The shipping sector is responsible for transporting the goods we use daily, all over the world. From raw materials to finished products – including clothing, furniture, automobiles, appliances and so much more – every single day ports around the world see large vessels arrive and depart laden with containers of our everyday essentials, luxury items and much more. Global supply chains are completely reliant on the bulk container ships that ply the world’s oceans.

Shipping: Fast Facts

Shipping accounts for 2-3% of global GHG emissions, with emissions from shipping expected to rise by between 50% and 250% by 2050 under a business as usual scenario due to the growth of the world maritime trade

The IMO’s 2018 Greenhouse strategy aims to reduce emissions by at least 50% by 2050.

RSB has worked with the Sustainable Shipping Initiative to develop a vision for the shipping industry

All 50,000 merchant ships burn heavy fuel oil (HFO), marine distillate oil (MDO) or liquified natural gas (LNG).


The shipping industry has ambitious targets to reduce its climate impact. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) aims to reduce GHG emissions from the sector by 50% via the use of new technology, expanding on existing efficiencies and employing alternative fuels.

A number of stakeholders are more ambitious than the IMO:

Industry Solutions

EU Green Deal

The EU European Green Deal plans to include shipping in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).


Sweden has pledged to achieve carbon neutral shipping by 2045.

United Kingdom

The UK’s Clean Maritime Plan proposes that all new vessels ordered from 2025 should be designed with zero-emission capable technologies.


Maersk has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.


IKEA Transport & Logistics Services plans to reduce GHG emissions by 70% per transport shipment by 2030.

Practical Solutions for the Shipping Sector

The RSB’s pioneering approach drives continuous improvement and adaptation to new market challenges and opportunities. With credible solutions, innovative and advanced approaches to the latest sustainability challenges and a proven track record in supporting the shipping sector, we can deliver clear benefits and value to partners across the supply chain.

RSB Sector Lead

Standards Director

Sector Lead - Shipping

RSB Certification

Fuel Certification with RSB ensures environmental and social benefits, a verified and robust GHG emission reduction, and traceability from the feedstock source to the final customer. Certification against RSB EU RED includes compliance with the requirements of the European Renewable Energy Directive.

Learn More About RSB Certification


RSB’s approach to waste and residues in its Standard for Advanced Fuels ensures robust traceability for waste, residues and end-of-life materials, as well as real sustainability in processing units with a particular focus on the specific risks in play at these facilities – such as management of water and effluents.

The Standard for Advanced Fuels ensures that producers of non-traditional alternative fuels – such as those produced from fossil fuel waste – are able to achieve RSB’s rigorous sustainability certification.

This approach can support the shipping industry to overcome many of the challenges associated with 1st generation biofuels – such as ILUC and GHG emissions, biodiversity and food security – and supports innovative solutions for the next generations of sustainable alternative aviation fuels.

Explore the RSB Standard


RSB’s progressive ILUC module is the first to address the challenges associated with indirect land use change in biomass production and is available ahead of new regulations coming into force in the EU and beyond.


With our focus on food security in our Principles and Criteria and the practical development of tools like our low ILUC module, as well as a stringent requirement for stakeholder consultation to ensure that issues that might impact local food production, such as water access, are identified, RSB’s approach to food security is extremely robust.

RSB Advisory Services

RSB offers a range of tailored advisory services to unlock our expertise and promote sustainability in the shipping sector.

These include:


Support to formulate fuel sourcing policies that consider sustainability risks and unintended consequences.


Develop sustainability risk assessments for different fuel pathways – covering feedstock production, GHG assessment, fuel processing.


Sustainable feedstock resource assessments uncover the potential feedstock production capacity at regional, national and international level based on sustainability criteria and regional, crop and temporal specific conditions

Learn More About RSB Advisory Services

What Others Say

  • “Maersk is committed to supporting the use of RSB-certified biofuels and advanced fuels and we look forward to building on the success of this pilot project to develop a fully RSB-certified supply chain for the fuels we offer our customers.”

    John Kornerup Bang
    Head of Sustainability Strategy & Climate Change, Maersk
  • “We are ambitious: decarbonising the maritime sector is a huge task! But we have seen that it is possible to change an industry narrative to become more sustainable, just as we have seen in the aviation industry. We believe that we will find better solutions, faster, by building alliances with and learning from other industries and leaders. We, at the SSI, are delighted to be collaborating with the RSB and we’re looking forward to further discussing ways of how we can draw on your experiences for the maritime sector’s sustainability journey.”

    Andrew Stephens
    Executive Director, SSI


By creating solutions to ensure the sustainability of evolving bio-based and circular production, agricultural and energy systems, RSB is helping to drive a just transition to a net positive world.

By 2030, the RSB will have supported the emergence of a new world bioeconomy founded on social, economic and environmental considerations that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals – reducing climate impacts, enhancing food security and rural development, and protecting ecosystems.

Through its most trusted certification scheme, RSB enables companies across the bio-based, advanced products, and circular economy to demonstrate real and credible sustainability.

RSB provides expert consultancy through its advisory services, which are grounded in the highest levels of social and environmental sustainability, and are designed to support our clients’ most crucial needs throughout their supply chains — as they seek to transition to a positive impact and circular economy.

By building partnerships across sectors, RSB is using the power of its sustainability standard through driving collective action to address the systems changes required to enable people and the planet to thrive.

RSB engages in targeted advocacy to support policy makers around the world in embedding meaningful and trusted sustainability – as outlined in the RSB Standard – into legislation, policy, and regulations.

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