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Uniworld creates sustainability officer role, takes on food waste

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises operations veteran Julie Higgins took the newly created role of sustainability officer.

She'll spearhead the implementation of Uniworld's ‘How We Tread Right' strategy of 11 measurable goals including reducing food waste 50% by 2025, ensuring Uniworld offices are using at least 50% renewable energy and offering sustainable 'Make Travel Matter' experiences.

Food waste

By some estimates, food waste is responsible for 6% of global greenhouse emissions. In a partnership with certified B Corporation food waste reduction system Leanpath, the company saw a 15% reduction in food waste during a three-month trial aboard Antoinette. The system is scheduled to be introduced fleetwide by 2023

Uniworld will also tackle emissions from its 13 owned ships and global offices and supports parent company The Travel Corporation as it formally commits to science-based carbon reduction targets. A vital next step on its net zero journey, TTC’s targets are currently under review by the Science Based Targets Initiative and will be shared later this year. 

Net zero emissions by 2050

After previously aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 or sooner, the company signed The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism committing it, and TTC, to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. TTC counts towards its footprint a combination of direct emissions (Scope 1 + 2) and indirect emissions (Scope 3). The Scope 1 + 2 target will address emissions from 13 owned Uniworld ships in addition to other owned assets, including all offices.

The Scope 3 target will deal with indirect emissions including trip emissions. TTC has an internal carbon calculator developed by an independent third party to account for trip emissions from included transport, meals and accommodations, and has made its methodology publicly available.

'Make Travel Matter'  

'Make Travel Matter' experiences on itineraries throughout India, Europe and the Middle East are carefully chosen using robust criteria that are publicly available and aligned with United Nations' Global Goals. Some of these experiences include tastings at Wachauer Safranmanufaktur, the world’s only bio-dynamically certified saffron producer; a visit to The Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative, an organization helping local women become financially independent; and plastic fishing in Amsterdam’s waterways.

Travel providers and travelers must take responsibility

'It is now clearer than ever that travel providers and travelers must take responsibility and acknowledge the role that each of us plays in helping to make travel matter,' said Higgins, who's been with Uniworld 18 years, involved in operations and crew learning and development. 'With the recent release of our sustainability strategy, "How We Tread Right," and our new partnership with Leanpath, we are making good on our long-term commitment to truly understand and reduce our impact.'

She added that more travelers are pursuing 'conscious travel' and said: 'I want our customers to know they can enjoy the luxury of world exploration while making a positive impact on communities with a company that prioritizes reducing its environmental impact.'