Costa Cruises has made great gains in both the environmental and social fields, according to the sixth edition of its annual sustainability report covering fiscal year December 2009 through November 2010, which is posted online at www.costacruise.com/best4.
Costa Cruises not only operates in accordance with prevailing environmental laws, the line sets more ambitious objectives through a management and control system that goes beyond the scope of mandatory requirements of local, national and international regulations, and proactively seeks solutions to improve environmental protection. The report’s main findings for 2010 include:
• An increase of 26 percent compared to 2009 in the proportion of garbage (paper, plastic, glass, metal) recycled in ports. On board Costa ships 100 percent of solid waste is sorted into different streams for recycling and landed for processing at ports where shoreside reception facilities are available. In 2010 Costa Cruises entered into new agreements that brought about a significant increase in shoreside garbage recycling.
• Costa Cruises’ commitment to the recovery and recycling of waste continues in the form of an experimental project, which also is a global first. Costa Cruises is project manager of the European Union’s Sustainable Cruise project, which was launched in September 2011. For the first time, a cruise ship — Costa Pacifica — will access the viability of treating organic food waste so it can be used as compost or fuel. The activities on board also include recycling packaging and paper. The project is slated to end in June 2014. The Sustainable Cruise project is funded by the LIFE Program, the EU’s funding instrument for innovative or demonstration environmental projects.
• From 2007 to 2010 Costa achieved a reduction of approximately 11 percent in fuel consumption, and consequently, in carbon dioxide emissions. The reduction was attained via implementation of various on board energy-saving measures. For example, the use of ecological silicone-based coatings on the ship’s hull enhances hydrodynamic performance and reduces the growth of microorganisms on the hull surface without toxic effects. Other measures include the use of low-power-consumption LED light bulbs; installation of an automatic lighting-control system designed to adjust external lights to match sunlight intensity; energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technology that optimizes output with automated temperature control in staterooms and public spaces, and the use of inverters to optimize performance of fans and blowers in the engine room. Costa Cruises’ efforts in this area were recognized Nov. 25 when the company received the 2011 ABB Energy Efficiency Award. ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies that improve performance while lowering environmental impact.
• From 2007 to 2010 a reduction of 34.2 percent was achieved in the production of ozone-depleting substances from refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. On-board actions included continuous maintenance and monitoring of the systems, and the substitution of more earth-friendly compounds for harmful refrigerants.
• In July 2010 Costa Cruises, through its partnership with World Wildlife Fund Italia, became the first and only cruise line in the world to participate in the pilot REPCET project, a reporting system aimed at reducing collisions between ships and whales. Costa Cruises has been an official partner of WWF Italia for the protection of the sea since July 2005. In 2009 the partnership was extended with the goal of setting up a network of new marine protected areas in the Mediterranean Sea. Testimony to Costa Cruises’ commitment to that objective is the line’s policy of banning overboard discharge of bilge water — even when treated — within the Whale Sanctuary, an area of the Ligurian Sea covering approximately 38,600 square miles that is the habitat of a high concentration of marine mammals. 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 in the Mediterranean region.
• The ships in the Costa fleet use products supplied by Ecolab, the global leader in cleaning, sanitizing and food safety products and services, to achieve the best results with the lowest possible environmental impact.
The sustainability report also describes initiatives undertaken in the area of social responsibility:
• In 2009 Costa Cruises began a series of ongoing waste-recycling programs on board its liners calling in Brazil with the aim of financing local social development and environmental sustainability projects. In particular, activities launched in Salvador de Bahia and Santos involve recycling some kinds of waste produced on the ships (used cooking oil, glass, aluminum and, since 2010, PET plastic in Salvador De Bahia). The money earned from the recycling program fund community-support programs such as renovation of the kitchen and canteen at the Cantinho Alegre School in Santos, which serves about 160 pupils.
The sustainability report is a purely voluntary system 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 examines the company’s basic operating principles. 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.