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Net zero cruise ship by 2035 among Royal Caribbean decarbonization aims

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One of the most ambitious milestones in Royal Caribbean Group's plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is the delivery of a net zero cruise ship by 2035.

Today Royal Caribbean Group became the latest cruise giant to detail its decarbonization goals by introducing Destination Net Zero, a comprehensive strategy that includes establishing science-based targets.

'The most important destination of all'

'Decades ago, we set out on a course to advance sustainability; our vision now is to realize carbon-free cruising over the next two decades,' Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said. 'Today we are announcing the most important destination of all in our company's history — Destination Net Zero — an ambitious strategy to cut emissions, protect our oceans and ensure the viability of the hundreds of destinations that our guests and crew members care deeply about.'

Over 18 to 24 months, the company will develop goals to be validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The work will begin following the publication of SBTi's marine transport methodology. Science-based targets show companies how much, and how quickly, they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to help limit global warming.

Reliance on strong partnerships

To achieve the net zero cruise ship by 2035, Royal Caribbean Group said it will  rely on strong partnerships with governments, suppliers and shipyards to develop alternative and accessible fuels and technology.

The company's focus on achieving measurable goals builds on its track record of designing and operating some of the most energy efficient ships thanks to optimized hull design and system upgrades such as air conditioning chillers using 30% to 40% less energy. Royal Caribbean Group has consistently delivered next-generation of ships 20% to 25% more efficient than their predecessors.

From Silversea Cruises' recently announced Project Evolution hybrid newbuild to the wind farm in Kansas that will offset up to 12% of its scope 1 and 2 emissions per year, Royal Caribbean Group is already executing on its Destination Net Zero strategy.

Four-pronged approach

Destination Net Zero's four-pronged approach includes modernizing the fleet by introducing 13 new energy-efficient and alternatively fueled vessels, including the recently announced Project Evolution, which eliminates exhaust emissions while at port.

Continued investment in energy efficiency programs for the fleet, including energy saving technologies, enhanced data systems and digitalization, is another aspect.

Development of alternative fuel and alternative power solutions is critical, too, along with optimized deployment and integration of strategic shore-based supply chains.

In 2016, a World Wildlife Fund partnership established ambitious initial 2020 targets to reduce Royal Caribbean Group's environmental footprint, support ocean conservation globally and raise awareness among the company's more than 5m passengers about the importance of ocean conservation. Earlier this year, the company announced it had met or exceeded its 2020 goals, with the exception of a sustainable seafood sourcing target — now expected to be met by 2022 — that was impacted by the travel suspension from the pandemic.

Builds on continuous improvement mantra

'Destination Net Zero will help guide our decision-making in the years to come and builds on Royal Caribbean Group's continuous improvement mantra,' said Silvia Garrigo, Royal Caribbean Group chief environmental social governance officer. 'While we may not have all the answers now, this comprehensive company-wide strategy amplifies our focus on long-term emissions reduction and provides us a roadmap for how to get there.'

'Ensuring the long-term health of our oceans requires collective action to effectively address climate change and limit warming to 1.5 degrees C,' added WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts. 'Through our partnership, Royal Caribbean Group has been on a journey to improve their overall sustainability. Achieving net zero emissions no later than 2050 will require innovation and collaboration at scale, and WWF looks forward to working together to make progress toward this milestone.'

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