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The CirclesOfLife project dedicated to the decarbonization of the European shipbuilding industry

May 28, 2024

Green Marine Europe was present at Navalia, the International Shipbuilding Exhibition, held in Vigo from 21 to 23 May. Our Outreach Officer Romain BENOIT presented Green Marine Europe and the CirclesOfLife project at a networking event organized by the Dutch Pavilion on 22 May.

What is CirclesOfLife?

In 2024, Green Marine Europe joined the CirclesOfLife consortium launched and led by Damen Group, a world-leading Dutch shipyards enterprise. This project aims to develop, test and validate a general methodology for all European shipyards to fully assess their environmental performance in relation to all their applicable operations in the construction, maintenance, repair, retrofit and recycling of vessels. Green Marine Europe is providing its expertise to help create the Shipyard Environmental Performance Indicator (SEPI) and ensure awareness and communication around it and the challenges of decarbonizing shipyards. Green Marine Europe will host the consortium’s general assembly in Bordeaux in June 2024.


CoL means Enhancing Material Circularity and Lower Emission of Ship Building Process in all Phases of the Life Cycle. It’s quite an ambitious program and the cooperation between different stakeholders of the maritime industry such as suppliers, shipyards, associations and classification societies is the key to succeed.

In what regulatory context is this project evolving? 

The reduction of shipping emissions is governed by several international regulations, like the International Maritime Organization Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI, mandatory for new ships), the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP, all ships) or IMO Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII).  The emissions of life cycle phases other than operation, in particular production, maintenance, repair and end-of-life, are becoming more prominent.

At the same time, the new rules on corporate sustainability reporting (CSRD) come into force, obliging a wider set of European shipyards to monitor and report on the impacts of their activities on people and the environment, starting in 2025.

In response, shipyards need to build up the capacity to assess the environmental footprint of yard activities and ships’ non-operation related properties to inform their potential customers and financing institutions in a transparent, understandable, comprehensive, and trustworthy way.

Thereby, the challenge comprises multiple levels. Shipyard suppliers would need to provide the relevant data on the environmental performance of their components and materials, while shipyards need to monitor and measure their activities in the production process.

What are the two main objectives of CirclesOfLife? 

Create Ship Environmental Performance Index (SEPI). The SEPI will empower new building, repair and end-of-life yards to monitor, assess, benchmark and improve their environmental footprint and thereby contribute to environmentally friendly ships made in Europe.

Organize a Cradle-to-Cradle Material Passport. C2C Ship Passport is to cover more than just a report of used materials and in how far they are sourced in a circular manner. The goal of the passport is to cover the environmental performance of the ship throughout its lifecycle wherein the concept of circularity brings a significant potential reduction of environmental and societal costs.

What is the specific role of Green Marine Europe? 

Green Marine Europe, together with Netherlands Maritime Technology, are mainly working on dissemination, communication, training, and exploitation of the results. Our mission is focused on maximizing the impact of the CirclesOfLife project, acquiring stakeholders’ support, and paving the way to European-wide uptake of the project results.

One of our objectives is to create awareness and gain interest from a Stakeholder Community composed of European shipyards and suppliers, to achieve an industry-wide acceptance by involving a wider stakeholders community into the development and validation process, and in addition to that, exploit its full potential of results.