Sara Sköld är director för Clean Shipping Index, ett index som rankar fartyg och rederier efter deras miljöpåverkan. Sjöfarten är en stor miljöbov men det finns det en stor förändrings- och förbättringspotential. Sannolikheten är stor att många av årets julklappar har fraktats hem till Sverige med sjöfart så ägna det en tanke. Clean Shipping Index underlättar för företag som vill frakta sina varor på ett miljömässigt hållbart sätt, hur kom din julklapp hit?

On a grey and rainy morning in the town I live, my daughter and I are travelling by car. We pass by the small port of RoPax vessels in the city centre. The image of a monkey is painted on a large part of the side of the vessel and in my morning-stressed brain full of to-do-lists both from home and work, I fail to notice. My daughter calls out “Look mum, there’s Curious George!”. Curious George is a kind and friendly little monkey who has come to live with the man in the yellow hat. The well-known characters, books and films were created by H.A and Margaret Rey. George often finds himself in mischief – even though he didn’t intend to – and is often saved by his friend the man in the yellow hat. My daughter says “If curious George is on the boat, it must be a good boat, right mum?” My daughter knows that I work with ships and that I try to get them to be “less messy”. We have not gone into more detail than that.Sara

Shipping is energy efficient but is also connected to many harmful emissions and substances. From the funnel of the vessel emissions such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and particles are emitted. Besides global warming and acidification these emissions contribute to ground level ozone and together with the emitted particles this leads to negative health effects. On board the ship there needs to be technical solutions installed in order to deal with different types of emissions. Ballast water, for instance, is water that the vessel intentionally takes in to make sure the vessel has an optimal trim. When the ballast water is released in a coastal area, small animals living in the waters in the port of loading area comes with it. When these invasive species are released into their new environment they often do not have any natural enemies, which can cause large negative effects in the marine habitat. The leakage of lubricants from ships has shown to be significant and also adds to the stress of the marine environment. Lubricants are used to make sure that machinery run smoothly on board the ships and switching to biodegradable lubricants or using water to lubricate stern tubes and other equipment has proven very effective.

I am the director of the Clean Shipping Index which is an environmental rating scheme which ranks both ships and carriers according to their environmental performance. It was developed in 2006 to assist large cargo owners such as H&M, Tetra Laval and Volkswagen to be able to pick a shipping company based on their rating in the system, or their performance when it comes to a specific issue of choice, like CO2 for example. We currently have about 50 carriers from all over the world who have reported detailed environmental data about the different ships in their fleet, until today we have 2000 vessels in the database. The idea is quite simple – organising the consumers into one common voice and push for a more environmentally adapted shipping industry.

So what did I answer my daughter when she asked if the ship with Curious George was a good ship? I said that we can’t know for sure, but we can ask them. We can, as consumers, ask how the goods we buy have been transported. We can ask of the producing companies that they should care about how the goods have been produced and how it has been transported. This – I believe – is a good message now that we stand before the shopping season of the year. Make sure that the Christmas gifts you buy this year are produced in a fair and environmentally responsible way and ask a couple of questions about where it has been produced and how it was transported.
If you go on a trip with a vessel, ask what fuel they run on, if they have any special methods and techniques on board that go beyond the environmental regulations of today. Then they will now that we care. And that they should also care. Some companies in the shipping industry have not been paying attention – they also need to adapt, to invest in environmentally adapted technology. They can’t wait for the man in the yellow hat to save them. They have to save themselves.

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