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Ponant fleet awarded Green Globe certification for sustainability

Ponant's Wassim Daoud said a major challenge in the coming years will be for the line to keep the Green Globe certification, which is based on continuous improvement
The Ponant fleet achieved Green Globe certification – an international standard for sustainability in travel and tourism. 

Recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and an affiliate member of the World Tourism Organization, it assesses the sustainability of business operations based on 44 criteria and 380 indicators organised around four pillars: sustainable management, social and economic performance, cultural heritage and the environment. 

The certification process is carried out every year by an accredited independent auditor.

Keeping it ‘a major challenge’ for coming years

Ponant’s head of CSR and sustainability, Wassim Daoud, described the certification as ‘a key element of our commitment to ensuring accountability for our actions.’ 

He said, ‘It’s important for our guests – and also for continuing to encourage the whole maritime sector to realize its environmental transition. 

‘What sets this certification apart is that it is based on continuous improvement. While our goal this year was to obtain it, the major challenge in the coming years will be to keep it.’ 

The certification was awarded to all four sister ships in the Le Boréal series, the six Ponant Explorers, Le Commandant Charcot and sailing yacht, Le Ponant.

Plans to slash CO2

By 2030, Ponant aims to deliver a ship designed for zero CO2 equivalent emissions, taking into account CO2, methane and nitrogen oxides. Its Swap2Zero concept stands for 'sustainable wind-assisted propulsion, zero emission ready.'

Since 2019, the entire fleet has been using low-sulphur marine gas oil which has a sulphur content below 0.05% – 13 times lower than current maritime standards. The line has also undertaken to equip its entire fleet with catalytic systems to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions as well as shore power connection systems. Both technologies will be fully deployed by the end of 2026.

Ponant set itself a target to reduce its CO2 emissions by 30% per cruise day by 2030, compared to 2018.

Fighting plastic waste

A strategy of gradually phasing out single-use plastics has been implemented since 2021. This has been addressed through the deployment of Nordaq filtration units for on board production of drinking water from seawater. It is then distributed via water fountains or in recyclable glass bottles, facilitated by an on board encapsulation chain. In 2022, this strategy meant that nearly 390,000 single-use bottles – 5t of plastic – were avoided, compared to 2019. The cruise line has also reviewed all its on board operations to eliminate other sources of plastic waste and continues to pursue its zero single-use plastic objective in 2024. 

Project in Guinea Bissau

A scouting mission in the Bijagos archipelago in Guinea Bissau resulted in a programme to rebuild the school in Anipoc village on Caravela island, funded by the Ponant Foundation. This isolated area has been recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1996. After meeting the ESCAMA Foundation, which has been working with the locals for several years, Ponant decided to get involved in a project that would make a difference to the school’s hundred pupils and around 200 adults who are now benefiting from literacy programmes. 

In addition to the construction work, the Ponant Foundation is funding teachers’ salaries while the community gets organised to provide them with on-site support. Emphasis is placed on eco-responsible management of the school, including sorting and recycling waste, having access to clean drinking water and solar-generated electricity.