Costa has introduced its newly-established “Costa Crociere Foundation”, an independently-run organization, whose goal is to improve the social and environmental conditions in the communities in which Costa Cruises operates by sharing the unique resources Costa Cruises and its partners have access to.

The Costa Crociere Foundation is the natural evolvement of the social and environmental footprint Costa Cruises has carried on over the years: the company’s commitment towards local communities will now have a more synergic and coordinated action.

“We feel a responsibility for the environments in which we work – explained Michael Thamm, CEO Costa Crociere S.p.A. As a strong company we have the duty and the opportunity to support the Seas and the Italian communities. The establishment of a Foundation is the reinforcement of a long lasting path that the company has started years ago. A healthy business environment is indeed in the interest of the company, especially with regards to Italy that is our home, one of our most important markets and the place in which the company has grown”.

The Foundation will have a holistic approach involving its stakeholders such as its employees, business partners, and guests. The company knows and firmly believes that the path towards social and environmental sustainability needs the support of various contributors, both company-internal and external.

The new born Foundation will include long lasting and ongoing initiatives already supported by Costa Cruises and will fund new projects, starting locally in Genoa, where the company has been founded and grown up, by mobilizing and encouraging philanthropic engagement among the company’s partners as well as volunteerism among Costa Cruises employees.

One of the pilot projects will address homeless people in Genoa, a category of the population which is drastically increasing due to the economic downturn in Italy. According to statistics, more than 50,000 people have already dropped below the poverty line and are sleeping on the street. This project will be built on three main pillars. The first is to provide a permanent roof in a safe structure for 10 to 15 people and supply the basic necessities to help them overcome the disadvantages of homelessness, through addressing food security, the opportunity for social interaction and other services such as assistance for the elderly. The  second pillar involves professionals and trained volunteers who will provide psycho-social assistance and customized educational, medical and legal support. The third pillar will work to raise awareness on this issue and give back self-confidence and dignity to people involved in the project enabling them to reintegrate in society.

Moreover, the engagement with the Comunità di Sant’Egidio, an ongoing project for the distribution of meals to disadvantaged people in the city of Genoa, is another example of the activities that the Foundation will address as a first step.

As for the environmental program, the main objective of the Foundation will be the reduction of marine pollution in the Mediterranean Sea, by working in cooperation with local communities and encouraging people and businesses to reuse rather than throw away. Through education and awareness-raising, the Foundation will help consumers and partners understand the impact of plastic waste by adopting the “five-R approach”: Reduce - Reuse - Recycle - Redesign – Recover, to avoid plastic waste in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Costa Crociere Foundation will be independent, but related to Costa Cruises, which will support it as the founder. The Foundation will be governed by a Board of eight Directors, and supported by a few staff members, who will together with the Advisory Board select projects addressing the two main programs. Fundraising activities will focus on in-kind donations from major business partners, the organization of events for guests & the public, as well as sales of branded products on board.

“The Foundation will mainly sponsor charitable projects conducted by non-profit organizations – explained Thatcher Brown, Chairman of Costa Crociere Foundation – It will also initiate relevant projects and look for opportunities to use the synergies between the business operations of Costa Cruises and the activities of the Foundation. In this way, we will be able to exploit the different resources that the company is using, such as the purchasing power to buy goods for the beneficiaries of the programs at a lower price; the good relations with the media to spread the message about social and environmental problems to the public; the contact with many guests to involve them in fundraising activities”.