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Royal Caribbean aims to cut carbon emissions further 25% by 2025

Royal Caribbean Group said it met or exceeded nearly all of its 2020 sustainability targets including reducing greenhouse gas emissions 35% below 2005 levels.

With this momentum, the company set a new goal of further cutting carbon emissions 25% by 2025, for a total of 40% from a 2008 baseline.

The information is part of Royal Caribbean Group's newly published 2020 sustainability report.

Successes and challenges

'We believe that what gets measured gets better. Sustainability is a core area for our business, and this report reflects our successes and challenges over the past year,' Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said. 'While I’m proud of the progress we have achieved, the importance of this area has grown exponentially. Consistent with our mantra of continuous improvement, we have significantly expanded our aspirations in this critical area and are setting even more aggressive goals for the coming years.'

'We are living in an era of profound and interconnected changes, which call for bold and positive action,' added Silvia Garrigo, chief environmental, social and governance officer. 'Our ESG work and goals are focused on ensuring we play a leadership role in contributing to a healthy and thriving workplace, society and environment.'

Goals set with WWF

In 2016, in partnership with World Wildlife Fund, the company set 2020 sustainability targets to reduce its environmental footprint, increase sustainable tourism, respect for coastal communities and cultural heritage, and to support WWF’s global ocean conservation work. As of this year, Royal Caribbean Group has met or exceeded all of its 2020 goals, with the exception of the sustainable seafood sourcing target, which was impacted by the global suspension of service due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, attention to sustainability continued in such areas as Royal Caribbean Group’s wind farm in Kansas, developed in partnership with Southern Power. The facility generated approximately 242,000 tons of CO2 offsets and is expected to offset up to 12% of the company's global emissions each year.

Celebrity Apex joined the fleet with shore power connectivity and with an energy efficiency standard 39% more efficient than the current International Maritime Organization requirement.

The new Icon-class ships, the first expected to launch in 2023, will use LNG and fuel cell technology.

Sustainably sourced seafood effort

The company has committed to source 90% of wild-caught seafood and 75% of farmed seafood served on its ships from certified sustainable sources, which Royal Caribbean Group said would be a first for the cruise industry. While the service suspension delayed this goal, the company said it remains committed to tracing back to its origin the sustainable seafood served across the fleet.

Royal Caribbean Group added it is constantly working to identify sustainable products, from cage-free eggs to humanely raised pork.

Circular economy

The company is working to achieve zero waste fleetwide. Today, 100% of the fleet is equipped to be landfill-free. Some 0.5 pounds of waste are sent to landfill per passenger each day — 80% less than the US average on shore.

The company said that whenever possible, shipboard waste is reused, recycled or converted into energy.

Sixty percent of single-use plastics have been removed from the supply chain.

Water conservation

Royal Caribbean Group ships produce 90% of their own fresh water needs to reduce usage from local sources. On average, 66 gallons of water per person per day are used, compared to the US average of 100 gallons per person.