Environmental Performance Indices for Shipping: Inventory and Evaluation
Paper in proceedings, 2012
Increased demand for environmental and sustainability information on products in a life cycle perspective has led to the development of a large number of voluntary initiatives aimed at communicating the environmental performance of sea transport, such as indices and certificates. There is however a lack of scientific studies that applies the research area of environmental indices and indicators to shipping.
In the present paper, an inventory found over 30 different environmental initiatives for shipping related to a diversity of stakeholders. An evaluation of three indices was then conducted based on criteria and characteristics in reviewed literature. They each assess environmental performance based on data for individual vessels, which then is aggregated into a final index. These indices could be used for a shipowner to communicate environmental performance of their ships, and for a transport buyer to select ships and shipowners according to their performance results.
The indices were found to differ in context, construction, application, transparency as well as users. The paper emphasizes the importance of identifying the needs for the specific user in terms of communication and scope before selecting a particular index. It is concluded that there is a need for a unified system or standardized methods for evaluating environmental performance of ships. This could help to avoid administrative burden of both shipowners and transport buyers. There is also a need for deeper analysis of environmental indices in various shipping markets. With reference to methodological problems of comparing indices, a developed evaluation scheme can be used for further studies on environmental ship indices.