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Carnival Corp. & plc ahead of schedule on carbon-reduction target

The world's largest cruise operator said it's ahead of its goal to achieve a nearly 25% reduction in its carbon footprint. Carnival Corp. & plc set the five-year target in 2015 relative to its 2005 baseline.

The progress on this and other fronts is detailed in the company's just-released 2016 sustainability report and on a new dedicated website.

'We continue to make significant progress toward our 2020 sustainability goals,' said Arnold Donald, president and ceo. 'I'm very pleased to report we expect to achieve our corporate reduction target ahead of schedule, thanks to a number of initiatives we've implemented across our 10 world-leading cruise brands.'

Also, Carnival is pioneering the use of liquefied natural gas in the cruise industry, with seven LNG newbuilds on order. In 2016, the company began using clean LNG to power hotel needs in port aboard the new AIDAprima. The seven future ships will have 100% of their propulsion and hotel power loads supplied by LNG.

An expanded partnership with Wärtsilä is expected to drive further gains in engine efficiency.

Carnival also continues to make progress in installing exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) to reduce sulfur oxide emissions and particulate matter in engine exhaust. By the end of 2016, 59% of its fleet was equipped with the systems, a percentage that has increased today.

Forty percent of the fleet was equipped with cold ironing capabilities by the end of 2016, enabling those ships to use shore power where available.

The company is on track to meet its goal of increasing the implementation of advanced wastewater purification systems, with a 3.3% fleetwide advance in 2016.

Waste reduction targets are on track, too, thanks to continued recycling programs and partnerships.

However, the company's efforts to increase water produced on board in order to reduce ships' reliance on ports for potable water are lagging.

In 2015, Carnival Corp. announced its 2020 sustainability goals, establishing 10 objectives for reducing its environmental footprint while enhancing the health, safety and security of its passengers and crew and promoting sustainable business practices among its brands, business partners and suppliers.

'We take our commitment to sustainability and the environment very seriously and take proactive measures to ensure that sustainability is ingrained in the core of our business practices,' said Bill Burke, Carnival's chief maritime officer.

As of last year the company operated 102 ships with total double-occupancy capacity for 221,000 passengers. More than 84,600 crew were at sea at any given time, and shoreside Carnival had 10,500 full-time and 2,100 part-time/seasonal employees. Its market capitalization was more than $38bn, while 2016 revenues were $16.4bn. Last year Carnival brands carried 11.5m passengers and visited more than 760 destinations.

The full 2016 sustainability report can be downloaded here.