Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.


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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

  • RCL and its consolidated subsidiaries will reduce the GHG intensity of its operations by 35 percent from the 2005 baseline, measured in tons of CO2e per ALBDO x km2.

Sustainable Seafood 2020 Target

  • Responsibly source 90 percent of its global wild-caught seafood by volume from MSC certified sustainable fisheries, fisheries in full assessment for MSC certification, comprehensive Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), and/or tuna products sourced from International Seafood Sustainability Association (ISSA) member companies. This includes a commitment to source at least 65 percent of global wild-caught volume from MSC certified fisheries.
  • 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.

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 identified by WWF utilizing IUCN and CITES rankings. In addition, develop clear policy language that notes that shark fin is banned from RCL procurement in all operations.
  • Publically adopt the “WWF Traceability Principles for Wild-Caught Fish Products”

Key Commodity Procurement 2020 Target

  • Working with WWF, RCL is conducting an analysis of key food commodity categories (meat, dairy, oils, vegetables, fresh fruits, sugar, grains, tea and coffee) to identify and prioritize commodities with the highest environmental impact by the end of 2016. Following the prioritization, RCL and WWF will work to develop strategies to improve sustainable sourcing practices by 2020.

Global Tour Operations 2020 Target

  • RCL endorses the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standards for sustainable tourism, and endorses “GSTC Certified” as the global certification framework for sustainability in tour operations and destinations.
  • 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 and tour operators on the GSTC standard and process of certification by providing information in RCL’s Operations Manual for Tour Operators and organizing supportive trainings.
  • By the end of 2017, for prospective bidders, RCL will include educational information in the RFP bid invitations regarding RCL’s commitment to the GSTC standard and to GSTC Certified operators.
  • By the end of 2018, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd 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. Investigate the option to offset carbon emissions, through WWF Gold Standard projects, for RCL shore excursions.
  • 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.


Partnering with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to help conserve the oceans

WWF and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) recently announced a five-year partnership underpinned by specific and measurable goals to help ensure the long-term health of the oceans.