Our ESG performance in 2019 – Trafigura and climate change

Last week we launched our fifth Responsibility Report. Here I highlight a couple of key aspects related to climate change and how we seek to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Posted by Jonas Moberg on January 20, 2020

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Last week we launched our fifth Responsibility Report. You will find a link to it here and a link to our press release here. In this blog, I highlight a couple of key aspects of our strategy related to climate change and how we seek to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We will return to these and other aspects of the report in the weeks to come.

In brief, we need to make sure that trade occurs as efficiently as possible. This means more efficient transport solutions. It also means better regulation, driving us in the private sector towards low carbon alternatives. Companies like ours need to reduce our emissions, offset more and contribute better towards the transition to low carbon economies.

International seaborne trade is the greatest source of our emissions, accounting for 89 % of our total emissions. It is a fragmented industry, with small margins. This reinforces the urgent need for governments and other regulators to agree global rules resulting in lower emissions. The private sector needs to speak up in support of such rules. For this reason, we have spoken out in favour of a carbon levy for the maritime sector, which we consider necessary for the development and use of low carbon fuels. And we support rules requiring slow steaming, which would substantially cut emissions. We also need, and are indeed taking actions, related to our own operations, such as using more modern and less polluting vessels.

We often get questions about coal. On page 47, we explain our stance. Coal accounts for less than three percent of our global turnover. The shift away from coal as an energy source needs to continue and quicken up and we need to play a role in this. For some time to come, it will however continue to be required by a number of developing countries as a source for baseload power. This coal will need to be transported as efficiently as possible, be as clean as possible and with the lowest possible greenhouse gas emissions.

We confirm in this year’s report that we are committed to setting greenhouse gas reduction emissions targets. In developing these targets, we will in the coming year consult a wide range of stakeholders.

This year, we have extended our reporting of emissions to all of our activities. Our measuring is becoming increasingly accurate, but we have further to go. So far, we have been using the University Maritime Advisory Service to calculate some of the emissions from when we charter vessels. While these calculations are quite accurate, we and the whole industry needs to move towards reporting the actual bunker consumption and consequent emissions. For this reason, we have started to request that shipowners report bunker use for each voyage. More about this next year. Overall, we are getting closer to reporting emissions intensity, ie the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to each tonne of commodity moved.

We report on a new internal scheme to offset emissions from business flights. We introduced what we call a Carbon Emissions Reduction Incentive, charging USD15 per tonne of CO2 emitted on flights taken by employees. It will generate some USD200 000, which will be used internally for reducing carbon emissions, such as installing solar panels. It is a small measure, but it is already contributing towards colleagues further considering the impact of travel and generating ideas about what else we can do to reduce the emissions from our activities.

See here a brief video interview with our former head of Health, Safety and the Environment, Richard Head, where he explains what we are doing to reduce our emissions.