Costa Cruises’ attention is directed to the multifaceted reality surrounding its activity with all its economic, cultural, social and environmental aspects. This commitment is reflected in the content of the second edition of the Company’s Sustainability Report, now available online at www.costacruise.com/corporate/B.E.S.T. 4/Sustainability Report.
The document provides a comprehensive and transparent account of the effects of the Company’s activity on the environment and the community at large, and has become one of the main tools of information for Costa Cruises’ stakeholders.
The pursuit of the right balance between the need for development and the commitment to environmental compliance and corporate social responsibility constitutes one of the Company’s main challenges; this pursuit of harmonization is reflected in the implementation of cutting-edge corporate management systems aimed at guaranteeing sustainable development and social accountability, and has its roots in the application of the “B.E.S.T. 4”; the latter is 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, 1999) 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 (the Italian Shipping Register) in 2004, thus becoming the first company in the world to do so.
In respect of the previous year’s Sustainability Report, the 2006 edition has been partially revised in terms of its structure and methodological approach so as to ensure greater ease of consultation. The series of topics dealt with is arranged in five parts: Part 1 presents the Company’s history, mission, corporate values, strategies and industrial plan; Part 2 describes how Costa Crociere is structured in order to achieve its set objectives; Part 3 contains a description of the main stakeholders and the initiatives implemented; Part 4 illustrates the Company’s economic, environmental, social and safety performance, based on the measurement indicators defined, with regard to the achievement of continuous improvement; and Part 5 summarizes the state of implementation of the set objectives defined in the 2005 Sustainability Report and sets out those for 2007.
To mention just a few of the results obtained, in terms of business performance the Report confirms Costa’s leadership as a major – and increasingly international – player in the cruise industry, operating with a fleet of 12 liners which carried over one million Guests in 2007.
Among the objectives achieved in the environmental area is a 10% reduction in the volume of garbage generated per person and the introduction of a new system of disposal of waste other than food waste, whereby non-food wastes are landed in segregated streams and sent for recycling. Also with regard to the environment, once again in 2006 the Swiss tour operator Kuoni bestowed the Green Planet Award – the highest seal of eco-approval in the Swiss travel and tourism sector – on the entire Costa Crociere fleet for the exemplary ecological management and performance of the ships, aimed at minimizing their environmental impact. 2006 also saw the continuation both of the partnership between Costa Crociere and the WWF, aimed at consciousness raising and the collection of funds to support projects to safeguard the sea and protect marine wildlife, and of the collaboration with the Joint Research Centre – Institute for Environment and Sustainability – of the European Commission, monitoring climate change in the Mediterranean.
In terms of social performance, Costa has implemented new means of enhancing its people and fostering their development. Meanwhile, the Company has supported a series of initiatives and research projects by means of donations and in kind, particularly for people suffering from diseases. Also, new facilities and measures have been introduced for Guests with disabilities.
These new facilities have been further developed in 2007 with some important innovations.
The first one is the introduction of a sign language translation of the safety video for Guests with hearing and speech impairments. The video, which is screened on a special TV channel in every cabin on board on the day of each embarkation, explains the main safety procedures in force on the vessel, including the emergency ones. The other new measures have been introduced in order to further enhance the cruise experience for Guests with disabilities: reserved seating in the theater to see the shows, front seats reserved on the buses and other means of transport used for Costa’s shore excursions, reserved tables at the buffet, and a priority area to facilitate disembarkation. In addition, at the beginning of every cruise there is a meeting with the Guest Relation Manager, during which the various services are explained and all the relevant information is provided, including a special map with the easiest ways to reach the most important areas of the ship. The new services for physically challenged Guests have been implemented thanks to suggestions submitted by the Italian Company’s own employees, as part of the G.U.E.S.T. (Generating Unique Excellent Service Together!) program. This collective empowerment project is aimed at all of Costa Crociere’s personnel, giving them the opportunity to suggest innovative ideas and solutions for improvement of the quality of the service delivered on board or of the way of working in the shoreside offices or on the ships.
In the field of safety, improvements have been attained in the preparation of the personnel involved in the management of worker safety and in shipboard fire prevention.
Finally, another important objective was to increase the Company’s ability to listen to, communicate with and involve all its stakeholders and the wider community; in order to further enhance this dialogue, Costa Cruises has included a questionnaire in the 2006 Sustainability Report that can be filled out on line; this will supply valuable feedback for preparation of next year’s edition.