The Blue Star of Sustainability

The last city we will be visiting on our journey across Scandinavia is Copenhagen. We have had the opportunity to visit businesses in all stages of their development, ranging from startups to fully matured companies. From our visit to Copenhagen, we have decided to examine how sustainability is upheld by the multinational shipping conglomerate Maersk.

Similar to Ericsson’s focus on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, Maersk puts forth its best effort to meet all the proposed goals. Maersk has updated its suitability as recently as 2017 in efforts to meet its long term of being net-emissions of zero by 2050 (A.P. Moller, 2018). Its continual efforts can be observed in the 41% reduction in carbon dioxide compared to the 2008 baseline measure. While becoming more sustainable, Maersk also has the vision of becoming a global integrator of container logistics, providing their customers with end-to-end services for a simplified and connected supply chain. With an industry leader heavily prioritizing sustainability, Maersk has the ability to make a significant impact in the world.

Maersk has set an example for the rest of the industry leader by setting ambitious goals and consistently revising its strategy to achieve it. It recognizes the problem at hand and is transforming its business to adapt to this change. A greenhouse gas study in 2014 attributes shipping as the source of global emissions. Having this information, Maersk realizes that efficiency and profiteering should not be the end goal; Maersk is going through several avenues in achieving its carbon-neutral goal. These avenues include research and development for new technologies, fuels, and supplies chains, working to ensure conductive public and private policies for carbon-neutral shipping, and engaging customers to accelerate the demand for low-carbon transportation.

An issue we found particularly interesting is the issue of food loss. It is estimated that 350 million tons of food are spoiled due to inadequate storage and delays during transportation. This is an issue that Maersk has identified as a business opportunity and sustainability project. In the case of transporting Banana from India to Europe, Maersk is working with India’s National research center for Banana and farmers in the Theni district in South India to map out the banana trail as the fruit travels through a cold supply chain. The goal is to have the transportation time to be below 45 days; this opens up three million tons of banana export to Europe. This not only drives up profits but makes the practice of exporting bananas more sustainable.

Even though we are nearing the end of our travels, the companies never cease to open our minds to sustainable business practices. Being profitable and sustainable are not mutually and exclusive and can be achieved simultaneously.