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Costco comes under pressure to slash all supply chain emissions

It has been a busy start to the year for supply chain executives working for US wholesaler Costco, the fifth largest retailer in the world.

Costco sent the boxship charter markets into overdrive recently when it teamed with US carrier Pasha Hawaii to take seven charters for ships ranging in size from 2,100 to 3,500 teu with most taken on a three-year basis.

These ships will now face greater scrutiny however as shareholders have voted for a proposal that called on the retailer to set out plans to reach net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 or sooner including across Costco’s supply chain, known as Scope 3 emissions. While shareholder resolutions are not legally binding in the US, the results of the vote last Thursday serve as another reminder to global liners that their customers are under enormous pressure to slash total emissions.

“We need more time to determine how we can achieve meaningful and operationally-viable absolute CO2 [equivalent] reductions in our operations and our global value chain,” Costco said in the wake of the vote.

In October last year Amazon and IKEA committed to move their products off fossil fuel ships by 2040, joining companies including Unilever and Patagonia.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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