Seatrade Cruise News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Seizing funding and procuring goods locally among stepping stones to a more sustainable future

Linden Coppell and Ukko Metsola at the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum (April 25-26) in Thessaloniki
Ukko Metsola, Royal Caribbean Group VP of government relations, EMEA, sees ‘the glass half full’ when it comes to decarbonisation of shipping and urged those in the cruise sector to seize funding where and when available to ‘make it happen.’

‘The European Union came originally with a stick and told everybody in all sectors – not just maritime – to decarbonise,’ he explained. ‘That was pre-pandemic in 2019… But given the problems the world has faced since then, the EU Commission has understood that instead of just a stick, we also need to give industry some carrots.’ 

For that reason, when it comes to the EU Green Deal and Fit for 55, Metsola asserted, ‘That's why I'm looking at the glass as half full, because they [the EU Commission] are now talking about the Net Zero Industry Act, the EU Recovery Fund, the EU Innovation Fund, and there are a lot of funding opportunities.'

Investing in alternative fuels infrastructure

‘I think it is our collective responsibility to make sure that some of those billions that are on the table will actually be used and invested into both infrastructure and alternative fuels infrastructure, so that we can accelerate the green transition and become fully sustainable,’ continued Metsola

‘We need to work together across the industrial sector, not just cruise lines... to come up with projects and apply for money and make it happen… somebody needs to do something.’ 

MSC Cruises is exploring more sustainable product sourcing

Linden Coppell, VP sustainability and ESG, MSC Cruises, addressed the issue of sustainable sourcing and procurement conceding that ‘it is one of my biggest challenges.’ 

Coppell is looking into preventing the unnecessary movement of goods around the world due to purchasing in one place; for instance, procuring rice sent from China, when one of the line’s ships is already in Asia.  

When it comes to ‘large, contemporary ships, of course, going down to the market is simply impossible,’ stated Coppell. ‘We have to work within the boundaries of quality, surety of supply and safety – those are three key elements that we really need to make sure we stick to – and that means that within the procurement space, they [cruise lines] tend to use established partnerships.’

But, stated Coppell, MSC Cruises is looking at a more flexible model, maintaining the highest quality standards in adherence with ISO 22000 standards, while recognising the need to set a greener model.

Reducing Scope 3 emissions

‘We're looking at decentralising some of our procurement activities, particularly as we're getting more ships and we're travelling to more places, and making sure that we don't fall into the trap of just buying in one place… Of course, that helps then with our decarbonisation journey, because of the association with Scope 3 emissions of moving these.’ 

She continued, ‘Probably for our smaller ships, for [luxury MSC Group brand] Explora Journeys, we're certainly looking at this much more.’ 

In one example offered by Coppell, she explained the aim of ‘making sure we're not stuck in a decision of demanding certain types of fruit on the breakfast buffet,’ and instead looking at what is available locally or available seasonally. 

‘We’re looking more at the kind of opportunity to do that, which will then lend itself, potentially, to developing these closer relationships with some of the ports that we operate in.’  

Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 

The remarks came during the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 2023 (April 25-26) in Thessaloniki, Greece in the CLIA Europe session: ‘Pathways to Net Zero.’ 

The focus of the two-day event was on the return to growth following COVID-19 and the challenges ahead for cruise lines and destinations.