90% less plastic in oceans can become reality: Maersk renews and expands partnership with NAMEPA Awardee, The Ocean Cleanup

In January, A.P. Moller-Maersk announced its extension and expansion of its partnership with The Ocean Cleanup, a foundation dedicated to ridding the oceans of plastics. Maersk will provide end-to-end supply chain services to The Ocean Cleanup, in addition to offshore marine support.

The initiative, which began in 2018, was a way for Maersk to expand its environmental protection policy and the prevention of pollution from ships. The three-year extension of the partnership will allow for the deployment of new ocean cleanup systems and technology created by The Ocean Clean Up to help capture plastics before entering the oceans.

Maersk will also aid the foundation in deploying sensor technology onboard Maersk’s fleet to map plastic floating in the oceans. This technology will help the organization better understand the severity of the plastic pollution problem and find more efficient ways of taking action against it.

Founded in 2013, The Ocean Cleanup aims to rid 90 percent of the floating ocean plastic by 2040 by intercepting plastics in rivers and cleaning up what has already accumulated in the ocean. In 2019, The Ocean Cleanup was the recipient of NAMEPA’s Environmental Initiative Award at its annual Environmental Awards Dinner.

Maersk has been and will continue to be invaluable in providing the logistic support needed to continue to rid the ocean of plastic. Besides support with vessel operations and offshore project management, Maersk will now support The Ocean Cleanup with logistics and end-to-end handling services. The increased logistics support will range from worldwide shipment from different locations to airfreight, container and special transport, customs clearance, and warehouse and storage management. The partnership’s expansion will also enable the foundation to place more river cleaning systems called Interceptors and develop its next products made of certified plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Maersk plans to embed a transport and supply chain manager in The Ocean Cleanup’s office in Rotterdam. The program manager will help the foundation engage with the full range of Maersk’s supply chain and transport services and help it develop its supply chain management capacity over time.

This partnership, and its expansion, speaks to an extreme shift in the maritime industry’s priority of tackling the plastic problem. While 80% of plastic in the ocean is from land-based sources, and 10% from fishing activities, commercial industry leaders are not just talking about reducing plastic pollution in oceans from ships, but taking steps to mitigate impacts regardless of the source. Maersk’s bold extension and expansion of their partnership with The Ocean Cleanup is an excellent example for the rest of the industry in its endeavors to collaborate with other sectors as it moves towards decarbonization and reducing pollution globally.

Among other things, NAMEPA’s Corporate Social Responsibility/Environmental, Social & Governance program (CSR/ESG) values environmental stewardship and corporate citizenship. Maersk’s decision to help The Ocean Cleanup is an example of a company taking environmental stewardship into its own hands and using its resources and influence to collaborate on a project that doesn’t help just one company or one organization but the world.

Plastic pollution affects everyone and everything on this planet. It is not a job for environmentalist groups alone. Corporations need to take action to help foundations and organizations like The Ocean Cleanup so that the world––and the industry with it––can move towards a more ecological and economically viable future.

Collaboration is the key to that future.

More and more companies, organizations, governments and individuals are willing to work together. Across sectors and industries to attain a future where everyone can benefit.

Hopefully, Maersk’s partnership with The Ocean Cleanup will be a precursor of even more partnerships like it to come.

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