Speaking during “Corporate Social Responsibility Day” at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show, Costa Crociere Chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi said that the European cruise industry is at the forefront in terms of environmental sustainability and protection.
“Environmental commitment is not only a moral priority for European cruise companies, but also a substantial asset that cruise guests acknowledge and appreciate, making it very much also a key strategic factor. I believe that, by going beyond the scope of the increasingly stringent requirements, the Costa Crociere Group is doing the utmost to be a model of environmental compliance excellence.” Foschi was taking part in the panel discussion “Booming Cruise Industry – growth at the expense of the environment?” held at the ITB Berlin Convention.
The discussion – at which Costa Crociere was the only cruise segment representative – opened with introductory presentations by ocean explorer and environmental activist Fabien Cousteau, and Anders Levermann, Professor of Dynamics of the Climate System and Head of the PIK (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) Flagship activity Tumble. In addition to Foschi, the other speakers on the panel moderated by Berliner Zeitung Editor Gerold Buchner were Carlos Fuller, deputy director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, and Rudiger Pallentin, managing director of the Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven shipyard.
In his presentation, the Costa Chairman and CEO described how, within the framework of the European Cruise Council, the different cruise companies are working actively to set shared environmental compliance standards, cooperate with maritime authorities, promote and support port facilities for disposal and recycling of shipboard waste, and promote measures aimed at energy saving and the reduction of CO2 emissions.
As regards Costa Crociere, Foschi said that the group is the industry leader in Europe not only in terms of the number of guests carried but also on account of its commitment to safeguarding the environment. The latest addition to the Costas fleet, Costa Deliziosa, inaugurated in Dubai on Feb. 23, and her sister ship, the Luminosa, are the first ships in Italy to be equipped for cold ironing, enabling generators to be shut down during stopovers in port.
Like the other 14 ships of the Costa fleet, the Costa Deliziosa is among the most advanced ships in the world in terms of environmental design, management, compliance and energy saving, according to the cruise line. Across the Costa fleet there is a policy of 100 percent separation of shipboard solid waste and no special waste is ever discharged overboard. Waste recycling is a top priority: approximately 1,675 cubic meters of glass and 451 cubic meters of aluminum from Costa’s ships were sent for recycling in 2008. Also, most of the water used on the ships in the Costa Cruises fleet is produced directly on board using desalination plants.
Just as important are the energy and fuel saving measures introduced onboard, with a consequent decrease in pollutant emissions. In 2008 Costa obtained a 5 percent in fuel consumption per mile sailed (down from 356 kg in 2007 to 339 kg in 2008). Measures include the use of silicone-based coatings for the hulls, thus enhancing hydrodynamic performance and reducing the growth of microorganisms on the surface without any toxic effects; use of low power consumption LED light bulbs; and economizers enabling the recycling of hot water produced by the engines for heating in the cabins and public areas. Also, the design of the Costa Deliziosa features various additional CO2 emission-reducing measures such as: key-card holders, so that lights and other electrical devices can only be turned on when the cabin is occupied; water flow reducers on all the faucets and showers, thus reducing shipboard water consumption; and an automatic dark-activated sensor that switches on all the ship’s external lights at dusk.
Costa Cruises has voluntarily implemented environmental compliance procedures fleet-wide that are even stricter than the mandatory provisions laid down by the (local, national and international) laws and regulations in force. This engagement is reflected in the assignment of the Green Star notation by RINA and by 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 2000), environment (UNI EN ISO 14001, 2004), safety (OHSAS 18001, 2007) and social accountability (SA 8000, 2008), 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.
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 and by the project of collaboration launched in 2005 with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission for monitoring climate change in the Mediterranean.
Costas believes in and actively promotes responsible tourism not just on board its ships but also ashore: its shoreside excursions are also organized in accordance with this priority. In 2010 Costa is offering 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 in developing areas.
The commitment to safeguarding the environment and to corporate social responsibility in general is reflected in particular in Costa’s Sustainability Report, a voluntary form of reporting designed to provide comprehensive and transparent information on the effects of corporate activity on the environment and the community.