To help achieve their ambitious net zero by 2050 goal, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines selected Carbon Direct to develop a multi-decadal carbon removal strategy.
What does it take for a global shipping company to reach net zero by 2050? Massive emissions reductions and carbon removal—at the megatonne scale.
As one of the largest shipping companies in the world, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL Group) welcomed the challenge when they developed their first-of-a-kind Environmental Vision. They committed to not only reduce more than 90% of their emissions by 2050, but also compensate for all residual emissions with high-quality carbon dioxide removal.
“When we set this goal, there were no actors in the harder-to-abate sectors doing anything like this,” says Kazura Koda, General Manager of the Carbon Desk at MOL Group. “We realized that we need to start investing in and developing high-quality carbon removal now to be prepared for the future.”
Kazura and the broader Carbon Desk team wanted to map out a step-by-step approach that would not only address their own emissions, but also help to model decarbonization pathways for other harder-to-abate sectors, which would require the help of science, market, and policy experts. MOL Group trusted that Carbon Direct advisors could develop a multi-decadal carbon removal strategy based on Carbon Direct’s work with market leaders like Microsoft, as well as participation in the World Economic Forum’s First Movers Coalition.
“We wanted to work with Carbon Direct because they work with ambitious companies leading the industry in carbon removal,” says Kazura. “And MOL Group is one of those ambitious companies, too.”
Planning for the future of carbon dioxide removal
Developing an achievable plan for carbon removal development and procurement began with evaluating MOL Group’s emissions reduction curve against science-based targets. Modeling different emissions reduction pathways across sustainable fuels like ammonia and hydrogen enabled MOL Group to more accurately plan for their carbon removal needs by 2050 while also setting interim targets.
Source: MOL Group, Environmental Vision 2.2
Even with more than 90% emissions reduction, millions of tonnes of residual emissions will remain. “The emissions for harder-to-abate sectors are huge,” says Kazura. “Emissions reduction is simply not enough. With a limited remaining carbon budget, we need to do everything we can to address the emissions from heavy industry and heavy transport, and that includes carbon removal.”
Source: Adapted from Energy Transitions Commission, “Mission Possible: Reaching Net-Zero Carbon Emissions from Harder-to-Abate Sectors by Mid-Century”
But with persistent challenges around carbon credit quality and availability, the voluntary carbon market cannot currently support that level of demand without additional investment. “It’s not really an option to wait until 2050 to buy the carbon removal we will need,” says Kazura. “We need to start building the market now and we knew we could do that with Carbon Direct.”
The Carbon Direct team worked with Kazura to develop a comprehensive carbon removal strategy that spans near- and long-term mitigation targets. Based on MOL Group’s impact goals—which include conserving biodiversity and marine ecosystems, supporting sustainable livelihoods, and driving innovation in higher-durability carbon dioxide removal—Carbon Direct recommended a diversified carbon removal portfolio across nature-based, hybrid, and engineered credits. Nature-based credits allow MOL Group to begin to ramp up their carbon dioxide removal purchasing today as they evaluate forward procurement and project development options for hybrid and engineered credits in the year ahead.
“With Carbon Direct’s science-based recommendations, we’re now equipped with the knowledge to develop and deliver the negative emissions we need to reach net zero by 2050,” says Kazura. “And as a harder-to-abate company, we hope that we can have a positive influence across other industrial sectors as well.”