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United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP28): Challenges and Opportunities in Supply Chains



During COP28, held in Dubai, UAE, from November 30 to December 12, 2023, leaders from governments, businesses, NGOs, and civil society gathered to find concrete solutions and accelerate action to address the global climate crisis. The leaders agreed to promptly reduce the production of coal, oil, and gas, tripling the capacity of renewable energy by 2030.


Maritime transport, responsible for around 80% of global goods trade, was a focal point of COP28, placing it under pressure to decarbonize as soon as possible. In this context, the conference emphasized the need to implement even more efficient strategies to decarbonize supply chains, leading to a series of agreements.


Decarbonizing the global shipping fleet by 2050

Maritime transport is under pressure to decarbonize, and in this regard, the CEOs of major shipping lines (Maersk, MSC, Hapag-Lloyd, and CMA CGM) issued a joint statement at COP28, calling for a completion date for new constructions powered exclusively by fossil fuels. They urged the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to create regulatory conditions to accelerate the transition to green fuels.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) highlighted that regulatory uncertainty and alternatives to fossil fuels are delaying necessary investments. Estimates show that decarbonizing the global fleet by 2050 could cost between $8,000 and $28,000 million annually, with an additional $28,000 to $90,000 million needed each year for carbon-neutral fuel infrastructure.


EU to enhance cooperation with partner countries in deforestation-free supply chains and new support measures.

On December 9, within the COP28 framework, the European Commission, along with the governments of Germany, the Netherlands, and France, launched the global initiative "Team Europe on Deforestation-Free Value Chains." The initiative aims to support partner countries in transitioning to sustainable, deforestation-free, and legal agricultural value chains. The EU and its member states announced an initial package of €70 million in new funding for implementing this initiative.


Billion-dollar aids to agriculture in the face of climate challenges.

There is an agreed-upon need to transform food production, distribution, and consumption methods to conserve, protect, and restore at least 30% of land and oceans by 2030. In this regard, a $200 billion annual investment is intended to finance biodiversity goals.


Ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Singapore announce the creation of an ecological and digital maritime corridor. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Port of Long Beach, and the Port of Los Angeles presented a strategic partnership to create an ecological and digital maritime corridor across the Pacific Ocean. This transpacific corridor aims to provide replicable strategies for ports and supply chain businesses to decarbonize international trade, establish best practices, promote technology adoption, and leverage existing networks.


APM Terminals and DP World launch Zero Emission Port Alliance (ZEPA).

APM Terminals and DP World announced the formation of the Zero Emission Port Alliance (ZEPA), a strategic coalition aiming to accelerate the path to zero carbon emissions for container handling equipment (CHE) in ports. The alliance will commence its activities in early 2024, and membership is open to all industry participants. APM Terminals and DP World explained during the COP28 session that ZEPA will work to increase the adoption of electric battery-powered CHE across the industry and catalyze further emission reductions in ports.


Pacific International Lines and DP World will develop ecological solutions for the supply chain.

Pacific International Lines (PIL) and DP World signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly develop ecological solutions for decarbonizing global supply chains. In the short term, both parties will collaborate on trial shipments between the Port of Jebel Ali in Dubai and destinations within PIL's network, with initiatives to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from shipments. They will use PIL's ships powered by a blend of biofuels, supply them, and deploy container handling equipment at terminals running on renewable energy. In the long term, the companies will explore the possibility of expanding this partnership to include other ports within DP World's global network and using alternative fuels such as e-LNG, methanol, or green ammonia in ship operations and PIL's fuel supply.


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In conclusion, the strategic partnerships, economic packages, and all agreements reached at COP28 to decarbonize supply chains represent a significant step in the fight against climate change. However, much work remains, and it is crucial for governments, businesses, and civil society to collaborate in developing and implementing innovative solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from this vital part of the global economy. A just transition of supply chains towards a more sustainable model is highly necessary.


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