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The Royal Caribbean Group released its 13th annual sustainability report, which summarizes the company’s efforts in 2020 towards becoming more eco-friendly and viable in the long term. According to the report, the company has met or exceeded almost all of its 2020 sustainability targets.

“We believe that what gets measured gets better. Sustainability is a core area for our business, and this report reflects our successes and challenges over the past year,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. “While I’m proud of the progress we have achieved, the importance of this area has grown exponentially. Consistent with our mantra of continuous improvement, we have significantly expanded our aspirations in this critical area and are setting even more aggressive goals for the coming years.”

The report conveys Royal Caribbean Group’s strategic approach to sustainability, touching on four main sections, from emissions reduction to supporting employees and crew in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also includes additional disclosures in line with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) reporting metrics and the latest Materiality Assessment.

“We are living in an era of profound and interconnected changes, which call for bold and positive action. Our ESG work and goals are focused on ensuring we play a leadership role in contributing to a healthy and thriving workplace, society and environment,” said Silvia M. Garrigo, Chief Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Officer, Royal Caribbean Group.

One of the more ambitious targets was set in 2016, in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The company set out to reduce its environmental footprint, increase sustainable tourism, respect for coastal communities and cultural heritage, and support WWF’s global ocean conservation work. The set sustainability targets were specific and measurable. As of 2020, the company met or exceeded all of its goals, with the exception of the sustainable seafood sourcing target, due to the impact by global suspension of service from the pandemic.

Key points from the Report

  • Emissions reduction: Royal Caribbean Group achieved its carbon reduction target of 35% and has committed to further reduce emissions 25% by 2025.
    • Royal Caribbean Group’s wind farm project in Kansas, developed in partnership with Southern Power, began operations and generated approximately 242,000 tons of CO2 offsets. It is expected that the wind farm will offset up to 12% of the company’s global emissions each year.
    • Celebrity Apex joined the fleet with shore power connectivity and with an energy efficiency standard (EEDI) 39% more efficient than the current International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirement.
    • Our next class of ships, Icon-Class, expected to launch in 2023, will use cleaner-burning liquefied natural gas and fuel cell technology, which reduces ship emissions.
  • Sustainable sourcing: The company has a commitment to source 90% of wild-caught seafood and 75% of farmed seafood, served on Royal Caribbean Group ships from certified sustainable sources, a first for the cruise industry.
    • While the global suspension of service delayed this goal, as cruise operations resume, Royal Caribbean Group remains committed to tracing back to its origin the sustainable seafood served across the company’s fleet.
    • Additionally, the company is constantly working to identify sustainable products, from cage-free eggs to humanely raised pork.
  • Circular economy: The company is working to achieve zero waste across the Royal Caribbean Group fleet.
    • Today, 100% of the company’s fleet is equipped to be landfill-free. Only 0.50 pounds of waste are sent to landfill per passenger each day — 80% less than the U.S. average on shore.
    • Whenever possible, the waste on Royal Caribbean Group ships is reused, recycled or converted to energy.
    • The company has removed 60% of single-use plastics from its supply chain.
  • Water and wastewater: Royal Caribbean Group ships work to ensure fresh water on their ships is used sparingly and efficiently.
    • 90% of fresh water is produced on board its ships in order to not deplete local resources.
    • On average, only 66 gallons of water per person per day are used, compared with the U.S. average of 100 gallons per person.
    • Each ship is equipped with a water treatment plant. Advanced wastewater purification systems are designed to be twice as stringent as U.S. federal standards, with a company policy of no untreated waste released into the ocean.

Read Royal Caribbean Group’s entire 2020 sustainability report and learn more about the company’s efforts here.