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Royal Caribbean Group met or exceeded nearly all of its 2020 sustainability targets

In:
22 Sep 2021

Many companies talk about sustainability, but Royal Caribbean Group has done much in the last year to make it happen.

Royal Caribbean Group released its 13th annual sustainability report, which encompass everything the company is doing towards sustainability.

In short, Royal Caribbean Group reports they have met or exceeded nearly all of its 2020 sustainability targets.

The report is organized into four main sections conveying Royal Caribbean Group's strategic approach to sustainability, from emissions reductions to supporting employees and crew in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here is a look at the highlights from the report:

Emissions reduction

Royal Caribbean Group achieved its carbon reduction target of 35% and has committed to further reduce emissions 25% by 2025.

  • Royal Caribbean Group's wind farm project in Kansas, developed in partnership with Southern Power, began operations and generated approximately 242,000 tons of CO2 offsets. It is expected that the wind farm will offset up to 12% of the company's global emissions each year.
  • Celebrity Apex joined the fleet with shore power connectivity and with an energy efficiency standard (EEDI) 39% more efficient than the current International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirement.
  • Icon-Class cruise ships, expected to launch in 2023, will use cleaner-burning liquefied natural gas and fuel cell technology, which reduces ship emissions.

Sustainable sourcing

The company has a commitment to source 90% of wild-caught seafood and 75% of farmed seafood, served on Royal Caribbean Group ships from certified sustainable sources, a first for the cruise industry. 

  • While the global suspension of service delayed this goal, as cruise operations resume, Royal Caribbean Group remains committed to tracing back to its origin the sustainable seafood served across the company's fleet.
  • Additionally, the company is constantly working to identify sustainable products, from cage-free eggs to humanely raised pork.

Circular economy

The company is working to achieve zero waste across the Royal Caribbean Group fleet.

  • Today, 100% of the company's fleet is equipped to be landfill-free. Only 0.50 pounds of waste are sent to landfill per passenger each day — 80% less than the U.S. average on shore.
  • Whenever possible, the waste on Royal Caribbean Group ships is reused, recycled or converted to energy.
  • The company has removed 60% of single-use plastics from its supply chain. 

Water and wastewater

Royal Caribbean Group ships work to ensure fresh water on their ships is used sparingly and efficiently.

  • 90% of fresh water is produced on board its ships in order to not deplete local resources.
  • On average, only 66 gallons of water per person per day are used, compared with the U.S. average of 100 gallons per person.
  • Each ship is equipped with a water treatment plant. Advanced wastewater purification systems are designed to be twice as stringent as U.S. federal standards, with a company policy of no untreated waste released into the ocean.

You can view the full report online.

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Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain was extremely pleased with the report, " "While I'm proud of the progress we have achieved, the importance of this area has grown exponentially. Consistent with our mantra of continuous improvement, we have significantly expanded our aspirations in this critical area and are setting even more aggressive goals for the coming years."

"We believe that what gets measured gets better. Sustainability is a core area for our business, and this report reflects our successes and challenges over the past year."

Royal Caribbean wants Australians to give up their tortoiseshell products

In:
04 Dec 2020

Are you an Australian that has tortoiseshell products? You can do your part to save the Hawksbill Turtle by giving them up.

Royal Caribbean Australia is parterning with the WWF and Australian Museum in a new campaign that seeks to save the Hawksbill Turtle by asking Australians to give up their tortoiseshell products so vulnerable populations can be traced through extracted DNA.

The new effort is called "Surrender Your Shell", which hopes to use cutting-edge technology to extract DNA from products to track the illegal trade of tortoiseshell.

Researchers will use this DNA to trace tortoiseshell products back to the turtles’ nesting beach and develop a database or “ShellBank” for the first time in the Asia-Pacific. This information will help identify vulnerable turtle populations, so WWF-Australia can work with local communities, governments and the tourism industry to improve turtle protection.

In order to facilitate this effort, the Australian Government has introduced a six month period of leniancy where Australians can send historically purchased tortoiseshell products to WWF-Australia, along with details of where and when they were purchased, without the risk of facing prosecution.

To participate, Australians just need to track down any tortoiseshell products they’ve collected, or been gifted, over the years.

Real tortoiseshell items are brown, orange, amber and yellow in colour and feature irregular patterns.

If people suspect a product is real, they can take the following steps to support the project:

  1. Visit www.wwf.org.au/surrenderyourshell to enter your details, including when and where the item was purchased, to retrieve a unique identification number. 
  2. Attach the unique identification number to your tortoiseshell product, package appropriately and either post through the Australia Post eParcel Returns portal or visit a Post Office with your surrendered tortoiseshell and post to WWF-Australia.
  3. Ensure you post your item between 1 December 2020 and 1 June 2021.

