Moving the needle on environmental action

Fewer than eight months since its inception, the ambitious IMPA SAVE initiative is enjoying greater awareness and salience than many other industry counterparts. With more than 5,000 vessels being so far committed to the first milestone of the programme and many other companies considering jumping onboard, the strong group of global shipowners and suppliers at the helm of the initiative have big plans and goals in store for 2021. Let’s explore!

The short read:

  • In less than a year since inception, the notorious IMPA SAVE amassed 21 shipowners representing almost 10% of the global fleet who committed to reduce the use of plastic drinking water bottles onboard vessels.
  • We are looking at 20% during 2021, but 100% in two or three years; the potential for change is huge, with one billion plastic bottles potentially being kicked from use before 2025!
  • Take action! Join the conversation, use our technical assistance line, consult our directory of solutions, simply get involved. We need all hands on deck.
  • Research and development will be the name of the game this year, and a new programme could be developed in the second part of the year.

With a sole mission of bringing knowledge of sustainable solutions to the shipping industry, the IMPA SAVE initiative was launched on 25th June 2020 with a simple first goal: reducing the amount of plastic drinking water bottles onboard the world’s fleet. Countless conversations, introductions to alternative solutions to provide water onboard, and two webinars later (together attended by more than 1,000 supply chain professionals!), the IMPA SAVE initiative has so far pushed almost 10% of the global fleet to pledge for reduction before 2025, including companies like Stena Bulk, Lauritzen Kosan, Stolt Tankers and Roll Group. And the SAVE Council is only getting started!

With representatives from Maersk Procurement, Teekay Shipping, Wilhelmsen Ship Management, Francois Marine, Oceanic Catering, Scorpio Group and Weco Shipping, the IMPA SAVE Council is keen to progress the initiative further and begin to slowly expand its remit. While the fight against plastic bottles will remain at the centre of activity, the 2021 agenda may explore more research and development around the “green” agenda in maritime, waste disposal and the implication for procurement and supply chain, and a new “green” benchmark in the industry. Here are two of the main things we are aiming to achieve and explore throughout 2021 under the IMPA SAVE banner.

Getting to 20%

It is true that 2020 was riddled with difficulties and that everyone was navigating completely unchartered territories, but keeping our heads down and not taking our eyes off the other challenges that are ever so present in our industry, such as the need to decarbonise and minimise waste, has paid off in spades. Here we are, less than a year later, having 21 shipowners committed to reduce plastic on more than 5,000 vessels with IMPA SAVE by replacing them with water filtration systems. And if you would like to find a lot more on progress, make sure to tune in and listen to our latest IMPA CAST episode; Mikael Karlsson, IMPA Special Ambassador for Sustainability and Chair of SAVE, was our guest and gave listeners a lot more information on how far we have got with the initiative. The episode is available to listen on all major podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts; just search for the IMPA CAST.

Looking forward to 2021, it would be fantastic to see at least 20% of the global fleet committed to reduce and make a positive impact through their purchasing practices. Make that 100% in two or three years, and we are looking at ridding the ocean of one billion plastic bottles per year – now that is what we call driving positive change. Also on the cards for 2021 will be potentially exploring the inclusion of other items onboard vessels that may have a damaging impact on the environment and that could be replaced by planet-friendly alternatives or simply removed. More on that soon!

Research, research, research; what constitutes the green procurement agenda in shipping?

The team will soon be exploring the viability and benefits of undertaking primary research in the area of green procurement. The aim? Understanding the activities and endeavours being undertaken at this time in shipping procurement departments, so we can gauge how a new programme and benchmark could facilitate, add and improve on what is already out there. Looking at things like waste management, packaging, logistics, hazardous materials and more, a new programme will potentially shape up to address growing concerns from shipowners around suppliers’ environmental practices, as well as help develop the culture within the industry’s ambitious supplier base. These and many new things are in store for the year with the IMPA SAVE initiative, and we will be talking about everything in the upcoming issues of the MT and here on the IMPA BLOG, as well as on the IMPA CAST and of course, the IMPA SAVE website.

Important to remember is that our aim with SAVE will always remain to move the needle on environmental action and, as a result, on social transformation, as we believe that environmental, social, and corporate governance are tightly interlinked, and tackling one will, in most cases, impact the others. Forming a large community of supply chain professionals who share knowledge, partner, collaborate and push themselves and other industry leaders to become stewards of our ocean, will help us achieve this mission, and in 2021, we are aiming very high! With only nine years left until the SDGs needing to be achieved, you cannot fail to jump onboard!