Cutting GHGs by 25% Among Carnival’s New 2020 Sustainability Goals

After meeting its initial goal a year ahead of schedule, Carnival Corporation has renewed its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from its 2005 baseline by 2020, according to a recent announcement of the travel and leisure company’s 2020 sustainability goals.

As part of the effort, the company and its 10 global brands have developed strategic energy reduction and conservation initiatives, many of which exceed current laws and regulations.

One such initiative is the company's recent announcement that its four next-generation cruise ships for Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises will be the first in the industry to be powered at sea by liquefied natural gas (LNG), one of the world's cleanest burning fossil fuels. These new ships will use LNG to generate 100 percent of the ship's power both in port and on the open sea, which will significantly reduce exhaust emissions, the company says.

Additionally, when AIDAprima launches in 2016, it will be the first cruise ship in the world that has a dual-fuel engine for an energy supply with LNG while in port, along with a connection to shoreside power and an extensive filter system for the treatment of exhaust.

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Carnival has made a $400 million investment to develop, deploy and operate exhaust gas cleaning systems that reduce sulfur compounds and particular matter from the ships' engine exhaust. In September 2013, the company launched an effort to adapt a land-based exhaust gas cleaning technology to use on its ships. The system combines two established technologies that have been successfully used in land-based applications such as power plants and factories to clean, or "scrub", engine exhaust. This system now is being developed to accommodate restricted spaces on existing ships.

Waste can be a big problem on cruise ships, which is why Carnival says it will continue to reduce waste generated by its shipboard operations by 5 percent by 2020 relative to its 2010 baseline, as measured by kilograms of non-recycled waste per person per day.

Every Carnival ship has a waste management plan that specifies how it manages each type of waste onboard. This includes incorporating various strategies to reduce the generation of waste. The company also works with its supply chain partners to reduce packaging and with its ports of call to support recycling practices.

The company also has made water conservation a priority, establishing the goal of improving water use efficiency on its ships by 5 percent by 2020 relative to its 2010 baseline, as measured by liters per person per day.

Both of these waste and water goals aren’t the most ambitious — it would be great to see the company set the bar a little higher. If the company is meeting environmental goals "ahead of schedule", this suggests they may be too easy to achieve.

On the social impact front, Carnival says it will continue to develop and implement vendor assurance procedures ensuring compliance with the company's Business Partner Code of Conduct and Ethics. This includes the areas of labor and human rights, environmental protection, business integrity and health, safety and security. It also is working on initiatives and partnerships that support and sponsor a broad range of organizations for the benefit of local and global communities.

In June 2015, Carnival launched its 10th brand, Fathom, creating a new travel category called “social impact travel.” Fathom combines “the love of travel with a desire to make a difference,” according to Carnival, which seeks to develop lasting social impact partnerships that “allow for meaningful enrichment of the traveler, while providing systematic, long-term educational, environmental and economic development benefits in its partner countries.”

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