The first 100 items sent through the Australia Post eParcel Returns portal will be paid for by WWF-Australia.

“We’re proud to support the crusade to save this precious species, and to raise awareness with Australians, and our guests, on the part they can play in bringing these turtles back from the brink,” says Gavin Smith, Royal Caribbean International VP and managing director, AUNZ. “The ocean is our lifeblood and we are committed to preserving it — through our own innovation, our Save the Waves programme, and through important collaborations like “Surrender Your Shell.” 

It is estimated nearly 9 million hawksbill turtles have been traded for their distinctive shells over the past 150 years, bringing the species close to extinction. The Pacific Ocean's population has declined by more than 75% and now just 4,800 breeding female hawksbills are thought to survive.

Royal Caribbean and WWF announce breakthrough in fight to save Hawksbill Turtle

In:
04 Oct 2019

Royal Caribbean announced a major milestone today in its fight to save the Hawksbill Turtle from extinction.

The cruise line in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia, announced a new DNA extraction test will offer scientists and conservationists vital information to track – and ultimately help end – the illegal trade of hawksbill turtle products. This is a significant breakthrough led by WWF Australia, Royal Caribbean the NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), in California, USA. 

The innovative project forms part of Royal Caribbean and WWF’s five-year global partnership to support ocean conservation and help ensure the long-term health of the seas. Turtle lovers and holidaymakers are encouraged to support Royal Caribbean and WWF’s efforts and #thinkbeforeyoubuy while traveling overseas.

Hunted for their beautiful shells, the species is now listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with the scientific community estimating as few as 6,700 breeding females remain in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Hawksbill turtles from different regions, or even some countries, are genetically distinct, and their DNA signatures can be used to identify different nesting areas. The new test will allow scientists and marine conservationists to identify which where tortoiseshell products have come from and pinpoint hawksbill turtle populations to allow for targeted conservation efforts.

The next step in the project is to build a more comprehensive genetic database of all hawksbill rookeries across Asia Pacific to help identify what populations there are in different locations to protect those most at risk from poaching. This kind of information is limited or currently unavailable and will provide vital information for wildlife managers and law enforcement to act on.

Learn more about Royal Caribbean’s partnership with WWF and their work to end the illegal turtle trade here.

Royal Caribbean announces 1,400 sustainable shore excursion options

In:
25 Sep 2019

Ahead of its 2020 goal, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced it now offers  1,400 sustainable tours are now available for booking. 

Offered by certified sustainable tour operators, these special tours are available across Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s (RCL) family of brands — including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara — and are available around the world.

Back in 2016, Royal Caribbean set up a goal to match the 2020 World Wildlife Fund (WWF) target to offer guests 1,000 tours provided by operators certified to the UN-created Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standard. Royal Caribbean believes by reaching this goal one year ahead of schedule, it clearly demonstrates its, "commitment to operate sustainably and provide its guests with responsible options while ashore."

GSTC standards, known as the GSTC Criteria, are organized around four main themes: effective sustainability planning, maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community, enhancing cultural heritage, and reducing negative impacts to the environment.

Our guests are eager to explore and discover new cultures and places, and we want to do our part to ensure those destinations continue to thrive," said Roberta Jacoby, Managing Director, Global Tour Operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  "Achieving this goal was a truly collaborative process with our motivated tour operators and with the dedicated team at Global Sustainable Tourism Council."

Royal Caribbean sees major returns from Perfect Day at CocoCay, reports on sustainability, talks Cuba impact and more

In:
25 Jul 2019

Royal Caribbean held a conference call with investors earlier today to go over its 2019 second quarter earnings, which shed light on a few interesting anecdotes.

Perfect Day at CocoCay is attracting new cruisers, not steal from other lines

If there was one theme of the earnings call, it is that Royal Caribbean has hit a grand slam with its private island makeover earlier this year, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said, "To describe Perfect Day as a home run, wouldn't do it justice. It really resets the bar in the short-cruise market."

"But it's important to note that Perfect Day wasn't designed to steal customers from other cruise lines; it was designed to attract customers who otherwise wouldn't be taking a cruise. And it's doing that beautifully."

Perfect Day at CocoCay is bringing in big returns

In addition to being well-received by cruisers and reviewers alike, Perfect Day at CocoCay is also making a giant impact on the cruise line's bottom line.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chief Financial Officer, Jason Liberty, spoke to this point, "What has been particularly impressive over the past few months is the pricing we are receiving for sailings visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay. Pricing on these sailings has been consistently outpacing our lofty expectations. It has been a major contributor to our improved, non-Cuba revenue outlook."

