A ship on the ocean
Ninety percent of the world’s exports travel by water, so Cargill partners with RightShip to reduce pollutants and make shipping more environmentally friendly.

Cutting pollution & preserving the planet

To help the shipping community reduce pollutants released during transport, Cargill partners with RightShip and sets a new environmental standard


Businesses rely on thousands of ocean-going vessels to ship their goods safely and efficiently. In fact, 90% of the world’s exports travel by water. And while tightly packed ships emit fewer pollutants than other transportation methods like trucks and planes, carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx) are still released, threatening the environment.


Cargill is one of the biggest players in shipping, transporting over 220 million metric tons per year and making about 12,000 port calls annually at 900 ports around the world. In 2006, the company was spending significant time and resources manually screening ships in an effort to identify those that met its strict safety and compliance standards. Determined to make a change, Cargill invested in RightShip, an Australian company looking to expand environmentally safe shipping practices around the world. Working alongside non-profit Carbon War Room, the partners began developing an index to rank ships. Dubbed the EVDI (Existing Vessel Design Index), it assigned each ship a letter from ‘A’ to ‘G,’ with ‘A’ ships having the least environmental impact and ‘G’ ships having the greatest.

Cargill made waves in the shipping community again in 2012, when it announced it would not use vessels with ‘F’ and ‘G’ ratings. It was a landmark moment, as Cargill became the first in the industry to refuse to use ships that cause the most pollution. The commitment had widespread positive effects: it protected employees who worked on Cargill’s vessels, helped customers achieve their sustainability goals and, above all, helped preserve the planet.

Cargill has co-funded experiments with SkySails, a German-designed giant kite that acts like a flying sail and is projected to save modern cargo ships a lot of fuel. The project has encountered obstacles that demonstrate the challenge of making wind-powered vessels a reality, but it underscores Cargill’s commitment to investing in innovative shipping solutions that aim to transform the industry. By continuing to promote environmentally safe shipping practices and working with various groups to reduce pollution, Cargill’s customers are able to meet their own goals to decrease contaminants and conserve the planet for future generations.