IMPA, the International Marine Purchasing Association, formed in July 2020 a new council for supply chain sustainability under the banner of IMPA SAVE as part of its bid to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality. The first project is an initiative for the mass reduction of plastic drinking water bottles from the world’s fleet, today amassing close to 15% of the world's vessels.

IMPA SAVE aims to support the call to action for the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), becoming the vehicle through which the Sustainability Council alongside IMPA members and marine colleagues work with the industry’s best and brightest and bring knowledge of sustainable solutions to the maritime.

The SAVE council is made up of a strong group of global shipowners and maritime suppliers representing companies with a combined fleet of more than 1000 vessels and a massive collective purchasing power, who are, more importantly, keen to be among the first responders to the call for a more sustainable blue economy. With representatives from Maersk Procurement, Teekay Shipping, Wilhelmsen Ship Management, Oceanic Catering, Scorpio Group and Weco Shipping, the group is chaired by IMPA Special Ambassador Mikael Karlsson of Francois Marine & Offshore, part of the Northern Marine Group.

By bringing companies together under the IMPA SAVE programme, IMPA aims to create an opportunity to share knowledge on better, more sustainable practices and alternatives through regular webinars and conferences in order to motivate each other to be better stewards of our oceans through procurement and supply chain management and committing and impact reporting.

Stephen Alexander, IMPA’s Chief Operating Officer, said:

“SAVE’s mantra is now a well-known but essential narrative: guarding the people, our planet, profit and our higher purpose. We must save cost and save the environment, and those working throughout the supply chain have a huge role to play in this”

The first project entitled ‘getting to zero’ aims to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic drinking water bottles purchased for the world’s fleet.

There is close to 1 billion litres of drinking water delivered on board each year generating more than 40 tons of waste bottles and the IMPA SAVE council are urging fellow ship owners and managers to pledge a commitment to make efforts to reduce this number over coming months and years. Ship owners and managers are able to make the pledge on a new website developed for the programme by IMPA.

Mikael Karlsson, the programme’s Chair and IMPA’s Sustainability Special Ambassador, said:

“just picture a bridge five feet wide made of plastic drinking water bottles; our industry’s annual consumption would reach all the way to the moon. If that’s not enough, then consider the impact on the environment of the delivery of the bottles, the packaging and the CO2.”

Karlsson and his colleagues on the SAVE council argue that these costs to companies and to the environment can be significantly reduced with practical solutions readily available to make alternative arrangements for healthy, clean and accessible drinking water.  

Karlsson adds:

“With many vessels already operating with a functioning reverse osmosis or evaporators onboard, the addition of a filtration system means drinking water is freely available offering a return on investment that benefits all”

The IMPA SAVE council is regularly bringing together industry professionals and filtration solution providers for the webinars exploring available options.

Many companies are join