The poll was conducted by Yale University, George Mason University and Climate Nexus, for US-based environmental organization Pacific Environment, and comes as the IMO's MEPC is still underway discussing shipping emissions.

People care about the harm ships do to our communities, oceans, and climate, and will bring their business to the retailers that are doing something about it. This poll, which we believe is the first of its kind, shows that consumers are eager to put their dollars behind first-mover brands that can deliver zero-emission shipping,

...said Madeline Rose, climate campaign director at Pacific Environment.


Key findings

  • About three-quarters of voters feel more favorably toward a company that imported their products using the cleanest fuel available (75%), was the first to ship their products on a zero-emissions ship (73%), or reduced shipping-related emissions by just a third (72%).
  • More than eight in 10 (84%) agree that the shipping industry should be doing more to reduce the impacts of shipping goods around the world.

These findings show that companies that fail to reduce their shipping emissions could lose customers to competitors making good on climate commitments that include the human health and environmental impacts of shipping,

...said Rose.


The findings come amidst mounting public pressure for companies to take action on climate change. During Climate Week in September this year, the UN announced that commitments from businesses to reach zero-emissions have doubled in less than a year, and research finds that corporate climate goals are becoming more ambitious.

A survey of global experts found that two-thirds of experts across 66 countries say companies must become carbon neutral by 2030 or sooner in order to remain competitive, and a survey of Chief Financial Officers found most report increasing pressure from a broad range of stakeholders to act on climate change.

At almost one billion tons of climate emissions per year, the shipping industry emits roughly the same as all the coal plants in the US combined. The sector could account for 17-18% of all global emissions by 2050 if corrective policies are not put in place.