Maersk Withdraws Board Member from ICS for Climate Change Reasons

09 August 2022 by Tanith Allen
blog author

One of the largest shipping groups in the world, A.P. Moller-Maersk, has withdrawn its board member from an industry organisation after a decade, for reasons understood to be related to climate change.

The group withdrew its member, Maersk executive and board member Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, from International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), following an annual revision of trade association memberships. According to sources, the reason is believed to surround the trade association's stance on climate change.

Maersk is one of the world's largest shipping groups with more than 100,000 employees and operations in 130 countries and has been part of ICS's board for the past 10 years.

Maersk said the following on its website, without elaborating further: "We review our membership status once a year to ensure that the trade associations in which we are members lobby in alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement as well as other key issues.

"Our choice to step down from the ICS Board should also be seen in this context.”

The Paris Agreement was agreed in 2015 and is a legally binding treaty between the world's countries, which aims to limit global warming by curbing global greenhouse gas emissions. The shipping industry carries around 80 per cent of global trade and is responsible for around 3 per cent of global carbon emissions.

It is understood that a spokesperson told Reuters the decision to withdraw had been announced at an ICS annual general meeting on June 22. While Maersk is not directly a member of ICS, it is a member of the Danish Shipping trade group, which is a member of ICS.

Maersk, which aims to have a carbon-neutral fleet by 2030 in order to meet its target of net-zero emissions by 2050, will now focus efforts on its membership of the World Shipping Council (WSC), a trade group for container shippers.

ICS, which has members from over 40 countries and represents more than 80 per cent of the world's commercial fleet, promotes "best practices throughout the shipping industry," its website claims. There has been no comment from the ICS regarding the matter.

Tanith Allen, Director, Infrastructure & Manufacturing, Sustainable Business said:"We have seen a recent shift across both the infrastructure and manufacturing sectors with transport of goods and the production of the goods themselves seeing radical revisioning through an ESG lens. In the same way that activist investors take a finite stance on how a business is run and future-proofed, so too are we seeing corporates ask more from the stakeholder groups they’re part of.

At Acre we have worked on many Executive roles in the multi-stakeholder space, reflecting that industry has recognised the need to take collective action on shared issues. For those groups that haven’t taken sustainability seriously to date, we are now seeing the direct impact on how they are valued by their members."

Tanith leads Acre’s recruitment teams across Infrastructure and Manufacturing. Since joining the business, Tanith has developed Acre’s executive consultant platform, the  Acre Bench, providing flexible support to clients facing some of the most challenging  materiality, strategy and responsible value chain issues in sustainability. She has successfully placed senior ESG professionals with clients such as LyondellBasell, Ball Corporation, and Virgin Atlantic, as well as with leading industry bodies. Tanith spends the majority of her time with Acre's clients, delivering Executive recruitment projects as well as bespoke consultancy and business optimisation assignments.