Today Royal Caribbean Group (NYSE: RCL) published its 13th annual sustainability report, providing a comprehensive update on the company’s sustainability efforts. In particular, the 2020 report documents that the company has met or exceeded nearly 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 is organized into four main sections conveying Royal Caribbean Group’s strategic approach to sustainability, from emissions reductions to supporting employees and crew in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s report also includes the latest Materiality Assessment as well as additional disclosures in line with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) reporting metrics.
“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.
In 2016, in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the company set specific, ambitious and measurable 2020 sustainability targets to reduce its environmental footprint, increase sustainable tourism, respect for coastal communities and cultural heritage, and support WWF’s global ocean conservation work. As of this year, Royal Caribbean Group has met or exceeded all of its 2020 goals, with the exception of the sustainable seafood sourcing target, which was impacted by global suspension of service from the pandemic.
The company is working to develop a new set of targets around the reduction of carbon emissions, the sustainable growth and development of our business, sustainable commodity sourcing and tourism, the elimination of single-use plastics, and waste management.
Highlights from the Report
Throughout the pandemic, Royal Caribbean Group continued to address several key issues important to stakeholders, including:
- 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.