Carnival Corporation Proves a Cruise Ship Can Be More Environmentally Sustainable

(3BL/JustMeans) Carnival Corporation is a cruise company that bills itself as the world’s largest leisure travel company. It is also a company that puts a premium on sustainability, as shown by the progress it has made towards sustainability performance goals it set in 2015. The 10 goals are all specifically designed to reduce the company’s environmental footprint.

One of Carnival's 2020 goals is to reduce the intensity of its equivalent carbon emissions (CO2e) from operations by 25 percent. To achieve that goal, the company has taken steps such as launching a cruise ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The AIDAsol is the world’s first cruise ship to be powered by an LNG hybrid barge. LNG emits no sulfur dioxide, has a 95 to 100 percent reduction in particulate matter, an 85 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides, and a 25 percent reduction in carbon. Carnival plans to be the first cruise company to use LNG on the open sea; to that end, it is building four LNG-powered cruise ships, to be in service in 2018.

Another move Carnival is making to reduce its emissions is through the development and use of exhaust gas cleaning systems across its ship fleet; these systems are able to reduce sulfur compounds and particulate matter from a ship’s engine exhaust. The company has a goal of deploying the systems on over 85 vessels by 2020. To date, 59 percent of its fleet is already equipped with the systems, a $400 million investment in sustainability.

Passengers on board cruise ships not only float on water but use a lot of water for drinking and bathing. Carnival has a goal to improve its water use efficiency by five percent by 2020, as measured by liters per person per day. It is a goal that the company is on its way to meet: its water use rate is 61 gallons per person per day while the national average throughout the US is 90 gallons per person per day.

Treating and properly disposing of wastewater is important for a cruise ship company that travels in so many different seas. That is why Carnival aims to increase the installation of its advanced waste water purification systems (AWWPS), which treats black and gray water.

Cruise ships generate a considerable amount of waste is generated. Carnival aims to reduce the amount of waste generated by shipboard operations by five percent by 2020, as measured by kilograms of non-recycled waste per person per day. Its waste management plan consists of the tried-and-true formula: reduce, reuse and recycle.

Carnival’s 2016 sustainability report demonstrates that a cruise ship company can set a wide range of environmental goals and make progress on all those fronts at the same time.

Photo: Carnival Corporation