Climate-leading cargo owners will commit demand for zero-emission shipping services through an open bid process to kick off in early September.

Washington, D.C., July 11, 2023 – Today, ZEMBA announced preparations for a Request for Proposals (RfP) for zero-emission shipping services to be delivered by 2025. ZEMBA, co-founded by the Aspen Institute, Amazon, Patagonia, and Tchibo, was established earlier this year to fast-track commercial deployment of zero-emission shipping, enable economies of scale, and help minimize maritime emissions.

Set for September 2023, the RfP will encourage proposals for zero-emission container shipping services, which ZEMBA defines as those that achieve at least 90% reduction in emissions on a lifecycle basis for greenhouse gases as compared to traditional petroleum products used in ocean shipping. Proposals for zero-emission services should provide scalable solutions as well as address safety and land use concerns, particularly those that relate to biogenic substances. Through this pilot, ZEMBA members will commit a portion of their demand for maritime shipping to zero-emission services. Bidders will vie for that aggregated demand of ZEMBA members, expected to reach 200,000+ TEUs, with delivery in 2025. Carriers are encouraged to develop bids by late October.

ZEMBA encourages shipping lines, fuel producers, ports, logistics service providers and others across the value chain to respond to customer demand for sustainable actions and support the transition to a zero-emission shipping economy as quickly as possible. Starting the transition now will ensure a trajectory in line with the Paris Agreement and ensure companies can meet their ambitions under the Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) 2040 Ambition Statement.

Through this RfP, ZEMBA is kickstarting the transition to zero-emission fuels in an industry that is responsible for 90% of all global trade,” said Ingrid Irigoyen, President and CEO of ZEMBA. “Ahead of the RfP launch, we encourage additional cargo owners to join us and receive early access to zero-emission shipping services, which are not yet available today. This groundbreaking effort to decarbonize a hard-to-abate sector will put the ocean shipping industry — with policymaker support — on a path forward that supports the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement and makes good business sense in a world where consumer values are evolving.”

Companies that purchase ocean freight services are encouraged to join ZEMBA by August 4th to ensure their participation in the first-round bid. Potential bidders should contact ZEMBA leadership to begin preparing for the RfP process. If you are interested in learning more please reach out at or email

ZEMBA is an initiative of the Aspen Institute Shipping Decarbonization Initiative’s Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) which is a platform for cargo owners to work together toward a decarbonized maritime sector. The coZEV 2040 Ambition Statement has united 19 global brands to date around an ambition to exclusively use zero-emission shipping for their ocean freight by 2040. At COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, coZEV released the coZEV Roadmap to 2040 which outlined actions available to cargo owners through coZEV to enable full decarbonization of their ocean freight by 2040. ZEMBA will make subsequent announcements 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

Contact: Clarke Williams
The Aspen Institute