Net Zero by 2050: Maersk's Ambitious Voyage

Navigate through Maersk's plans for a sustainable future with their Net Zero strategy.

Rob Boyle
March 7, 2023
Table of Contents

A.P. Moller - Maersk (hereafter referred to as Maersk) is a global leader in the logistics industry. Maersk is committed to addressing climate change and transitioning to a low-carbon economy by reducing carbon emissions, investing in renewable energy, and implementing sustainable solutions. 

The company has set ambitious targets for emissions reduction, aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and a 60% relative reduction in CO2 emissions per container moved by 2030, compared to 2008 levels.

With a rich history and a commitment to driving positive change, Maersk strives to lead sustainability efforts within the maritime industry. The company is committed to connecting and simplifying trade while caring for the environment.

Maersk's net zero targets taking shape

Maersk is turning its vision of achieving net zero emissions into actions. The company is progressing and implementing strategies to shape its net zero targets, bringing us closer to a greener future in shipping. Here are the details of net zero targets:


  • Net zero across the business and 100% green solutions to customers.


  • Aligned with a science-based targets initiative 1.5-degree pathway.
  • Industry-leading green customer offerings across the supply chain. 
Image showing Maersk's decarbonisation goals including the first carbon neutral liner and a 60% co2 reduction by 2030
Maersk to Operate World's First Carbon Neutral Liner Vessel by 2023 (Image Source Maersk)

The company has set ambitious targets for emissions reduction, aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and a 60% relative reduction in CO2 emissions per container moved by 2030, compared to 2008 levels.

End-to-end low GHG emission solutions

Maersk is committed to developing and implementing end-to-end solutions resulting in low greenhouse gas emissions throughout the logistics. This involves a holistic approach considering emissions reduction at every stage, from transport to warehousing. 

Maersk's timeline to achieve net-zero emissions
Roadmap to deliver net zero by 2040 (Image Source: Maersk)

By focusing on these strategies, Maersk is actively working to reduce emissions and decarbonise the logistics industry. It ultimately contributes to a more sustainable future and a low-carbon economy.

Maersk's approach to achieving net zero emissions

Maersk plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and has implemented various strategies and initiatives. Among them, some are discussed below.

Investing in green methanol-enabled vessels

Maersk has ordered 19 vessels to utilise green methanol, reducing emissions and contributing to decarbonisation efforts.

Sustainable supply chains

  • Maersk aims to transform supply chains by making them more sustainable, reducing their carbon footprint.
  • Implementing more innovative logistics networks and designing energy-efficient warehouses.

Partnerships and collaborations

Maersk forms strategic partnerships with various associations and organizations to further its commitment to achieving net-zero emissions and making positive environmental contributions. Some of these partnerships include:

  • Clean Agro
  • Road Freight Zero
  • Getting to Zero Coalition
  • Transform to Net Zero
  • Ocean Stewardship Coalition
  • Shipping Council
  • Renewable Hydrogen Coalition
  • National shipowners' associations of Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands

Through these collaborations, Maersk has improved its management of potential positive and negative impacts on nature. The goal is to align itself with science-based targets for nature via universal standards.

Other initiatives

  1. Retrofitting vessels: Maersk has retrofitted its owned vessels to reduce emissions.
  2. Electric vehicles & equipment: The company has ordered electric vehicles and container handling equipment.
  3. Renewable electricity: Maersk has switched to renewable electricity in nine terminals.
  4. Enhanced methodologies: The company has developed improved methods to measure air emissions and report water consumption context-based accurately.
  5. Wildlife protection: Maersk has strengthened whale protection initiatives and contributed to the IMO Guidelines for preventing wildlife trafficking.

Maersk's strategy reshaping operations and empowering its workforce

Maersk's net zero strategy will affect day-to-day operations and employees in various ways as the company works towards reducing emissions, investing in renewable energy, and implementing sustainable practices.

Changes in Operations & Equipment

Maersk's net zero strategy has changed its operations and equipment. It incorporates sustainable practices and investing in eco-friendly technologies to reduce emissions and environmental impact.

  • Retrofitting vessels: Maersk-owned vessels will undergo retrofitting to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions.
  • Electric vehicles and equipment: Employees may use electric vehicles and container handling equipment, contributing to lower emissions in daily operations.
  • Renewable electricity: Nine terminals have switched to renewable electricity, impacting energy consumption and emissions in daily operations.

Supply Chain Transformation & Optimisation

Maersk contributes to achieving net zero through its supply chain in the following ways. 

  • Optimising transportation: Employees will optimise transportation routes and methods to reduce emissions and improve efficiency.
  • Smarter logistics networks: Maersk aims to design and implement a more efficient logistics network. It may require employees to adapt to new processes and systems.
  • Energy-efficient warehouses: Warehouse employees will work in facilities designed to be more energy-efficient, reducing the environmental impact of daily operations.

Enhanced Methodologies & Reporting

Employees may need to adopt enhanced methodologies developed in 2022 to measure air emissions and report water consumption context-based accurately.

Maersk’s Water Consumption Report (Image Source: Maersk)

Enhancing methodologies and contributing to wildlife protection

To actively contribute to wildlife protection. Through the implementation of these strategies, significant progress is being made towards creating a safer environment for wildlife.

Measuring progress

Maersk has developed enhanced methodologies to measure air emissions and report water consumption accurately.

