An Expert Workshop on the life cycle GHG intensity of marine fuels (GHG-EW 4) was organized by IMO on 14 and 15 December 2023 to support the further development of the IMO Life cycle GHG intensity assessment (LCA) framework.

The workshop focused in particular on sustainability, certification and third-party verification matters, in relation to marine fuels.

In adopting the IMO LCA Guidelines, MEPC 80 in July 2023 requested the Secretariat to undertake a review of existing practices on sustainability aspects/certification and third-party verification issues and to organize an expert workshop on the life cycle GHG intensity of marine fuels, using the output of the review as a basis for discussion.

Experts’ presentations and discussions were structured in three blocks:

  • existing practices on sustainability aspects, certification and third-party verification;
  • sustainability aspects in the IMO LCA framework, including possible approaches to operationalize a risk-based approach for Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC); and
  • possible approaches to the certification and third-party verification of marine fuels in the IMO LCA framework.

The workshop provided opportunities to exchange up-to-date information on relevant LCA methodologies and experts’ views on how to operationalize the LCA framework.

The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy states that “the development of the basket of candidate mid-term GHG reduction measures should take into account the well-to-wake GHG emissions of marine fuels as addressed in the LCA guidelines developed by the Organization with the overall objective of reducing GHG emissions within the boundaries of the energy system of international shipping and preventing a shift of emissions to other sectors”.

The workshop gathered over 350 registered participants. Discussions among experts, along with documents submitted, helped to improve the general understanding of sustainability aspects and certification in the LCA approach. All presentation slides are available on the IMODOCS portal under Meeting documents / MEPC / GHG-EW 4.

These inputs will help delegations in preparing for the consideration on the further development of the IMO LCA framework during ISWG-GHG 16 (11-15 March 2024) and MEPC 81 (18-22 March 2024).

The workshop was moderated by the Chair of the Working Group on Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), Mr. Kohei Iwaki (Japan).

Chain of Custody models

Reflections on the role of "Chain of Custody models" and their potential application for sustainability and lifecycle emissions of marine fuel in accelerating shipping's decarbonization were shared with the expert group.

This followed a roundtable workshop hosted by the Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (Low Carbon GIA) (13 December). In the context of the roundtable discussions, the term "Chain of Custody models" refers to the various traceability systems where different levels of physical connection can exist between the low emission fuel and the end user. Read more here.