Ship It Zero Campaign to Walmart: Protecting Oceans Requires Zero Emissions Shipping
Walmart Senior Vice President for Sustainability Jane Ewing will be a keynote speaker at the 9th annual World Ocean Summit Virtual Week taking place from March 1–4, 2022. Climate advocates with the Ship It Zero campaign are calling on Walmart to stop ignoring its massive ocean and climate pollution problem, as the company touts its narrow focus on overfishing. Walmart is America’s largest retail importer and its maritime shipping for U.S. markets was responsible for an estimated 11.5 million tonnes of CO2e emissions between 2018-2020. The corporation has remained silent on tackling its international shipping emissions, even while competitors and shipping providers such as Maersk, IKEA, and Amazon are making strong commitments to decarbonize maritime shipping in their supply chains.
“As America’s largest retailer and biggest ocean shipping polluter, we call on Walmart to take a stand for the health of its customers, our oceans, our port neighbors, and our nation’s future. Walmart must step up as a leader in zero-emissions ocean shipping and adopt groundbreaking technology of the 21st century, or otherwise, be left behind,” said Dawny’all Heydari, Ship It Zero Campaign Lead, Pacific Environment. “Americans want clean and healthy port neighborhoods and oceans. With at least 14% of the world’s iconic coral reefs having vanished since 2009 according to the United Nations, the time to abandon the dirtiest fuels on the planet and adopt a 100% zero-emissions supply chain has arrived.”
The campaign is calling on Walmart to end its reliance on fossil-fueled ocean shipping, which is contributing to the warming of our oceans and to the death of coral reefs globally. Walmart’s shipping pollution not only puts the health of the oceans and climate at risk, but also the health of port and coastal communities. In Houston, where Walmart ships the plurality of its imports to the U.S., port neighborhoods are struggling with high rates of childhood leukemia.
While the Ship It Zero campaign appreciates Walmart’s initial commitment to targeting zero emissions across global operations by 2040, the company must act much faster in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. As an emitter of over 3 million metric tons of pollution per year for U.S. ocean imports alone, Walmart has a responsibility to its customers, our port neighbors, and our shared future on Earth to make a commitment to Ship It Zero this decade.
“Walmart cannot be a leader on ocean protection while ignoring its massive shipping pollution problem. Importing goods on cargo ships fueled with some of the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth harms our oceans, climate, and communities, and Walmart must take action now to eliminate the pollution its shipping emits every year,” said Kendra Ulrich, Shipping Campaigns Director at Stand.earth. “Walmart has not only remained silent on its shipping pollution problem, it has also increased its reliance on cargo carrier CMA-CGM, whose ships are increasingly fueled by the climate super pollutant LNG. Its competitors Amazon and IKEA have committed to tackle their international shipping pollution and publicly rejected LNG as a false climate solution. It’s past time for Walmart, as America’s largest shipping polluter, to reduce emissions now and get to zero emissions shipping this decade.”
CMA-CGM, Walmart’s main shipping partner and the biggest cargo carrier polluter, accounted for nearly 70% of Walmart’s 2020 ocean shipping emissions. IKEA and Amazon have signaled initial commitments to reduce their shipping emissions significantly by 2030. IKEA has committed to become “climate positive” by 2030, reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the value chain emits, including in ocean shipping. As part of the First Movers Coalition, Amazon has committed to 10% zero-emissions ships by 2030.
In addition, cargo carrier Maersk is emerging as a global industry leader. The Danish international shipping company has accelerated its initial climate ambitions by a decade, with current commitments of 25-50% decarbonization by 2030 and a reduction of portside emissions by 5 million tons per year at up to 100 ports globally starting in 2028 through electrification projects.
Ship It Zero is asking big retailers Walmart, Target, IKEA and Amazon to make a commitment to decarbonizing their ocean shipping by 2030. This earlier goal will ensure the shipping industry does its fair share to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, the target scientists say is needed to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis.
Polling finds that 74% of U.S. consumers are more likely to shop at retailers that ship their goods on clean fuel ships. Following through on your commitments and investing in zero-emission shipping fleets won’t just be good for the environment — it will be good for business. Walmart is America’s largest retailer and has an opportunity to put your stake in the ground as the first corporation to Ship it Zero.
The science also shows that the solution is within grasp. According to a 2020 International Council on Clean Transportation study, virtually all voyages made between China’s Pearl River Delta ports and America’s San Pedro Bay ports could be powered by green hydrogen instead of fossil fuels, with only minor changes to ships’ fuel capacity or operations. Specifically, 57% of journeys could be made by replacing just 5% of ships’ cargo space with more hydrogen fuel or by adding one additional stop to refuel hydrogen en route, while 43% of all voyages could be made without additional fuel capacity or stops.
Source: Ship It Zero