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley said, "In total in '19 and through into '20, eleven of the Royal Caribbean ships will be going to Perfect Day at CocoCay, so you can imagine the volume that we are taking to Perfect Day has gone up by a factor of about four. And we are already taking a lot of guests to CocoCay before we underwent all of this work and changed the whole experience."

"I think today we've taken maybe 350,000 people to Perfect Day since we opened. It's now rated the number one resort globally for Royal Caribbean, and it's knocking it out of the park in terms of truly delivering a phenomenal day. The guest satisfaction is extremely high."

"The demand we are seeing comes from all segments. It competes very well with Orlando. It's got a truly wonderful day, both in thrill and chill. It is also driving new-to-cruise, because approximately 40% of the short market is new-to-cruise."

Sustainability and accountability is important

Mr. Fain provided an update on the cruise line's sustainability efforts, and how well it is following the plan it laid out earlier.

"As most of you know, in 2016, we launched a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to take our sustainability efforts to a new level. At Royal Caribbean, we believe that what gets measured, gets better, and we established specific goals in three areas of sustainability. The three areas where we established these quantifiable goals were the areas of carbon footprint, sustainable destinations, sustainable food production."

"Specifically, we undertook a 35% reduction in carbon footprint of our 2005 base, offering one thousand tours certified to the GSTC sustainability standard, and responsibility to responsibly sourcing 90% of wild-caught seafood globally, 75% of farm seafood in North America and Europe. We set a public goal to reach these objectives by the end of 2020."

"I am happy to report that we are on schedule. We achieved our carbon footprint goal earlier this year, and just two weeks ago, we certified our one thousandth sustainable tour operation. We're not there yet on our sustainable food sourcing goal, but we're walking diligently to do so, and hope to reach that target soon."

Cost of Cuba

Earlier this year, the United States government ended the ability of cruise lines to sail to Cuba and the impact of that policy change was quantified during this call.

Mr. Liberty explained, "The abrupt removal of calls to Cuba on June sailings on Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas costs us 30 basis points in year-over-year yields for the quarter. While the Cuba policy change was financially and operationally painful, our underlying business remains very strong, as we both outperformed on onboard revenue and saw further close-in demand for our core products."

If they could go back in time, Royal Caribbean would have done more

One of the analysts on the call asked Royal Caribbean if they had a "do over" during the last recession, would they have held back as much as they did for ship orders.

Mr. Liberty said bluntly, "There's definitely regret that we have in terms of our pull-back on our growth. We would all be talking about higher earnings numbers today, better return profile today if we hadn't slowed down our growth, or our investment efforts in expanding our global footprint, investing in different projects that would have put us in an even stronger position than we are in today."

Royal Caribbean and WWF-Australia announce partnership to protect critically endangered hawksbill turtles

In:
13 Nov 2018

With the support of Royal Caribbean, WWF-Australia will step up efforts to help combat the illegal trade of hawksbill turtles in Asia-Pacific - the number one threat to the critically endangered turtle.

For the first time in the region, WWF-Australia will work with partners to test ground-breaking technology to extract DNA from tortoiseshell products, such as earrings, bracelets and other trinkets. The collaboration will develop a DNA database to help identify hawksbill populations most at risk from the illegal tortoiseshell trade by tracing hawksbills products from their point-of-sale to where they were poached.

“Despite international trade being banned over twenty years ago, poaching and the sale of hawksbill products still takes place in our region. It is unclear where poaching is most prevalent, but with the help of the turtle DNA test and database we’ll be able to map poaching hotspots and work with local governments in the Asia-Pacific region to combat these illegal activities,” said Christine Hof, Marine Species Project Manager, WWF-Australia.

Hawksbill turtles are one of the most beautiful and important species in the ocean, playing a vital role in maintaining the health of our oceans; from promoting coral growth through their appetite for algae, to supporting vital feeding grounds for reef communities.  However, over the last 100 years the hawksbill population has declined by more than 75% and it’s estimated there are only 4,800 breeding females remaining in the Pacific Ocean.

The hawksbill faces a unique threat as it is the only sea turtle species that is hunted for its shell, commonly known as “tortoiseshell”, which is made into souvenirs frequently sold to travelers while on holidays overseas. 

“Hunted and traded for their shell, Hawksbill turtles are critically endangered. Ending this trade will take a coordinated effort. We are extremely passionate about this partnership with WWF-Australia, and need to act now to ensure these prehistoric sea creatures have a future,” said Susan Bonner, VP and Managing Director, Royal Caribbean Australia & NZ.

The partnership will also increase awareness of the issue amongst those travelling throughout Asia-Pacific. RCL and WWF-Australia intend to educate millions of supporters and travellers about this illegal trade by providing them with the information they need to identify illegal tortoiseshell products and avoid buying them, with the launch of an extensive consumer campaign.

