Moller Maersk (Maersk)

InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
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Copenhagen, Denmark
Brands and Associated Companies:
Maersk Line, Damco, Seago Line, Safmarine
Official Web Site:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Moller Maersk (Maersk) appears to have increasingly positive engagement with climate change regulation regarding shipping at a global level, with mixed engagement with EU-level climate policy in 2020-22. Maersk appears supportive of Paris-aligned climate action in its top-line messaging, and has generally advocated for an ambitious global climate strategy for shipping at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2019-21. However, it appears to oppose some stringent regional climate measures to regulate shipping, such as the full inclusion of international shipping in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Maersk has mostly positive top-line communications on climate change in 2019-21. In communications from 2021, Maersk stated support for a 1.5°C temperature goal, and its CEO, Søren Skou signed a joint letter calling for net zero global GHG emissions by 2050. In 2020, Maersk also advocated for more ambitious shipping climate regulation at a global level through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in media comments. In April 2021, Maersk further appeared supportive of US calls for net-zero shipping emissions 2050 target at the IMO, with a Maersk spokesperson later stating at a webinar in May 2021 that the IMO’s ambition of 50% GHG reductions by 2050 “should be strengthened to aim for net-zero emissions in 2050”, with a net-zero 2050 target further supported in a Time magazine op-ed from a senior Maersk executive in January 2022. However, while Maersk disclosed support for more ambitious global climate regulation for shipping in its 2020 Sustainability Report, a 2020 EU consultation response emphasizes concerns around EU climate regulations for shipping, prioritizing global climate regulation. In addition, in a February 2021 consultation it appeared to support carbon pricing over other forms of climate regulation in the EU.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Maersk appears to have mixed engagement with specific climate-related regulations. In the EU, a November 2020 consultation response from Maersk appeared to take an unclear position on including intra-EEA shipping journeys in the EU ETS while advocating for free emissions allowances based on historical performance and urging the EU “to not consider any measure going beyond intra-EEA scope”. Additionally, a CNN report from 2020 suggests Maersk was unsupportive of including shipping in the EU ETS. In 2021 Maersk’s head of regulatory affairs stated support for the initial inclusion of intra-EEA shipping journeys in the EU ETS in 2023-2025 until the introduction of a global shipping carbon levy, later in May 2021 appearing to suggest that the EU ETS could be expanded to all EEA shipping journeys by 2025 “should the IMO not have delivered”. Maersk appeared in a February 2021 consultation to again call for only intra-EEA shipping journeys to be included in the EU ETS. In a July 2021 LinkedIn post, following the release of the Fit for 55 package, Maersk CEO Søren Skou stated that the scope of the EU ETS should only be expanded in 2025 "if the IMO has not delivered".

In a 2021 EU consultation response, Maersk further stated support for a higher overall 2030 renewable energy target, and a 14% 2030 EU renewable energy in transport target. In April 2021, Maersk, as part of the Transform to Net Zero initiative, also stated support for a 50% US GHG emissions reduction target for 2030.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Regarding the energy transition, Maersk in 2019-21 has consistently promoted the use of green ammonia and renewable e-methanol over LNG for shipping. In April 2021, Maersk’s CEO, Søren Skou, commented to the Wall Street Journal that “we don’t believe that LNG will play a big role as a transition fuel because it’s still a fossil fuel”, with another Maersk spokesperson in May 2021 arguing that “it is borderline greenwashing to call LNG a transition fuel towards the decarbonisation of shipping”. Similarly, other 2021 media reports suggest Maersk supports lower-carbon shipping fuels like green ammonia and green methanol over LNG. Maersk has consistently previously expressed support for a global fuel tax on shipping in 2021-22. In June 2021 Maersk announced support for a global carbon tax on shipping fuel starting at $50 in 2025 and ramping up to $150 in subsequent years. In June 2021, Maersk CEO, Søren Skou also signed a joint letter advocating to "eliminate fossil fuel subsidies" globally. In a LinkedIn post on November 2021, Maersk CEO Søren Skou called for the IMO to adopt “a drop-dead date to mark a future deadline for the building of fossil fueled ships”, with a phase out date for newly produced fossil-powered ships "sometime in the coming decade" further advocated by a senior Maersk executive in a January 2022 Time magazine op-ed.

Industry Association Governance: Maersk discloses its membership of a limited number of industry associations in its 2020 sustainability report without providing further details on the companies role within the associations’ governing bodies or influence over their climate positions. However, Maersk discloses this information in more, but not full, detail to CDP. Maersk has not published a review of its alignment with its industry associations. Maersk appears to have improved its indirect engagement with climate policy since selling its subsidiary Maersk Oil to Total SA in 2018. It subsequently appears to no longer participate in trade associations including the International Organization of Gas and Petroleum (IOGP) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) which have strongly negative engagement on climate change regulation. However, the company is on the board of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) which - seemingly in contradiction to many of Maersk’s positions - has actively lobbied against Paris-aligned global climate change regulation for the shipping sector.

Strength of Relationship

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.