Survey results show opportunities and challenges

February 9th, 2024

Photo: Denis Elterman, Silversea

A positive attitude towards working to mitigate the impacts of climate change, but a need for a joined industry effort. These are the key takeaways from the Climate Change survey that AECO’s members have responded to.

Last year, AECO received 600 000 NOK from the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund for the Climate Change project. As a key player in promoting responsible travel in the Arctic, AECO’s role is crucial in guiding members toward sustainable practices that align with the global goals to mitigate environmental impact of shipping.

The received funds will be used to support efforts to reduce emissions from the industry and the survey was a first step, mapping out current greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and sustainability work to understand the status among AECO’s members.

53% of AECO’s operating members responded, giving insight into what challenges and opportunities lie ahead. Here are some of the key findings related to both emissions and environmental footprint:

84% of the respondents declared having GHG emission reduction targets and nearly 80% of respondents have sustainability policies in place.  Nearly all respondents (95%) would participate or consider participating in an AECO pledge aimed at reducing emissions if one were created.

For most, tangible net-zero actions are still in the planning stages, and 67% of operators currently plan to achieve net-zero by 2050 and reduce emissions by 2030, in line with the IMO GHG Strategy. Respondents express the need for guidance and assistance in finding methods to measure emissions, such as renewable energy options, offset programs, as well as creating an industry-wide support platform for sharing routines and experiences.

About 75% of the respondents would like to receive guidance from AECO on how to measure GHG emissions.

Nearly 65% of the respondents have at least one vessel fitted with shore-power connectivity, but the usage depends on port capability, supplied power voltage, or is only used during periods of maintenance.

To improve the fuel efficiency, 87% of the respondents optimize their sailing schedules, while 80% use most efficient speed, and commit to hull and propellor cleaning routines. Other options that are used by members are partial wind propulsions, hybrid-electric engines, and waste heat recovery systems.

The survey results show that AECO’s members have a strong commitment toward GHG emission reduction, a collective acknowledgment of the issue and a willingness to act in favor of environmentally responsible practices.

However, the respondents see challenges connected to insufficient access to alternative fuels, lacking ship-to-shore energy infrastructure, and high costs associated with the conversion of vessels.

Through the survey, AECO’s members express a need for a joined industry effort, advocacy, and building of sectorial understanding to support the transition to net-zero emissions.

The way forward?

Going forward, AECO will present a proposal for a climate strategy at AECO’s next AGM, conduct annual progress assessments, and provide targeted guidance to operators, emphasizing collaboration, and knowledge-sharing within the industry. AECO is also looking into gathering emission data for the AECO fleet through an external consultant to help inform the climate strategy and AECO’s work in this area.