The Aspen Institute, Amazon, Patagonia, and Tchibo Launch the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) to Accelerate Maritime Shipping Decarbonization

March 9, 2023

Through ZEMBA, climate-leading cargo owners create the first competitive process for forward procuring zero-emission maritime freight services.

Contact: Clarke Williams
The Aspen Institute

Miami Beach, Florida, March 9 – Last night, during the Aspen Ideas: Climate event in Miami Beach, Florida, USA, the Aspen Institute was pleased to announce the formation of the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA), alongside co-founders Amazon, Patagonia, and Tchibo. As a non-profit organization and initiative of Cargo Owners for Zero Emissions Vessels (coZEV), the mission of ZEMBA is to enable companies to access zero-emission shipping solutions that are not currently available.

Through ZEMBA, freight buyers will accelerate the commercial deployment of zero-emission shipping, enable economies of scale, and help minimize maritime emissions. By working together, ZEMBA members will offer committed demand to build confidence among investors, carriers, ship owners, and producers of zero-emission fuels and renewable energy.

“The Aspen Institute is inspired by industry leaders like Amazon, Patagonia, and Tchibo who are advancing solutions that will help us achieve full maritime decarbonization,” said Dan Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “Through ZEMBA, we look forward to partnering with additional freight buyers to catalyze the maritime industry’s clean energy future. ”

By providing committed demand for new fuels and technologies needed for the nascent market for clean shipping, ZEMBA’s efforts can also help create new and sustainable worldwide economic models in renewable energy,  zero-emission fuel production, infrastructure, and clean maritime services.

“Removing the climate impact of hard-to-abate sectors, such as maritime shipping, requires continuous collaboration, investment, and innovation – which is why we joined ZEMBA,” said Kara Hurst, Vice President of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon. “Through ZEMBA, we are taking important steps forward together with other cargo owners to unblock challenges, accelerate solutions, and create the demand needed to decarbonize maritime shipping and support a clean energy transition.”

“The climate crisis is an existential threat, and we need all sectors of society working together to save the planet,” said Todd Soller, Head of Global Supply Chain at Patagonia. “Patagonia relies on ocean cargo shipping to transport materials and finished products around the world, and we depend on partners and initiatives like ZEMBA to help scale solutions for businesses to radically reduce their carbon emissions.”

“Tchibo is on a great path to achieve our own emission targets by 2030,” said Werner Weber, CEO of Tchibo GmbH, “but for Scope 3, we need scalable solutions now. Supporting ZEMBA gives us the opportunity to address the emissions from our logistics, which represent approximately 13% of our overall footprint. The entire maritime value chain, including cargo owners like Tchibo, has to demonstrate leadership in creating a decarbonized maritime sector. ZEMBA represents an actionable pathway to join forces with other cargo owners to lower and eventually eliminate our Scope 3 emissions from maritime.”

ZEMBA plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RfP) in 2023 to forward procure maritime shipping services that achieve zero or near-zero emissions on a lifecycle basis, for all greenhouse gases, not limited to carbon dioxide. The delivery of these services will be expected to start in 2025 or 2026. Freight buyers are invited to join ZEMBA as a way to access zero-emission shipping. Shipping lines, in partnership with their fuel suppliers, are encouraged to prepare to participate in the RfP and seize the opportunity to lead, innovate, and shape the future of the maritime shipping industry. As ZEMBA membership grows in the coming years, ZEMBA plans to run similar tenders with larger volumes of demand until zero-emission shipping becomes mainstream in the industry.

“We are proud to work with these three co-Founding Member companies, which already represent diversity in terms of size, sector, and geographic reach,” said Ingrid Irigoyen, President and CEO of ZEMBA and Director of the Aspen Shipping Decarbonization Initiative at the Aspen Institute. “Our goal is to enable any company that is interested in showing leadership to be able to access affordable zero-emission solutions as quickly as possible.”

Through ZEMBA, cargo owners aim to kickstart the clean energy transition in an essential industry that supports 90% of all global trade and services millions of communities worldwide. But ZEMBA cannot solve this challenge alone–complementary action from global, regional, and domestic policymakers is needed to support the smooth scaling and economic viability of these zero-emission solutions so that they become the new normal.

“Decisively shifting to zero emission maritime alternatives makes good business sense in a changing world where the business-as-usual approach no longer aligns with the values of many consumers around the world,” said Irigoyen. “ZEMBA’s co-founders realize that we have an opportunity now to ensure that this clean energy transition in shipping works for businesses that depend on reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible maritime transport into the future.”

In addition to facilitating ZEMBA, the Aspen Institute organizes the coZEV 2040 Ambition Statement, where 19 global brands to date have announced their ambition to exclusively use zero-emission shipping for their ocean freight by 2040. coZEV released the Roadmap to 2040 at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, which includes action on policy, green corridors, and the launch and continued growth of ZEMBA.  Subsequent announcements will be made by ZEMBA in the coming months.


About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and Washington, D.C. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, Earth’s Best Employer, and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Career Choice, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Just Walk Out technology, Amazon Studios, and The Climate Pledge are some of the things pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit and follow @AmazonNews.

About Patagonia

We’re in business to save our home planet. Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, California. As a certified B Corporation and a founding member of 1% for the Planet, the company is recognized internationally for its product quality and environmental activism, as well as its contributions of nearly $200 million to environmental organizations. Its unique ownership structure reflects that Earth is its only shareholder: Profits not reinvested back into the business are paid as dividends to protect the planet.

About Tchibo

Tchibo stands for a unique business model. In eight countries, Tchibo operates about 900 Tchibo shops, approx. 24,200 Depots at third-party retail outlets, and national online shops. The company uses this multi-channel distribution system to offer coffee and the Cafissimo single-serve system, along with weekly changing non food ranges. Tchibo and its 11,230 employees worldwide generated revenues of 3.26 billion EUR in 2021. The company is the roasted coffee market leader in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Hungary and one of the leading e-commerce companies in Europe. Its sustainable business policies have earned the family business, which was founded in Hamburg in 1949, multiple awards including the award for Corporate Ethics and the Environmental Logistics Award in 2012, and the Federal Government’s CSR Award in 2013. In 2016 Tchibo was awarded Germany’s most sustainable major enterprise.


The Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA), a non-profit organization [(501(c)(3) application pending)] is a first-of-its-kind buyers group within the maritime sector, the aim of which is to accelerate commercial deployment of zero-emission shipping, enable economies of scale, and help cargo owners maximize emissions reduction potential beyond what any one freight buyer could accomplish alone. ZEMBA is an initiative of Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels and facilitated by the Aspen Institute’s  Energy and Environment Program. More information is available at


View Comments