The shipping industry has been blamed
for blocking international efforts towards curbing pollution and greenhouse gas
levels rising globally.
InfluenceMap, an environmental watchdog,
in a report ‘ Corporate capture of IMO’, has claimed that shipping’s lobby
groups, particularly International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Baltic and
International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and World Shipping Council (WSC), have
influenced IMO’s regulations in such a way that the industry can be free of
environmental regulations agreed at the Paris climate talks..
Last year, the IMO approved a roadmap
that delayed an agreement on reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of
shipping until 2023. This included the adoption of an interim strategy on GHG
emission reductions in 2018.
Earlier this year, after the European
Parliament voted to include shipping in the EU emissions trading system from
2023, unless the IMO adopted adequate climate legislation for global shipping
by 2021, IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim led the industry’s opposition, saying
the EU’s policy “significantly risks undermining efforts on a global level”.
InfluenceMap’s Corporate capture of the
IMO report states: “Corporations have unmatched access and influence at the IMO
compared to other UN bodies, providing the shipping industry with a clear
avenue to shape policymaking.
“An analysis of other UN agencies
indicates that while trade associations are typically granted access to
committee meetings, similar to the IMO, at no other UN agency researched do
corporations attend committee meetings as formal state representatives.”
It found that some 31% of nations at the
UN’s last Marine Environment Protection Council (MEPC) were represented by
business and corporate figures rather than government officials, adding: “The
IMO appears to be the only UN agency to allow such extensive corporate
representation in the policy-making process.
“Progress on regulation has been stalled
by powerful shipping trade associations, with the International Chamber of
Shipping (ICS) leading efforts to oppose action on climate change at the IMO.
It adds that ICS, BIMCO and the World
Shipping Council “have collectively lobbied to delay implementation of any
climate regulations until 2023 – even then refusing to support anything but
voluntary regulations that may not reduce the sector’s overall greenhouse
InfluenceMap said all three groups
opposed GHG emissions and energy efficiency regulations, with the ICS
presenting a “mixed” position on carbon pricing policies – something the WSC
remains opposed to, while BIMCO had no formal position on it whatsoever.
Sifting through submissions to the IMO
between 2015 and 2017, InfluenceMap found that 11.2% of all identified
non-secretariat climate-related submissions at MEPC meetings came from ICS,
BIMCO and WSC – “a figure higher than every state except Japan, Germany and
“Such a high percentage suggests
industry associations are active and influential contributors to IMO
negotiations on climate change,” it says.
Responding to the report, Paul
Dickinson, chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project, said: “This research
highlights how lobbying by the shipping industry has led to the UN’s International
Maritime Organisation failing in its responsibility to act on climate change.
“If more pressure is not placed upon the
industry to act, its increasing emissions will hamper the world’s capacity to
meet the climate ambition agreed under the Paris Accord.”
There was, however, praise for some
shipping entities, with Maersk and Stena Line named as companies with
transparent GHG policies “appearing to support ambitious action on climate