A hawksbill turtle adoption programme will be available to all Australians in 2019. Adoption of a hawksbill turtle via Royal Caribbean will support WWF-Australia’s essential conservation work – protecting the habitat, preserving their food sources and ensuring the safety of threatened species locally and globally.

RCL has a long history of innovation, and is committed to protecting the communities and environments in which it operates. From wastewater and waste management, to energy efficiency and sourcing practices, RCL is dedicated to continually improving operations, to minimise its’ environmental footprint and increase support for conservation.

“We have a responsibility to the guests who sail with us, the people who work for us, and the communities we visit, but most importantly we have a responsibility to the magnificent oceans, which are at the very essence of our business,” said Bonner.

In 2016, RCL and WWF embarked on a five-year global journey to help ensure the long-term health of the world’s oceans. The RCL and WWF-Australia local partnership to protect the hawksbill turtle will run in the Asia-Pacific region for the next three years.

For more information visit www.royalcaribbean.com.au/wwf.

Video: Royal Caribbean Sustainability Efforts Receive a Gust of Wind Power

In:
17 Oct 2018

A new wind farm agreement complements Royal Caribbean’s comprehensive carbon reduction initiatives. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced that they’re furthering their carbon reduction initiatives by partnering with Southern Power on a wind farm that will offset up to 12% of Royal Caribbean’s emissions beginning in 2020! 

Read more about this agreement here.

Royal Caribbean plans to offset some of its emissions with wind power

In:
11 Oct 2018

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today it has signed a deal with Southern Power for Southern Power's 200-megawatt (MW) Reading Wind Facility. This initiative, which will offset up to 12 percent of Royal Caribbean's emissions beginning in 2020, is one of many programs the cruise line has to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through innovations at sea and in port.

The facility is expected to generate roughly 760,000 megawatt hours per year over the duration of the 12-year agreement, which translates to enough clean energy to offset 10-12 percent of Royal Caribbean's annual carbon emissions starting in 2020. With this innovative program, Royal Caribbean is able to apply a new approach while continuing its primary initiatives to advance sustainability efforts across the company's fleet.

The wind facility is located in Osage and Lyon Counties in Kasnas and the deal provides Southern Power with the economic basis to construct the project. 

"This agreement complements our longstanding strategic initiatives to reduce the company's emissions and become a more sustainable operator," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We are constantly looking for new ways to reduce our environmental footprint, both in the short and long term, and thanks to our partnership with Southern Power this is the latest step in our journey."

The project is expected to break ground in the second quarter of 2019 and is expected to be complete by the second quarter of 2020. Southern Power will operate and maintain the facility upon completion.

Royal Caribbean is also employing several technologies and innovations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create more efficient vessels, including:

  • Advanced Emission Purification systems, which remove approximately 98 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions
  • Air lubrication systems to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency
  • Energy management software, an industry first, to achieve top fuel efficiency
  • The introduction of new fuels such as liquefied natural gas, in the near future
  • Onboard the ship: the use of energy-efficient equipment in galleys and the replacement of incandescent bulbs with fluorescent and LED lighting, as well as the introduction of fuel cells

Royal Caribbean will stop using plastic straws by end of 2018

In:
08 Jun 2018

All of Royal Caribbean's cruise ships will eliminate the use of plastic drinking straws by the end 2018 in an effort to reach a comprehensive plastics elimination program.

The policy will be mirrored with sister brands Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, TUI Cruises, and Pullmantur Cruceros.

Royal Caribbean has already implemented a "straws upon request" policy, and this new policy will go a step further to eliminate the plastic option all together. That program will be taken a step further by the start of 2019, when guests requesting a straw will receive a paper straw instead of a plastic one. Guests also will begin seeing Forrest Stewardship Council-certified wood coffee stirrers and bamboo garnish picks as part of the plastic reduction strategy.

After straws, stirrers and picks, the company's next efforts will focus on other single-use plastics such as condiment packets, cups, and bags. A full plastics audit is underway, with the overall plan to be completed in phases by 2020.

Royal Caribbean cuts down on use of drink straws onboard its cruise ships

In:
21 May 2018

Guests sailing on Royal Caribbean may notice their next round of cocktails will not served with a plastic straw by default.

The cruise line has begun cutting back on the use of plastic straws, citing the negative environmental impact straws can have on the ocean.

Photo by Kathy Constantine from Adventure of the Seas

Photo by Nick Vitani on Enchantment of the Seas

Signs posted at bars around many ships indicate that when a guest orders a drink, they will not receive a straw automatically.  Guests may receive a straw upon request from any server.

Royal Caribbean's Save the Waves program began in 1992 as an effort to help protect the ocean ecosystem, and this new policy regarding drink straws is another step towards minimizing ocean pollution.

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