Companies pledge not to ship through Arctic Ocean

More companies agreed last week not to ship goods through the Arctic Ocean and signed the Arctic Corporate Shipping Pledge launched by Ocean Conservancy and Nike in October 2019. The new signatories include Ralph Lauren Corporation, PUMA, Allbirds, Aritzia, and Bureo.

Study after study reveals the accelerating impact of climate change on the Arctic marine environment. In 2019, Arctic sea ice declined to its second-lowest summer extent on record, covering just 4.15 million square kilometers.

This decline in sea ice has made the polar routes more appealing to shipping companies. But while these routes can shorten the times between major commercial markets, increasing vessel traffic is a risky prospect for the Arctic. In the event of an accident, stranding, or oil spill, the impacts on sensitive ecosystems could be immense and could do permanent harm to communities’ subsistence way of life.

While recognizing that local and regional shipping is vital to northern communities and indigenous communities, the Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge invites companies to not intentionally route ships or send goods through the region as part of a potential new global trans-shipment route.

These new signatories reflect a significant intention by consumer and logistics industries, including brands like Ralph Lauren Corporation, which operates more than 500 stores worldwide, and PUMA, which distributes products to more than 120 countries.

These companies join other previous signatories including Nike (co-founder of the pledge with Ocean Conservancy and the first signatory), Asos, Bestseller, Columbia, Gap Inc., H&M Group, Kering, Li & Fung, PVH Corp., and ocean carriers CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd and Mediterranean Shipping Company.

Source: Ocean Conservancy

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