Highlighting the Company’s sustainability commitments and the important steps taken and progress in its long-term sustainability strategy
Geneva, Switzerland – 20 July 2023 – MSC Cruises has published its 2022 Sustainability Report, highlighting its progress in its sustainability practices over the year.
The sustainability strategy is informed by the materiality assessment carried out in 2019 and revisited in 2021. This process has ensured that MSC Cruises’ attention is focused on issues of the most significant importance to MSC Cruises’ external and internal stakeholders and where its impact on the world means the company has a responsibility to act.
The Sustainability Action Plan is focused on six priority workstreams with progress on specific actions included in its Sustainability Report to ensure that the company is accountable for delivering them. The six areas of the Sustainability Action Plan align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aims – a shared vision for the role that individuals, businesses and governments must play in transitioning to a sustainable world.
The Sustainability Advisory Board for the Cruise Division of MSC Group, which includes the MSC Cruises brand, is chaired by Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago. The Board is responsible for ensuring the continued relevance of the sustainability strategy and for reviewing progress, guided and supported by the Sustainability Team.
Linden Coppell, MSC Cruises’ Sustainability Vice President, said: “To ensure the appropriateness and continued relevance of our Sustainability Strategy and our Sustainability Action Plan, we are in ongoing dialogue with our employees, guests, and key external stakeholders. Through this listening exercise, we can ensure that our current focus areas are appropriate and identify any new areas as they arise – while we closely monitor the progress on the six key pillars of our action plan.”
In 2022, progress has been achieved in all areas of MSC Cruises’ Sustainability Action Plan, and these are the highlights:
PLANET - Transitioning to net zero emissions, improving local air quality, and scrutinising resource use and waste.
MSC Cruises is fully committed to playing its part in addressing climate change and promoting ocean biodiversity. With a resolute determination, the company is actively accelerating efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Through close collaboration with renowned technology companies, shipyards, and fuel providers, we strive to push the limits of innovation and explore new possibilities. A momentous step in this crucial journey was introducing our inaugural LNG-powered ship in 2022, marking a significant milestone towards a more sustainable future. We remain steadfast in our commitment to creating a more environmentally responsible cruise industry.
PLACE - Supporting sustainable destinations, developing terminals
Our cruises allow people to visit some of the most beautiful and exciting destinations the world has to offer – and we want to help keep them that way. We want to deliver positive social and economic outcomes for the local communities we visit. Our investments in developing new sustainable cruise terminals are creating jobs and bringing new visitors to these places. We are also active supporters of destination stewardship and continue to work collaboratively with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and other cruise lines to manage visitor numbers and support the sustainable tourism aspirations of the destinations we visit. We are a member of the CEO-led Sustainability Committee and the Sustainability Task Force of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), working closely with travel industry partners to develop and implement sustainable solutions for our industry.
PEOPLE - Supporting our people, and crew’s well-being
Our number one priority is keeping our passengers and crew safe and well. We are proud of the excellent healthcare we offer on our ships, and, even though COVID-19 is no longer the threat it was, we continue to maintain exemplary hygiene practices. We also have a comprehensive safety management system in place and aim to identify risks so we can act before incidents occur. Our crew play a very important role in making our guest experience a success, and we know how important it is to support their well-being. We provide all the training our people need to do a good job and support those with high potential who want to grow their careers with us.
PROCUREMENT – Procuring with a responsibility to the environment
Every year, we must procure thousands of different items to run our operations, from engine parts to hand soap, and crew uniforms to food and drink. Then we must get it onto our fleet of ships, which are constantly on the move. In 2022, our Sustainable Procurement Committee initiated a comprehensive review of our procurement processes and practices to identify opportunities to improve our sustainability performance. We want to go beyond specific programmes – such as eliminating single-use plastics onboard – and shift the mindset of our buyer community so that every purchasing decision is made with the environment and worker wellbeing in mind.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
LNG is the cleanest marine fuel currently available at scale, virtually eliminating local air pollutants and reducing greenhouse gas emissions significantly compared to conventional marine fuels. This is why MSC Cruises have invested around €3 billion in three LNG-powered cruise ships: the first, MSC World Europa, set sail in December 2022; the second, MSC Euribia, joined the fleet in June 2023; the third – MSC World America – is currently being built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique and will be launched in 2025.
Improving operational efficiency
We are on track to achieve the International Maritime Organization’s 40% carbon intensity reduction target for the maritime industry well ahead of the 2030 target.
We continue to scrutinise every mile of our itineraries resulting in an average speed of 15.75 knots across our fleet in 2022, down from 17.55 in 2018 – a 10% reduction. We continue to advance the digitalisation of our energy efficiency programme. In 2022, we completed the installation of Oceanly Performance on all ships in our fleet. This platform enables the continuous monitoring of thousands of raw data points on the position, speed, weather, engine load, flow meters, fuel consumption, torque meters, and all other onboard equipment connected to a central data collector.
