Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel group and Europe’s no.1 cruise company, is taking part in WWF’s “Earth Hour”, the world’s largest environmental sustainability and global climate change initiative.

On March 26 at 8.30 pm (local time), during Earth Hour (, individuals, businesses and government organizations will turn their lights off for 60 minutes. Iconic buildings and landmarks will go dark all over the world in a global display of climate action designed to raise awareness of sustainability issues. WWF organized Earth Hour for the first time in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. Since then it has gone global and is celebrated annually by people across the world from all walks of life. In the 2010 edition, a record 128 countries (over 4,500 cities and towns) took part.

Costa Cruises, which has been a partner of WWF Italia since 2005, is participating in Earth Hour 2011 with its entire fleet (Europe’s largest, with 14 ships in service and 2 new ships under construction). On March 26 at 8.30 pm, Costa’s ships deployed on cruises worldwide – in the Mediterranean, South America, the United Arab Emirates, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Far East – will take positive action for the environment and celebrate their commitment to the planet by switching off all the “bunting”, the funnels and the lights on the outside decks, in compliance with safety procedures. The event will also be celebrated in the shipboard restaurants with a special “candlelit dinner”. Guests vacationing on the Costa fleet will be informed about Earth Hour.

Costa Cruises will also be switching off shoreside at the Palazzo Costa, the Company’s Genoa headquarters inaugurated in June 2010, one of Italy’s first buildings with “zero C02 emissions on site”. During Earth Hour 2011 the Palazzo Costa will turn off the lights on its special glass cladding with large panels, covering a surface of 1500 m², the interior lighting and the LED lighting system for the iconic big “C” from the Costa logo which sits on top of the glass roof.

Costa Cruises is a leader in terms of respect for the environment because it has voluntarily implemented fleetwide environmental compliance procedures 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 “B.E.S.T. 4”, an integrated system of 4 different types of voluntary certification including ISO 4001, obtained from RINA (Italian Shipping Register) in 2004, as well as in the assignment of RINA’s Green Star across the fleet; this notation certifies that all Costa’s ships comply with environmental standards that are actually stricter than the prevailing provisions of the international MARPOL Convention.

The Costa fleet is among the most advanced in the world in terms of environmental design, management, compliance and energy saving. The most recent additions – the Costa Luminosa and Costa Deliziosa, together with the future flagship Costa Favolosa, which is nearing completion in the Fincantieri yard in Marghera (Venice) and is due for delivery in July 2011 – are the first ships in Italy and among the first in the world to be equipped for “cold ironing”, namely a system whereby the ship is plugged into shoreside electrical power, enabling generators to be shut down during stopovers in port.

On board the ships in the fleet, 100% of solid waste is collected separately for recycling and no special waste is ever discharged overboard. Waste recycling is a top priority and Costa promotes and supports agreements and projects to this end in the different ports of call.

Costa Cruises’ record of environmental excellence is described in its annual Sustainability Report, drafted in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines and certified by RINA. Highlights of the most recent edition, setting out the results obtained in 2009, include: a 9% reduction (compared to 2008) in fuel consumption (measured in relation to the size of the fleet and the total nautical miles sailed) with a consequent drop in CO2 produced, and a substantial fall (-24%) in greenhouse gas emissions derived from the use of refrigerants as well as a 9% decrease in the production of ozone-depleting substances.

Costa’s commitment to social accountability and environmental sustainability has also led to the establishment of important partnerships. Costa Cruises has been an official partner of WWF Italia for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea since July 2005. In 2009 the partnership was extended with the objective of setting up a network of new marine protected areas in the Mediterranean. In this connection, in July 2010 Costa announced that it was participating in the pilot REPCET project (the first and only cruise line in the world to take part), a reporting system aimed at reducing collisions between ships and whales while tracking their movements.

Meanwhile, since 2005 Costa Cruises has been collaborating with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission on a new way of monitoring climate change.