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Many of the twelve largest container carriers have not published their Sustainability Reports for the year 2020 yet


There is so much talk about the environmental commitment of the largest container carriers. The companies have joined initiatives and promised serious efforts to decarbonize and become more environmentally responsible. However, the first half of 2021 ended yesterday, and seven out of the twelve largest container carriers in the world have not released their Sustainability Reports yet. That is not acceptable.

If companies release their annual reports and financial statements one or two months after the end of the year, why can’t they do the same with their Sustainability Reports? In today’s world, highly stressed by environmental demands, in particular by the enormous challenges of climate change, high-quality, exhaustive and detailed Sustainability Reports are mandatory. Last year only four companies released their reports during the first half of the year, seven did in the second half (five as late as September), and one has never released a report. This year, the picture did not change much because only five have released their reports during the first half of the year, and 182 days is a lot of time. 

As Gliese Foundation said last year, in 2021, we would be more strict while reviewing each report (2020 was our first year), and we would penalize those companies that release their reports too late. That means that we will be more demanding on the quality of each report and that we are already shaving 0.5 stars out of a maximum of 5 for those seven companies. We will shave another 0.5 stars for those that do no release them before the end of August and 0.5 stars more at the end of October. What happens is that the timing is also quite relevant. Would a company release its financial statements for the year 2020 in August or September of 2021? Never. In the XXI century, environmental reporting is as urgent and relevant as the financial one. 

Besides, there is an undeniable fact: container carriers have not had the same performance as cruise companies. Last year we reviewed the environmental reporting of cruise companies during 2019. We won’t do this year because cruise companies have had almost no operations during 2020, and none of the major cruise companies has released Sustainability Reports for obvious reasons. The current condition of container carriers is entirely the opposite: They are doing much better than in previous years. Their vessels are working at full capacity, the consumption of bunkers is high, and consequently, the environmental impact is also at its peak. Hence, the responsibility to produce those reports should be even much more relevant.  

In the same way as last year, we will review the environmental reporting of the Sustainability Reports of the companies that transported 1% or more of the global container cargo. According to the latest data from Alphaliner, the companies are the same as last year, although there were some minor rearrangements in the ranking among them. The names of the companies and further information are presented in the attached table. 

Those interested in our independent reviews can find them at the following link on our website

There you will find the reviews of each of the twelve companies we published last year. There is also a summary of all of them and a methodological explanation, which we are updating since it will be more strict this year (i.e., it will be more challenging to reach high marks). 

Gliese Foundation 

July 1st, 2021