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Poseidon Principles Signatories demonstrate progress in climate alignment of ship finance portfolios despite headwinds from Covid-19

11 out of 23 ship finance portfolios are aligned with the IMO’s decarbonization target.  In 2020, only 20% of reporting Signatories were aligned with this goal. 

The second Poseidon Principles Annual Disclosure Report 2021 reflects the Signatories’ leadership in climate finance and determination to decarbonize global shipping even in the face of short-term challenges in certain parts of the sector. 

I am very encouraged by the strides we have made as we continue with our goal of transparent reporting of our shipping portfolios. Covid-19 has presented challenges for shipping that have distorted some Signatories’ alignment scores. We note the clear call at COP26 and at the IMO to raise the IMO’s ambition to zero emissions and the Signatories will focus on this ambition early next year as we consider the continuing evolution of the Poseidon Principles and the example we are setting for other industries,” says Michael Parker, Chairman, Global Shipping, Logistics and Offshore, Citi, and Chair of the Poseidon Principles Association. 

Eight of the 23 Signatories reported for the first time this year. The assessment by each Signatory includes emissions data collected from borrowers and portfolio information at the end of 2020, compared to a decarbonization trajectory for the same year. 

Three Signatories who joined in 2021 have voluntarily disclosed their results, which was not required of them until the next report. There are currently 29 Signatories of the Poseidon Principles. 

Revisions to the methodology impacted this year’s reporting 

For this year’s reporting, the Poseidon Principles methodology was updated to reflect the IMO 4th GHG Study and the decarbonization trajectories thus differ from the previous year. However, the framework and assessment still bring important insights to Signatories and continue to inform their decision-making. 

The overall score for the Signatories to the Poseidon Principles was strongly influenced both by the updated methodology and the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, misalignment in some cases does not mean that there is no progress made collectively. As a group, we are increasing transparency and having more discussions about tangible next steps for the Signatories and their clients,” comments Paul Taylor, Global Head of Shipping and Offshore, Société Générale, and Vice Chair of the Poseidon Principles Association. 

Impact of Covid-19 

Covid-19’s impact on international shipping meant drastic changes in operation for some segments, mainly cruise and passenger vessels, leading to increasing carbon intensity. This is reflected in distorted climate alignment scores of some reporting banks with high exposure to the segment, but not expected to be a long-term change for the decarbonization of shipping. 

It is important to take the unprecedented years 2020 and 2021 into consideration. For some of us, this brought a positive change to our ship finance portfolio while for others, it increased emissions and the overall score we report. However, we do not believe that these events will alter the long-term ambition of the Poseidon Principles to encourage and help the industry to decarbonize,” comments Stephen Fewster, Managing Director and Global Head of Shipping, ING, and Treasurer of the Poseidon Principles Association. 

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