Our oceans are under threat. In the last four decades populations of some marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have declined on average by half, according to WWF’s Living Blue Planet Report. Mangroves—perhaps one of the most valuable habitats on the planet—are declining at an estimated rate three to five times that of the loss of rain forest. If we are going to reverse the downward trends, we must take bold steps to repair, restore, and protect the oceans.
To this end, WWF and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. entered into a five-year partnership to focus on ensuring the long-term health of the oceans.
Over the next five years, our global partnership will set and achieve ambitious and measureable sustainability targets that will reduce Royal Caribbean’s environmental footprint, support WWF’s global oceans conservation work, and raise awareness among the company’s more than 5 million passengers about the importance of ocean conservation.
RCL and WWF jointly developed new 2020 environmental sustainability targets for the company that include:
Carbon Emissions 2020 Target
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent by 2020.
Sustainable Seafood 2020 Target
- Responsibly source 90 percent of its wild-caught seafood by volume from MSC certified sustainable fisheries, fisheries in full assessment for MSC certification, comprehensive Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), and/or sourced from International Seafood Sustainability Association (ISSA) member companies.
- In North America and Europe operations, responsibly source 75 percent of its farmed seafood by volume from ASC certified responsible farms, farms in full assessment for ASC certification, and/or comprehensive aquaculture improvement projects.
- In addition, by June 30, 2016, RCL will set specific traceability goals with targets for obtaining MSC and ASC chain of custody.
Additional Sustainable Seafood Procurement 2020 Targets
- Obtain MSC and ASC Chain of Custody certification for Royal Caribbean’s global fleet of ships to ensure seafood marked as MSC or ASC certified is traceable to a certified fishery or farm.
- Eliminate the procurement of highly vulnerable species, including shark fin, identified by WWF utilizing IUCN and CITES rankings.
- Publically adopt the “WWF Traceability Principles for Wild-Caught Fish Products”
Key Commodity Procurement 2020 Target
- By the end of 2016, conduct an analysis of key food commodity categories in order to identify and prioritize commodities with the highest environmental impact.
- Using this analysis, develop strategies to improve sustainable sourcing practices by 2020.
Global Tour Operations 2020 Target
- RCL endorses the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standards and its certification framework for sustainable tourism.
- RCL will publicly recognize current tours that are verified against a GSTC-recognized sustainability standard. In addition, RCL will indicate which tours are verified to this standard and will categorize all of these tours under “sustainable tours” so that consumers can view our range of “sustainable” offerings.
- Starting in 2016, RCL will educate key staff by updating RCL’s Operations Manual for Tour Operators with GSTC standard and certification process and organizing supportive trainings.
- By the end of 2017, RCL will include educational information in the request for proposal bid invitations regarding RCL’s commitment to the GSTC standard and certified operators.
- By the end of 2018, RCL is committed to leveraging our influence in the marketplace to conserve and protect natural and cultural resources. As a cornerstone of our responsible tour sourcing policy, RCL will give preference to tours that are GSTC certified and to those that have made progress towards certification, when quality, price, and availability are equal.
- By the end of 2019, all “sustainable tours” offered by RCL will be provided by GSTC certified operators and RCL will categorize all tours by GSTC certified operators under a sustainability designation so that consumers can search for and readily identify these options.
- By the end of 2020, RCL will increase the number of sustainable tours offered to guests by certifying 1,000 RCL tours by GSTC certified operators.
Destination Stewardship 2020 Target
- Beginning in 2016, RCL will support up to three WWF ocean tourism and coastal conservation projects per year to advance ongoing conservation efforts and continue to drive sustainability within the tourism industry.
- By the end of 2017, working with partners such as WWF GSTC, RCL will support the implementation of GSTC’s destination assessment in two destinations, as well as RCL private destinations, to identify sustainability and environmental threats and develop corrective action plans in concert with destination managers and local stakeholders.
- By 2018, RCL will set a target for RCL private destinations to become GSTC certified to the applicable GSTC standard.
- WWF and RCL will continue to pursue alignment with WWF ocean conservation priorities and WWF’s Marine and Coastal Tourism Strategy.
A full list of Royal Caribbean’s 2020 Sustainability Goals, including waste and recycling, wastewater, and water bunkering through 2020 are available here.