More companies pledge not to ship through Arctic

A growing number of companies concerned about the impact of climate change on the Arctic marine environment have signed a pledge to not ship goods via the Arctic Ocean, Ocean Conservancy said Jan. 7.

New signatories to the Arctic Corporate Shipping Pledge launched by Ocean Conservancy and Nike include Ralph Lauren Corp., Kuehne + Nagel, PUMA, International Direct Packaging, Allbirds, Aritzia, Hudson Shipping Lines and Bureo.

Other signers of the pledge include Asos, Bestseller, Columbia, Gap Inc., H&M Group, Kering, Li & Fung, PVH Corp., and ocean carriers CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd and Mediterranean Shipping Co.

The nonprofit environmental entity is committed to science-based solutions for healthy oceans amidst changing environmental conditions.

Arctic sea ice declined to its second lowest summer extent on record in 2019, covering just 4.15 million square kilometers. In its annual Arctic report card (arctic.noaa.gov/Report-Card) issued in December, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also found that remaining sea ice is, on average, less than half the thickness of sea ice 40 years ago. Thinner, younger sea ice is even more susceptible to melting in the future.

The Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge invites companies to not intentionally route ships or send goods through that region as part of a potential new global trans-shipment route.

Ocean Conservancy is also working to improve rules and practices for the Arctic, including a ban on use and carriage of heavy fuel oil in the region, and addressing impacts such as underwater noise or gray water pollution.

Shipping alone accounts for 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and curbing the sector’s carbon footprint is essential, Ocean Conservancy said.