New Maersk Line procurement policy for container floorboards aims to reduce demand for illegally logged tropical hardwood
Today, Maersk Line announced a new policy to refrain from purchasing containers with floors made of uncertified tropical hardwood.
“Illegal logging is widely recognised as a serious threat to forests, people and wildlife. We feel obligated to use our purchasing power to push for higher standards and ensure that the timber we use for container floors come from responsible forestry,” says Jacob Sterling, Head of Climate & Environment, Maersk Line.
Traditionally, shipping lines have had their containers fitted with tropical hardwood floors. It takes two cubic metres of hardwood to produce floors for three 40 foot containers. The container industry uses approximately 1.2-1.5 million cubic metres of hardwood annually to meet demand for new containers.
As a result of the new policy, all new Maersk Line containers purchased as of January 2011 will have floors made of timber from sources employing responsible forestry practices or non-wood alternatives such as bamboo and recycled plastic. Any tropical hardwood used will be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). As an interim solution applicable only in 2011, tropical hardwood verified as legally compliant will be accepted while other floor types are scaled up in production.
To date, Maersk Line has purchased 64,000 containers that comply with the new policy. Over the next 5 years, Maersk Line will purchase approx. 3 million containers (TEU), more than doubling its current container fleet. A large percentage of the container fleet will therefore have new alternative floorboards within a relative short time span. Certified floors will be in all Maersk Line containers within 18 years, the typical lifetime of a container.
“It will take a while before we can say that all our containers are fitted with the new floors but we trust that our customers will appreciate that the containers we buy to transport their cargo from now on will have more sustainable floor types,” says Jacob Sterling.
The new alternative flooring solutions have been tested and developed in partnership with company suppliers.
Maersk Container Industry (MCI) in Dongguan, China produced its first FSC-labelled container for Maersk Line in April 2011. The container is fitted with hardwood floor from certified responsible forestry.
“We have spent several years testing alternative materials and developing suppliers to avoid the use of uncertified tropical timber. We are pleased to introduce a viable and competitive solution for our customers,” says Peter Nymand, CEO, Maersk Container Industry.
FSC’s Director General Andre de Freitas is satisfied with Maersk Line’s policy.
“Through preference for FSC certified products, Maersk has prioritised essential social and environmental criteria throughout its supply chain.”
Responsible Procurement at Maersk Line
Through our commitment to the UN Global Compact, Maersk Line will integrate sustainability, not only in our own organisation, but also in our global supply chain. In 2011, Maersk Line will initiate the implementation of a global Maersk Responsible Procurement Programme with the purpose of driving responsible business practices and continuous improvement in our global supplier base. By end of 2011 at least 50% of Maersk Line’s operational spend will be covered by the Maersk Responsible Procurement Programme.
In addition to our general efforts, Maersk Line also takes steps to drive long-term and systematic improvements in selected purchasing categories where we have a significant impact such as the procurement of containers and vessels.
Source: Maersk Line