At Wilhelmsen we believe in the positive benefits global trade can have for society. But economic growth and increased global trade cannot happen at the expense of the environment or our future generations’ needs. The coronavirus could be the ultimate acid test for how we want to do business when things are better and back to normal. Irrespective of Covid-19’s lasting impact, humanity faces some of its biggest challenges. We have singled out three: Decarbonisation. Marine litter and pollution. Renewable energy.
This is why we believe a decarbonisation program like this would be beneficial for society – it is our way of stepping up as an industry leader to do more for our future generation.
As the program progresses through end-2022, it will identify more than 3,000 high-impact tech startups around the world, fostering and catalysing a final shortlist of over 100 scalable pilot schemes and ventures. Each will seek a solution to the issue of carbon emissions in the shipping industry, with the ultimate goal of achieving industry-wide CO2-neutral status.
Industry, regulators and customers alike are demanding that shipping evolve to become more eco-friendly and decarbonized. According to data from the International Maritime Organization, maritime transport emits 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually and is responsible for approximately 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In order to curb climate change, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals outline a 45% reduction in carbon emissions within the next decade and net zero emissions by 2050. Effective action during the period leading to 2030 is essential, in order to reach this target and stem the damage caused by climate change.
Scouting candidates for the first cycle of this vitally important program, Rainmaking initially identified 1,200 promising startups, with a cumulative funding of US$14 billion, based across 70 countries. Of these, 145 particularly impressive candidate companies were given full due diligence screening and a final group of 51 selected for kick-off workshop participation (similar to a ‘demo day’).
Here, each startup pitched their proposed decarbonization solution, with those deemed most likely to succeed subsequently allocated partnerships with collaborating companies. These include industry leaders such as Cargill, DNV GL, Hafnia, MC Shipping (a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp), Shell, Vale, and Wilhelmsen. Corporate partners do not take equity in the start-ups with which they collaborate. Instead, they provide the start-ups with access to resources, real-world knowledge, and mentorship from experienced innovators and corporate leaders.
Mr. Nakul Malhotra, Vice President Open Innovation for Wilhelmsen, says: “Working with corporate partners and curated startups, accelerating technology capabilities to help the maritime industry tackle the big issues embodies the open innovation principles that Wilhelmsen fosters. We are excited to see the tangible steps being taken and look forward to maintaining the partnership spirit achieved.”
Tarun Mehrotra, Director, Trade & Transport at Rainmaking, says: “This is not merely an exercise — these initiatives represent real, working collaborations between a corporate partner and an innovative startup. Efforts such as these are essential to decarbonizing shipping within the next ten years. Taking action within the coming decade will prove pivotal to halting climate change and ensuring the resiliency of supply chains during a crisis like the one we are presently experiencing.”
Startups are addressing this issue and setting out to reduce shipping’s carbon emissions in a broad variety of ways. These include the development of new or alternative energy sources; augmented reality (AR) solutions; AI and dataenabled CO2 reduction; increasing energy efficiency; automation, infrastructure and business model innovation; greater transparency in tracking of CO2 provenance and quantities; carbon offsetting; and improved vessel design. Through innovation in these areas, Rainmaking and its partners hope to solve some of the most pressing problems faced in the 21st century by the shipping industry — and the world.