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Maritime Challenges in meeting U.N. SDG #12: “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”

There’s no doubt that over the past 100 years, our world has seen a general increase in maritime activity due to overall economic and social growth.

This is not surprising as our world has shifted to support offshore rigs and offshore wind farms related to energy production, combined with shifts in the shipping industry as the global economy expands in new directions both for developed and newly developing nations. And this increased vessel activity has inherently been accompanied by increased fuel consumption.

The United Nations addresses this increase with Sustainability Development Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

“COVID-19 offers an opportunity to develop recovery plans that will reverse current trends and shift our consumption and production patterns to a more sustainable course. A successful transition will mean improvements in resource efficiency, consideration of the entire life cycle of economic activities, and active engagement in multilateral environmental agreements.”


The Future is Now

We can no longer afford to say we will address these increases ‘in the future.’ The future is now – and now is the time to address these consumption increases and make the necessary changes to improve production patterns. This is how we ensure we can continue our society’s growth and prosperity well beyond the next 100 years.

The U.N. goes on to describe Sustainable Consumption and Production (known as SCP) as “doing more and better with less.”


How Do We Do More with Less Fuel?

The maritime industry can work towards U.N. SDG #12 to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns by making improvements in 3 key areas:

  1. Increase the accuracy of fuel activity reports (consumption & deliveries).
  2. Enhance focus on vessels' highest-consuming activities to build new methods and target consumption reduction during those activity periods.
  3. Create proactive response plans to prevent fuel waste – stopping wasteful activity before it happens or as-it-happens, instead of only analyzing when it is too late.

For vessels of all sizes, fuel consumption can account for 50-60% of overall operating costs. Yet many vessel owners still lack a true digital standard fleet-wide for measuring and reporting fuel activity onboard. And though standards from IMO and other regulatory bodies are tightening when it comes to digital fuel consumption requirements, there is still room for error and manipulation with the most-common reporting methods.

Increasing Accuracy of Fuel Reporting

The first step for any company to make these three improvements is to understand the current consumption metrics through more accurate fuel activity reports. But this process alone can be challenging, daunting, or time-consuming, and represents a large expense in terms of employee resources. Even as tank sounding and other onboard reporting processes are digitized, there still lies a gap within the primary methods needed to prove direct fuel consumption metrics, thereby the direct fuel reduction and CO2 reduction methods.

At FUELTRAX, we help vessel owners & their stakeholders overcome these challenges by directly measuring and monitoring the most essential metric of fleet operations – fuel. With FUELTRAX onboard, new details and insights about fuel consumption are available immediately through FUELNET – the secure online logistics portal. FUELNET provides live updates of vessel location and vessel activities and reporting history, completely independent from AIS.

Proving Fuel and CO2 Reduction Efforts

Those who pay for fuel on board marine vessels, as well as the vessels that consume the fuel, share an equal duty in ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns for the maritime industry. Company stakeholders and investors are now expecting proof to correspond with the industry’s savings and reduction claims.

Increasingly, data is now expected as a deliverable from vessels to prove operations are being performed according to requirements and reduction KPIs are being met. Learn more about how FUELTRAX can help you reach your sustainability development goals and provide you with the proof you need by contacting us.


  1. "Responsible Consumption and Production: Why it Matters." United Nations, 2020.
  2. "Sustainable consumption and production policies." United Nations, 2020.
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