Local air quality
Connecting to shore power lets us turn off our ships’ engines and connect to the local electrical grid to run our onboard systems. With electricity travelling to the ship through a specially designed transformer at the dock, this process prevents emissions produced from diesel generators, improving local air quality and reducing noise and vibration levels – benefitting both the environment and the surrounding communities. Following significant investments in our fleet capabilities, we are taking concrete steps to adopt and accelerate the use of shore power. We collaborate closely with local authorities to ensure compatibility between our ships’ systems and the shoreside infrastructure design. We are grateful for the forward-thinking support provided by the port authorities.
Scrutinising resource use and waste
About 70% of our fleet capacity have been equipped with Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems (AWTS). The systems installed in our four newest ships go further still and comply fully with IMO MEPC 227 (64) requirements, known as the ‘Baltic Standard’. This is the most stringent wastewater treatment and discharge standard in the maritime industry. Indeed, it is equivalent to – and sometimes even more stringent than – many land-based standards.
Our entire cruising fleet has achieved ISO 21070:2017 certification for marine environmental protection, meaning that we manage waste in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. This certification proves that we are creating less waste than previously and have specific procedures to help us manage waste on our ships, including handling, collection, separation, marking, treatment, and storage. It also demonstrates that we have an appropriate ship-to-shore interface for the delivery of waste from our ships to port reception facilities.
We have invested in creating new terminal facilities in Durban, Miami, and Barcelona. These are allowing – or will allow – us to deploy our most environmentally advanced vessels in these locations.
To ensure we are building these terminals with the environment in mind, all new MSC Cruises’ port terminals are certified to LEED silver or higher. LEED –Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – is a widely used global green building rating system. Its rigorous score-based systems ensure high levels of efficiency in both building design and operation.
We work with our tour operators and relevant local authorities to find ways to minimise crowding on city infrastructure and traffic. This includes finding new sites to visit, expanding the area of interest beyond city centres.
We are determined to be a positive and engaged player in driving sustainable tourism. An increasing number of our passengers are engaged in sustainability matters and care deeply about protecting and enhancing the natural environment. We have responded to that in our programme of shore excursions. In summer 2022, our programme of shore excursions had its strongest ever focus on minimising our environmental impact and supporting nature-positive activities.
Supporting local communities
The MSC Foundation supports communities in need through various projects and programmes, including long-term partnerships with Marevivo, UNICEF and Mercy Ships.
The MSC Foundation continues to consolidate its global role in assisting those most in need by donating goods, instigating fundraising schemes, and working with the MSC Group to provide logistics support.
During 2022, the Foundation supported eight emergency relief initiatives in nine countries. Its most significant support was for people displaced by the conflict in Ukraine, Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. The Foundation provided more than €7 million in relief and assistance, donating thousands of kilos of food items, blankets, sleeping bags and camp beds and providing free containers, logistics and transportation to organisations working on the ground. It also launched a global fundraising campaign, Joining Hands for Refugees, with every donation matched by MSC Group, doubling its impact. By March 2023, the campaign had raised over €150,000, doubled through the fund-matching to achieve a total of €300,000.
Business Partners’ Code of Conduct
We have a Business Partners’ Code of Conduct which outlines our expectations of our suppliers and sets out our commitment to undertake business in a fair, ethical, and responsible manner. Our Supplier Compliance Programme then ensures that specific clauses on ethical business conduct and sustainability are incorporated into supplier contracts and agreements.
Auditing our suppliers
Our team identifies any risks to our supplier standards by tracking and monitoring our supply chains. Our successful auditing programme has been in place for several years. Suppose a supplier is found to have breached our Code of Conduct, depending on the severity of non-conformity. In that case, we decide to terminate the agreement or work with them to understand what went wrong and put a remediation plan in place. We reserve the right to terminate the agreement if we do not see quick improvement.
We adhere to the ISO 22000 Food Safety Management standard, which means we have adopted the best practices to avoid accidents and contaminations. We conduct over 4,000 food safety analyses each year, testing dishes or the surfaces and equipment we use to prepare and serve our food. Likewise, all our food and beverage suppliers are evaluated for food safety compliance.
More sustainable retail products
During 2022, the procurement team for our onboard retail products conducted a review to see if we could lower the impact of what we either create or we buy for resale in our shopping outlets.
Many products created for the MSC Cruises or Ocean Cay brands are made from natural materials – such as cotton, bamboo, and paper. We are encouraging the suppliers of all other items to actively choose and promote sustainable options from their portfolio.
Additionally, we have considered how our products reach the ships and have removed 90% of airfreight from our supply chain. We have done this through better planning and by using a new predictive logistics forecasting model that allows us to anticipate onboard demand better.