In this regular column, we reach out to IMPA SAVErs to see why they joined IMPA’s most ambitious sustainability initiative to date, how they are faring and why they think others should join.

Back in 2020, IMPA SAVE was created to bring together members from the industry to support sustainability initiatives, embrace and transition to new greener solutions and to take climate action now. The first goal of the programme? Encouraging ship-owners, ship-managers and maritime suppliers around the world to choose suitable planet-friendlier alternatives to the vast quantities of plastic bottles that are currently delivered to the global fleet. More than two years onwards, almost 70 companies have pledged to change the status quo, including close to 15% of the global fleet.

Today, our team is joined for an interview by another two IMPA SAVE pledgers, including one of our very own IMPA SAVE Council Members. On the one hand, we meet IMPA member John Beck, representing Wilhelmsen Ship Management, who is one of our first IMPA SAVE Council Members and early pledgers, alongside being a trusted member of our IMPA ACT initiative. On the other, we get to meet Patrick Juhl, Group CFO and responsible for Group Procurement at Seven Seas Group, one of the first maritime suppliers to jump onboard IMPA SAVE.

How did you come across the IMPA SAVE initiative and why have you joined?

JB: I was very fortunate to be invited to join this initiative back in 2020 by the IMPA SAVE Chair, Mikael Karlsson, as both a Council Member and one of the pledgers.

I can see that there are some serious challenges to the health of our oceans. Indeed, Goal 14 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to ‘conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development’. As individual companies, our contribution to the health of our oceans is somewhat limited, but if we collaborate, then we can make a real difference!

PJ: We have been working with IMPA for many years, including been title sponsor at IMPA London. When IMPA SAVE was launched to the shipping industry, we followed the development closely as we see it as the right step for the entire industry. Later when IMPA SAVE opened for ship suppliers pledging, it was a very natural step for us, and we were amongst the first ship suppliers pledging.

We want to do whatever we can to support both the shipping industry and the ship supply industry to have as light an environmental footprint as possible, so for us it was a very easy decision to make the pledge. We are
very happy that we have also been the first ship supplier in the world to actually action the first IMPA SAVE initiative by ordering carton water from LY Company Group, one of IMPA SAVE’s partners, for all our locations globally.

How have you undertaken or are planning to undertake the journey towards eliminating plastic drinking water bottles onboard the global fleet?

JB:We started our #makingadifference campaign  in 2019 and have seen a significant reduction in the use of single use plastics since then.

PJ: We are very committed to kick single-use plastic drinking bottles, and consequently we actioned immediately when we got the opportunity and became the first ship supplier in the world to order carton water  from LY Company Group through the IMPA SAVE initiative. Prior to that, we have however looked at what we could do internally, and here we installed water filtration systems saving the equivalent of more than half a million 0.5L
plastic water bottles per year.

When it comes to sustainability, what is most important to you, as well as your company?

JB: Wilhelmsen take sustainability very seriously. This encompasses each of the three pillars of sustainability – Environment, Social and Governance. We have conducted an impact assessment for our business and set up KPI’s to allow us to monitor progress. We are also members of the IMPA ACT initiative.

Wilhelmsen Ship Management’s approach to ESG is to enable sustainable global trade and our vision is to shape the maritime industry. Our ability to do both is dependent on us addressing ESG risks and maximising opportunities. We can’t do this in isolation as engaging our value chain partners is the key to success. Engaging our suppliers and encouraging them to develop their own strategies for sustainability is one of our most important initiatives currently.


PJ: As mentioned before, we want to ensure we have as light an environmental footprint as possible. We are evaluating different options on an ongoing basis so we can continue to lower our own emissions, but also so we can support our clients the best way possible for them to lower their emissions and use a reliable supplier that is committed to the same objective.

Besides pledging to IMPA SAVE and being the first mover to action their first initiative with kicking out single use plastic bottles, we have

• Installed a 3.38 MW Solar (PV) rooftop system consisting of over 8,000 modules, one of the largest solar power panel roofs ever installed privately in Dubai.

• Installed water filtration systems.

•Testing out various delivery options to reduce the use of recycled plastic wrapping.

• In 2023 we will also be installing solar panels on our facility in Portugal and we will lower our emissions from gensets further through utilising power generated from our solar power panels.

• Another important focus area for us have been to reduce fuel consumption and through optimised route planning and vehicle utilisation we have so far reduced our fuel consumption by more than 25%.

• Finally, we are working closely with our key suppliers as well as our Partner Network to ensure they also do what they can to lower their emissions.

What would you tell others who are thinking of getting involvedwith

JB: ESG is not something we can all step back from and say ‘we’ll leave it for another day’ – it is coming. The European Union is going to require large enterprises to report on ESG from 2024, with medium-sized enterprise to follow soon after. What happens in the EU will obviously spread to other parts
of the world. Support this initiative – we are stronger if we work together!

PJ: Do not wait. It is vital for the future of not only our industry, but for the world as a whole. There is no point in waiting for tomorrow when you can initiate it today – this is a challenge we all face together and we all need to action as soon as possible. Every change counts – from turning of the lights when possible to generating your own energy. Please ask yourself, why wait? We cannot see a single good answer to that question, besides, do not wait.

We are pleased with being at the forefront of the development, but this is such an important topic that we recommend all our colleagues in the ship supply industry to do as much as they can as well. Should anyone be interested in implementing the same initiatives as we have done, we are more than happy to share our experiences and support. Specifically on the topic of single-use plastic drinking bottles we encourage our customers to hard spec water products and to move away from the plastic bottles.

Will you join and pledge?