Open Letter to Maersk’s Bankers

March 12, 2020
Public Relations

Open Letter to Maersk’s Bankers

Banco Santander S.A., London Branch –José Antonio Alvarez

Bank of America Merrill Lynch International Designated Activity Company–Brian Moynihan

Barclays Bank Plc – Jes Staley

BNP Paribas –Jean-Laurent Bonnafé

Citibank N.A.London–Mary McNiff

Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft –Martin Zielke

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank–Philippe Brassac

Danske Bank A/S – Chris Vogelzang

Deutsche Bank – Christian Sewing

Handelsbanken – Carina Akerstrom

HSBC France –Jean Beunardeau

MUFG – Kanetsugu Mike

Nordea – Frank Vang-Jensen

SEB – Johan Torgeby

Standard Chartered Bank – Bill Winters

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A., London branch–Onur Genç

DNB Bank ASA – Kjerstin Braathen

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Europe) S.A., Brussels branch–Chen Siqing

ING Bank – Ralph Hamers

J.P. Morgan Securities Plc – Chris Harvey

Mizuho Bank, Ltd. – Koji Fujiwara

Morgan Stanley Bank International Limited – James Gorman

Natwest Markets Plc–Robert Begbie

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation – Makoto Takashima

Société Générale–Frédéric Oudéa

Standard Bank South Africa Limited, Isle of Man branch-Lungisa Fuzile

Dear Sirs and Madams:

We are encouraged by what we see. In the world of sustainability, accountability is often in short supply. It is evident you want to change this notion and set the standard higher. Requiring that Maersk reduce their carbon emissions to realize the full potential of your credit facility is a great idea. You are doing your part to help the environment by pushing others to do the same.

While this is a commendable start, you will need to be mindful moving forward. There have been many mistakes made in efforts to improve the health of our planet and we fear that history is about to repeat itself. Besides from reducing carbon dioxide emissions, there has been a push to reduce sulfur oxide emissions in the shipping sector as well. To do so some shipping companies, including Maersk, are relying on scrubbers. This is proving to a be a terrible, misguided choice.

The trouble with scrubbers is that they are a big uncertainty. There is not enough credible evidence to assure their safety and effectiveness. Even the IMO recognizes this as an issue and is encouraging further study of the impact of scrubbers on the environment.

The information we do know about scrubbers, certainly gives us cause for concern. It is a fact, that for every ton of fuel burned by a ship using a scrubber, 45 tons of toxic washwater is released. This washwater has been shown to contain both carcinogens and heavy metals. Evidence suggests that this is harming not only to the marine environment, but to human health as well.

Take for example, this study conducted by Umwelt Bundesamt. Researchers combined data from multiple studies to examine the cumulative effects scrubber washwater can have. They found that scrubber washwater decreases pH and increases temperature, putting more stress on the already fragile marine environment.

There is also this study conducted by the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute. Researchers found that scrubber discharges negatively impact vital functions in several marine organisms. This included copepods, a keystone species, that play a direct role in the marine food chain. It makes sense then that there is a growing fear that pollutants in the washwater are creeping into our food. In an internal, IMO-commissioned report, findings compiled from GESAMP show that these harmful substances can enter the food chain. If true, this poses a major threat to human health. Do you want to drink discharge water from a scrubber?

It is not often that an opportunity comes along where we can truly hold others accountable for their actions. You have this opportunity. Shipping companies, including Maersk, are endangering our planet and putting lives at risk, all to increase their profits. You have the power to change this. We urge you to pressure these companies into stopping the use of scrubbers. Like you did with the carbon emissions, you can make your credit facilities conditional on not using scrubbers. Scrubbers are a risk not worth taking!


The Environmental Protection Alliance

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