural habitat can cause serious ecological damage, and at the same time, their attachment makes the vessel less operationally efficient. With the advent of CII, shipowners who plan to avoid biofouling may not only achieve a win for the environment but may improve their operational efficiency and reduce their fuel consumption and emissions, whilst also ensuring they continue to have unrestricted access to ports. “Analysing the Impact of Marine Biofouling on the Energy Efficiency of Ships and the GHG Abatement Potential of Biofouling Management Measures”

  1. MEPC80 will convene at the IMO in London in July 2023. MEPC79 has laid the groundwork for the strengthening of the organisation’s decarbonisation ambitions in line with net zero, and the adoption of a revised IMO GHG Strategy appears to be on the cards. https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/PressBriefings/pages/MEPC-79.aspx  


Milly Chambers – Sustainability Advisor 

  1. Developments in the US Carbon Trading Scheme, who are expecting to expand the sale of carbon credits with the aim to allow for developing countries move towards renewable energy generation: https://www.epa.gov/emissions-trading-resources  

  1. Going beyond emissions, we’re seeing an increased focused on the environmental impact of a vessel, including the disposal of plastic and waste onboard vessels and how ports play a key role in ensuring equitable and efficient disposal programs.  

  1. Ballast water monitoring and effective mitigation techniques discussed at the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) 79 meeting in Dec 2022 will be top of the list for shipowners and ports https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/MeetingSummaries/Pages/MEPC-79th-session.aspx  



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