Opening a horizon of hope: Ship It Zero turns one!

July 18, 2022 Today, we mark Ship It Zero’s one-year anniversary. It’s a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and where we’re going — because there’s still more work to do.

One year ago, Pacific Environment, Stand.Earth, frontline port communities, climate activists, and many others advanced the decarbonization of the global ocean shipping industry. Today, we mark Ship It Zero’s one-year anniversary. It’s a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and where we’re going — because there’s still more work to do. It has been a true honor leading the Ship It Zero campaign over the course of the last year. 

The Ship It Zero campaign brought into the spotlight an issue that has for far too long remained out of sight and out of mind for the average person: the health and climate harms caused by ocean shipping. Right away, we succeeded in encouraging retailers to develop new climate commitments, reached major audiences through media coverage, and even bigger — worked with elected officials in some of the most critically-important port cities on climate resolutions.

All of this was achieved while centering the impact of ship pollution on port city public health alongside our frontline partners and allies. Together, our unity and shared vision is our strength, and between our partners, allies, and nearly 50,000 supporters, we are a growing movement that Big Retail can no longer ignore. 

So, what has Ship It Zero really accomplished? We have: 

  • Pushed Amazon and IKEA to make the world’s most ambitious ocean-climate shipping commitments on the planet  — committing to 100% zero carbon ocean shipping by 2040.
  • Compelled Amazon to go even further, to commit to putting 10% of their cargo on zero carbon ocean ships by 2030.
  • Encouraged outdoor gear brand Mammut to up the ante, becoming the first retail brand to commit to zero-emissions ocean shipping by 2030!
  • Encouraged international ocean shipping giant Maersk to accelerate its climate ambitions by a decade, committing to halve its emissions by 2030 (Maersk is the first ocean cargo carrier to announce a greenhouse gas reduction target that is in line with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendations for keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius!).
  • Held events at IKEA’s global headquarters in Delft, Netherlands to call out their pollution problem and staged “die-ins” to highlight IKEA’s role in contributing to the 260,000 premature deaths annually attributed to fossil-fueled shipping. 
  • Collaborated with the Los Angeles and Long Beach City Councils to catalyze the unanimous passage of zero-emissions ocean shipping resolutions in the cities with the largest port complexes in the Western Hemisphere, contributing to the announcement of the world’s first green international shipping corridor between Shanghai, Los Angeles, and Long Beach!
  • Garnered national attention on the harms of ship pollution with more than 100 articles in shipping trades and business outlets as well as national media like the Washington Post, NPR, KTLA, CNN Business, Bloomberg, Fast Company, The Verge, Reuters, among others.
  • Raised awareness of the shipping industry’s use of cheap, polluting heavy fuel oil, whose cancer-causing pollutants contribute to respiratory issues and shorter life expectancies in portside neighborhoods.
  • Delivered petitions to Target — another dirty ocean shipping retailer — at their headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota alongside city council members and faith and community leaders. 
  • Organized a West Coast Target Day of Action in three cities on Earth Day, 4/22/22, with over 150 environmental justice, faith, university, and high school community members, earning coverage in the Long Beach Post and South Seattle Emerald.

All these actions made 2021 a busy and successful start to Ship It Zero! 

Youth Ship It Zero activists holding signs calling for Target to end its fossil-fueled shipping pollution.

But what’s next for Ship It Zero? Looking ahead to our second year, the Ship It Zero campaign looks forward to expanding its horizons. We will be tackling new industries, broadening the call to decarbonize ocean shipping, organizing in new geographies, building solidarity between health-suffering port-adjacent communities around the world, and exploring new tactics to raise awareness of the urgency of the global zero-emissions transition and big corporations’ responsibility. Ultimately, we look forward to continuing to accelerate this global transition in order to promote human longevity and life and save our oceans and planet. 

In the face of corporate greenwashing and hollow promises, the Ship It Zero campaign remains dogged in its advocacy for a 100% zero-emissions global ocean shipping industry this decade, by 2030, on a timeline that aligns with the Paris Agreement to keep anthropogenic global warming well under 2 degrees Celsius above pre-Industrial levels. We are committed to continually transforming the landscape of the possible when it comes to decarbonizing the shipping industry and our global community more broadly. And just as important, Ship it Zero shows that ordinary people from different parts of the planet can come together, take matters into their own hands, and organize to save humankind’s home on Earth and fight for a liveable planet for generations of human flourishing to come. 

To all of our supporters and allies: thank you. We are so deeply appreciative of your passion, energy, and commitment to ensuring a just, livable future for everyone. We are grateful to have you on board, and look forward to the successes we will achieve together in the coming year!