Wärtsilä, the marine industry's leading solutions provider, has joined the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), a programme initiated by Forum for the Future. The initiative brings together the industry's leading organizations to show what can - and must - be done for shipping to contribute to, and benefit from, a sustainable future.
 
This global taskforce gives leading industry players, and their supply chain stakeholders, a framework for assessing the extent of their sustainability challenges. By understanding their role in a sustainable future, companies can gain a competitive advantage and support the development of good policy in the process. SSI was founded earlier this year by Forum for the Future in collaboration with WWF, Maersk Line, BP Shipping, Lloyd's Register, Gearbulk, and ABN Amro. 
 
The shipping industry will be profoundly affected by strategic megatrends, notably climate change and new weather patterns, oil shortages and carbon taxes, changing markets and cargoes - particularly in Asia, piracy and marine governance, new ship designs, as well as other technological developments. The SSI will help participants to prepare for, influence, and take advantage of these trends, and play a leading role in shaping the future of the industry.
 
Members, drawn from throughout the industry, will explore how best to react to these megatrends, and prepare a case for action as a resource for the entire industry. This will set the agenda for creating a vision of a sustainable shipping industry and a plan to create a step change in the social, environmental and economic sustainability of the shipping industry.
 
Today, Wärtsilä joins the initiative along with other new members: Cargill, a charter fleet operator with more than 300 vessels; South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, one of the world's biggest shipbuilders; Rio Tinto Marine, the shipping arm of the mining giant; RSA, one of the world's top four marine insurers; and the high-profile Greek tanker operator Tsakos Energy Navigation.
 
"The Sustainable Shipping Initiative has set out to transform an industry which plays an essential role in global trade and affects the lives of billions of people," said Jonathon Porritt, founder director of Forum for the Future. "The growing number of elite international companies coming on board shows that industry leaders understand sustainability is crucial to their future success."
 
"The quality of these new members is a testimonial to the growing importance of promoting sustainable shipping, both to the industry and to society at large," said Tom Boardley, Marine Director, Lloyd's Register. "Their addition will deepen the expertise of the group as we look for solutions that will help the industry to improve its business performance, while at the same time lessening our collective carbon footprint."
 
CEOs and board-level representatives will launch the case for action at a members' summit in 2011. The ultimate goal is to mobilise support across the industry for an action plan, which may include technical and engineering initiatives, policy proposals, development programmes for industry leaders, and marketing and communications plans.
 
"Wärtsilä powers every third ship, and services every second ship sailing the world's seas. Providing sustainable solutions is the cornerstone of Wärtsilä's commitment to the shipping industry," said Jaakko Eskola, Group Vice President, Wärtsilä Ship Power. "This initiative is an excellent opportunity for Wärtsilä to contribute towards ensuring that shipping remains in the future as the most sustainable way of transporting goods over long distances."