When Eva Tan thinks about World Oceans Day and the ongoing need to protect the world’s oceans, two important words come to her mind: awareness and sustainability. By building awareness of the need for ocean conservation, and by focusing on the sustainability and long-term wellbeing of our seas, we can all have a positive impact on these critical natural resources.
“Sustainability and survival are virtually synonymous when you’re talking about our oceans,” says Tan, Director and Head of FCL (Full Container Load), for DB Schenker’s Asia Pacific Ocean Freight. She sees the logistics industry playing an increasingly important role in this “survival,” and says the direct links between the environment and the world’s supply chain prove that point.
Tan says DB Schenker is taking measures to lessen the impact on the world’s oceans by reducing global CO2 emissions. The same consideration branches out to the carriers themselves, which are beginning to use larger, energy-saving vessels to help improve sustainability. “We’re working with a lot of ocean carriers and companies that are changing the way they transport goods overseas,” says Tan, “to minimize the industry’s carbon footprint.”
Fostering Sustainable Oceans
A holiday recognized by the United Nations, World Oceans Day is a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. The purpose is to provide free resources and ideas for everyone – no matter where they live – to help expand the reach and impact of World Oceans Day on June 8th and year-round. The Ocean Project has promoted and coordinated World Oceans Day globally since 2002, and this year’s theme is “Our Oceans, Our Future.”
Marcus Leaver, DB Schenker’s Head of Global Ocean Freight, says bringing awareness to the need for ocean conservation, safety, and cleanliness should be an everyday mission for the logistics industry. “Recognizing that there is an estimated 140 million tons of rubbish floating around our oceans, the need for companies to own our environmental responsibility becomes even greater,” says Leaver, “not to mention all the parties that are participating in the global supply chain.”
Leaver says DB Schenker takes this responsibility very seriously, and that it is driving initiatives and programs to prioritize cargo movement in the most safe, secure and environmentally-conscious manner possible. “We are committed to continuing and improving our contribution to cleaner oceans.”
The Full Environmental Picture
From her vantage point as DB Schenker’s Senior Manager of Carbon Controlling and Consulting, Andrea Dorothea Schoen sees firsthand just how hard the company is working to reduce its own carbon footprint while also helping customers and business partners do the same. “We consult with all of our customers on issues like carrier climate targets, and provide them very detailed aspects of those carriers’ environmental performance,” says Schoen. Those “details” include everything from carbon footprint to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to pollution (i.e., SOx, NOx, particulate matter, and non-methane hydrocarbons).
“Shippers get a full picture of the environmental impact of shipping on each and every trade lane and port pair,” Schoen says. “That way, they can choose the best-in-class options for their major trade lanes and port pairs.”
As a logistics provider, DB Schenker also handles ISO 14001, an international standard that provides an integrated approach to environmental management. Put simply, the means all carriers must provide full transparency into their own environmental performance and/or corrective-action plan activities. This ensures full visibility not only across the supply chain, but also on specific topics (i.e., vessel lifecycle). A member of the Clean Cargo Working Group, DB Schenker receives data through this channel and also has that data verified by the group.
Schoen says the company is also making moves that help improve the health and lives of individuals who live and work around the world’s ports. Recently, for example, it offered a program to switch to using low-sulfur fuel in non-regulated ports—a move that found DB Schenker to mobilize its customers to “clean” their cargo with a small surcharge per TEU when entering such ports. “This is a very important initiative,” says Schoen, “and one that’s especially vital to the health of the residents who live close to those ports.”
Saving the Whales
Jonas Welsch has been in his current position as DB Schenker USA’s West/South Area Ocean Director for about six months now, and he’s already recognized the logistics provider’s strong commitment to environmentalism and sustainability. With about 10 years of experience in the logistics industry, Welsch says that during that time he’s seen an uptick in the number of customers that want to minimize their carbon footprints while at the same time instituting more “green” business practices.
DB Schenker recognizes this, says Welsch, and spends much time discussing and taking actions necessary to protect the environment and our world’s oceans. In certain cases, that can mean combining different transportation modes (e.g., air, ocean, and rail) to come up with the most economic and sustainable way to get shipments from Point A to Point B. “There are definitely ways to manipulate the supply chain,” says Welsch, “and achieve a lesser emissions footprint.”
When he thinks about what World Oceans Day means to him, Welsch’s thoughts go to his favorite marine mammal—the whale. A majestic creature, the whale is highly impacted by pollution, litter, global warming, and other environmental problems. In fact, Welsch says the whale itself represents a “picture of sustainability” in that it eats huge volumes of krill, moves around the ocean (versus staying in one area), and provides food and support to a wide variety of other marine animals.
“To me, the whale symbolizes and represents our industry and our global economy,” says Welsch. “We can all borrow a page from this mammal in our quest to clean up the oceans and enact emission reduction efforts.”
What does World Ocean Day mean to you?