Wildlife protection

The company has strengthened whale protection initiatives and contributed to the IMO Guidelines for preventing wildlife trafficking through the World Shipping Council.

infographic showing Maersk's current carbon footprint with 78 million tonnes emitted in 2022
Maersk’s 2022 GHG Emissions Footprint  (Image Source:  Maersk)

Reaching net zero: Maersk's toughest hurdles

Maersk faces several challenges in achieving its net zero emissions targets. Still, the company is actively working on strategies to overcome these obstacles.

Technological challenges

  • Development of green fuels: Maersk must invest in and adopt new green fuels, such as green methanol, to power its vessels. This requires collaboration with partners and suppliers to secure a reliable supply of these fuels.
  • Retrofitting existing vessels: Maersk must retrofit its fleet with new technologies to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. This can be a complex and costly process.

Operational challenges

  • Supply chain transformation: Maersk must work with its suppliers and customers to transform supply chains and adopt more sustainable practices, which can be complex and time-consuming.
  • Employee engagement and education: Ensuring that employees are educated and engaged in sustainability efforts is crucial for the success of Maersk's net zero strategy. This requires ongoing training and communication initiatives.

Regulatory and market challenges

  • Government policies and regulations: Maersk's net zero strategy may be influenced by government policies and regulations, varying across different countries and regions.
  • Competitive pressures: Maersk must balance its sustainability efforts with maintaining a competitive edge in the transportation, logistics, supply chain, and storage industries.

The role of employees in meeting sustainability targets

Employees play a crucial role in helping Maersk achieve its net zero goals by adapting to new processes, embracing sustainable practices, and contributing to a culture of environmental responsibility.

Adapting to new processes and equipment

  • Green technologies: Employees need to learn how to operate and maintain green technologies, such as electric vehicles and container handling equipment.
  • Retrofitting vessels: Crew members must adapt to changes in vessel operations resulting from retrofitting and using green methanol as a fuel source.

Embracing sustainable practices

  • Optimising transportation: Employees can contribute to reducing emissions by optimising transportation routes and adopting more efficient logistics practices. 
  • Energy-efficient warehouses: Staff should follow best practices for energy conservation in warehouse operations and facility management.

Contributing to an environmental responsibility

  • Collaboration: Employees can actively participate in partnerships and initiatives to reduce emissions and protect the environment.
  • Enhanced reporting: Staff should diligently measure and report emissions and water consumption data to support Maersk's commitment to transparency and progress tracking.

Employee education & engagement

Maersk ensures employee education and engagement in sustainability efforts through various initiatives. It includes training, direct involvement in decarbonisation solutions, and participation in local events.

Training initiatives

Employees participate in training initiatives that cover ESG topics, helping them understand the importance of sustainability and how it relates to their roles within the company.

Direct involvement in decarbonisation solutions

Employees contribute directly to developing decarbonisation solutions, playing an integral role in Maersk's ESG agenda and helping the company achieve its net zero goals.

Participation in local events

Maersk employees volunteer for local events, such as the Go Green week, in different communities, promoting environmental responsibility and fostering a culture of sustainability within the company.

Awards and recognition for Maersk's sustainability efforts

Maersk has received several awards and recognition for its sustainability and environmental responsibility achievements.

  • CDP A-rating: Maersk was granted an A-rating (leadership band) by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for its climate change efforts. 
  • EcoVadis Gold rating: Maersk received a Gold rating from EcoVadis, a leading provider of sustainability ratings for businesses.
  • Indian Health Impact Award: Maersk was honoured with the Indian Health Impact Award for its significant contributions to improving the well-being of ship recycling workers.
Electric truck
Maersk Continues Flying the Sustainability Flag (Image Source: Maersk)


Maersk's commitment to achieving net zero emissions is evident through their approach, collaborations, and partnerships for climate action. They are reshaping operations and empowering their workforce to drive sustainability efforts. 

Recognising the vital role of employees, Maersk focuses on education and engagement to ensure everyone contributes to their net zero goals. By embracing low-emission solutions and methods for wildlife protection, Maersk is leading the way in sustainable shipping practices.

Overall, the company’s efforts have garnered awards and recognition, and though they face challenges, their determination remains unwavering on reaching net zero emissions.

What are Maersk's net zero targets?
Maersk is aiming for net zero across the business by 2040, with 100% green solutions for customers. The company is also aligning its targets with a science-based initiative 1.5-degree pathway by 2030 and plans to operate the world's first carbon neutral liner vessel in 2023.
What collaborations and partnerships has Maersk established for environmental sustainability?
Maersk has formed strategic partnerships with various associations and organisations, including Clean Agro, Road Freight Zero, Getting to Zero Coalition, Transform to Net Zero, Ocean Stewardship Coalition, Shipping Council, Renewable Hydrogen Coalition, and national shipowners' associations of Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
What challenges does Maersk face in achieving its net zero emissions targets?
Challenges include technological hurdles like the development of green fuels and retrofitting existing vessels, operational issues like supply chain transformation and employee engagement, and regulatory and market challenges such as government policies, regulations, and competitive pressures.
What recognition has Maersk received for its sustainability efforts?
Maersk has been granted an A-rating by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for its climate change efforts, a Gold rating from EcoVadis, and the Indian Health Impact Award for improving the well-being of ship recycling workers.

About the author

I built Emission Index to collect and share data, trends and opportunities to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

I am passionate about data science, researching and writing about the energy transition and the environmental challenges we face.  

When I don't have my head in books or a spreadsheet, I love playing guitar and spending quality time with my two children.