Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel company and Europe’s n.1 cruise line, has announced the results from the fourth edition of its Sustainability Report (fiscal year December 2007/November 2008), drafted in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines.
“In 2008, which marked Costa Cruises’ 60th anniversary, we recorded substantial growth accompanied by increased commitment to social and environmental responsibility,” commented Costa Crociere S.p.A. Group Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, “despite the impact of rising oil prices and the onset of the financial crisis and economic downturn. In this context we have invested in resources and process optimization in order to maintain the high level of sustainability of our business.”
Setting itself more ambitious objectives by means of a system of internal procedures that go beyond the scope of mandatory requirements laid down by local, national and international regulations, Costa Cruises achieved the following results in the area of ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION in the period dealt with by the Report:
- a 5% reduction in fuel consumption per mile traveled (at about 339 kg compared to about 356 kg in 2007), with an equivalent reduction in the amount of CO2 produced. This reduction was attained thanks to the implementation of various energy-saving measures on board, including the use of ecological silicone-based coatings for the ship’s hull. These antifouling coatings enhance hydrodynamic performance and reduce the growth of microorganisms on the hull surface without any toxic effects. Also, there are information campaigns conducted on board to raise the awareness of crewmembers and Guests alike about how to avoid wasting electricity;
- a 5% reduction in consumption of potable water per person on board the ships (mainly produced from seawater using desalination plants), down from 240 liters in 2007 to 228 liters in 2008;
- an increase in the proportion of special waste recycled, up from 26% in 2007 to 30% in 2008, amounting to 273,458 kg. The special waste (e.g. cooking oil, used batteries, neon lamps, photo developing fluid, etc.) generated on board Costa’s ships is handled using procedures and technologies allowing adequate collection, storage and subsequent disposal ashore. Overboard discharge of special waste is not permitted by Costa Cruises under any circumstances. In 2008 some 30% of this type of waste from Costa ships, including 163,133 kg of cooking oil, was recycled to produce energy or new material;
- an 8.5% reduction in the quantity of garbage (type of urban solid waste: paper, plastic, glass, metal) produced per day per person, down from 8.2 liters in 2007 to 7.56 liters last year. This included 1,675 m³ of glass and 451 m³ of aluminum sent for recycling. In this connection, the garbage recycling program was extended to the ports of Civitavecchia (Italy), Tianjin (China) and St. Lucia (Caribbean).
- Costa Cruises’ commitment to the defense of the marine environment is reflected by the extension of its partnership with WWF, which involves active support for a project to set up a network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean. Within the framework of this venture, Costa Cruises and WWF are working together on a global strategy for the Mediterranean (the so-called “Mediterranean Initiative”) – ahead of “2010 UN International Year of Biodiversity” and “2012 UN International Year of Marine Biodiversity” – whereby Italy undertakes to establish an integrated network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean. The alliance between Costa Cruises and WWF involves 4 Marine Protected Areas, with the dual aims of making existing areas (Miramare in Italia and Cabrera in Spain) more efficient and effective while promoting the establishment of new ones (Cap d'Agde in France and La Galite in Tunisia). The Marine Protected Areas are vital to the conservation of biodiversity in the Mediterranean and the protection of various species in danger of extinction. Testimony to Costa Cruises’ engagement in this area is its policy banning overboard discharge of bilge water (even when suitably treated) within the “Whale Sanctuary”, an area of the Ligurian Sea covering approximately 100,000 km² with a particularly high concentration of Mediterranean marine mammals.
- Costa Cruises’ environmental commitment goes beyond its fleet. April 17, 2008 marked the official commencement of the innovative “Palazzo Costa” project, an architectural plan to extend and redevelop the Company’s headquarters in Genoa which will be ready at the beginning of 2010. The new offices will be a perfect blend of creativity, innovation and respect for the environment, with certain features that will be at the cutting edge of Italian architecture. For example it will be one of the country’s first buildings with “zero CO2 emissions on site”.
The Report also describes the many initiatives undertaken in the field of SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY:
- extension of training programs and associated initiatives in order to enhance the professional growth of the employees;
- implementation of numerous activities in order to improve safety on board (by means of new fire, injury and accident prevention systems and procedures) and ashore (by means of new procedures for the management and control of operations and servicing of equipment at the Savona Palacrociere cruise terminal and occupational health & safety measures at the Genoa warehouses);
- implementation of important cultural and social initiatives either by Costa Cruises directly or through important partnerships.
The 2008 edition of the Sustainability Report has been produced in cooperation with the “less CO2” project: the amount of CO2 produced in printing the Report will be offset by investing in an innovative industrial technique designed to reduce methane emissions in Italian landfills and by providing local communities in Kenya with low energy stoves.
The Sustainability Report, which is consultable online at www.costacruise.com, is a purely voluntary form of reporting designed to provide comprehensive and transparent information on the effects of corporate activity on the environment and the community; in addition to its social, environmental and economic performance, the Report also conveys the basic operating principles of the Company, currently the only cruise line in Italy that has its own environmental management system developed in accordance with the latest international standards (UNI EN ISO 14001, issued in 2004) and is also certified for social accountability (SA 8000, issued in 2001).
Costa Cruises’ commitment to safeguarding the environment and sustainable tourism is also reflected in the assignment of RINA’s (the Italian Shipping Register’s) Green Star – in 2005 Costa became the first company in the world to achieve this important form of recognition of voluntary compliance certifying that all its vessels comply with environmental standards for the prevention of pollution of the marine environment – as well as in the partnership with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission for monitoring climate change in the Mediterranean. Costa Cruises’ 2010 brochure includes around 240 eco-tourism excursions, comprising visits to parks, oases and nature reserves, with programs that minimize the impact on the ecosystem and create economic opportunities for the local communities.
The Sustainability Report has its roots in the application of the “B.E.S.T. 4” (Business Excellence Sustainable Task), an integrated management system that encompasses four types of voluntary certification of corporate compliance with the highest standards in the areas of quality (UNI EN ISO 9001, issued in 2008), environment (UNI EN ISO 14001, 2004), safety (OHSAS 18001, 2007) and social accountability (SA 8000, 2001), guaranteeing the measurement of company performance and continuous improvement. Costa obtained the B.E.S.T. 4 from RINA in 2004, thus becoming the first company in the world to do so.