The lush forests and glistening waterways of British Columbia are pristine examples of the unspoilt natural beauty we are at risk of losing from the increasing threat of climate change. With time running out to take decisive action, the City of Vancouver is leading the way when it comes to decarbonisation initiatives, proposing ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors. To tackle emissions from global shipping, the Vancouver Maritime Centre for Climate is bringing leaders together from across the industry to accelerate the transition to zero-emissions shipping in British Columbia – and beyond.
Vancouver’s busy seaport is the second largest on the west coast of North America, handling 76.5 million metric tons of cargo each year. The vessels that come in and out represent small elements of a much bigger challenge: the global shipping industry is currently estimated to be responsible for 2.6% of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, a figure that’s in danger of rising as the industry carries over 90% of the world’s trade. In order to meet emissions reductions targets both local and global, innovative ways to decarbonise this important sector are essential.
The Vancouver Maritime Centre for Climate (VMCC) is not daunted by the sizeable challenge faced. This grassroots, industry-led, not-for-profit initiative has dedicated itself to accelerating the transition to a zero-emissions shipping industry, first tackling the issue in British Columbia and then with plans to expand across Canada. It’s a big problem to tackle, but by focusing on a specific region and bringing the right industry players together, VMCC believes it can make a sizable impact in reducing emissions by 2030 . The rapidly growing initiative has attracted regional, national and global industry leaders who share the same vision and goals to be part of the community, including Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.
“It’s a big problem to tackle, but by focusing on a specific region and bringing the right industry players together, VMCC believes it can make a sizable impact in reducing emissions by 2030
- Dave Adams, Senior Sales Manager, Wärtsilä Marine Power
Dave Adams, Senior Sales Manager, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions is a member of VMCC’s steering committee: “The VMCC shares many of Wärtsilä’s principles, such as our emphasis on using smart technology to enable sustainable societies, and I’m proud to be working together with leaders across the maritime industry to create a world-class centre of excellence that addresses the climate imperative. The initiative establishes Vancouver as a global leader in the decarbonisation of the maritime and shipping sectors, and we are looking forward to helping the shipping industry meet and even exceed the climate targets set by the International Maritime Organisation, the Canadian government and the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy.”
“The exciting thing about partnering with a global player like Wärtsilä is the potential to trade information in and out of the region,” says Elisabeth Charmley, one of VMCC’s two passionate co-founders and the centre’s Executive Director. “Having that type of participation will help accelerate the valuable work we plan to do in our region.”
“In just one year, VMCC has gone from an idea discussed over lunch to a rapidly expanding start-up,” shares Charmley “Members of our community are already taking action to address climate change and reduce their carbon footprint, so it’s important that we work with them to help them get the tools and resources they need to not only meet but exceed the emissions targets coming down the pipeline. With so many industry leaders on board, we are well positioned to do this.”
At the heart of the VMCC’s services is Operation Flagship, an initiative that will help to deliver climate solution pilots, supporting ship owners, operators, ports, terminals and supporting infrastructure to find the right solutions to help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions – or even decarbonise completely. “Operation Flagship is designed to bring together innovators with site hosts to demonstrate the effectiveness of new or existing decarbonising solutions,” explains co-founder Bryan Buggey. “This program will help to accelerate and scale solutions that have real impacts on maritime industry emissions.”
“Operation Flagship is designed to bring together innovators with site hosts to demonstrate the effectiveness of new or existing decarbonising solutions.
- Bryan Buggey, Co-founder, VMCC
Operation Flagship will accelerate the implementation and adoption of emissions-reduction solutions by sharing knowledge and best practice across the industry. “Wärtsilä leads the Pilot Projects & Commercialization working group, soliciting proposals for ideas, filtering them to ensure they meet the VMCC goals and putting them into action. We bring our global expertise from similar organisations into the group helping us to review opportunities, and we look forward to direct participation in future fuel, electrification and digitalisation projects,” shares Adams. Vancouver has placed decarbonisation at the top of its agenda, and with the establishment of the VMCC more players in the maritime industry will be able to access innovative pilot projects to help them reduce their emissions and move towards a zero-carbon future. Wärtsilä is proud to be taking part in this initiative and hopes it will demonstrate to the world how local projects and activities can be the catalyst for profound global change.