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Royal Caribbean, World Wildlife Fund pact aims to cut CO2 emissions 35%

The partnership includes a $5m contribution by Royal Caribbean to support WWF's oceans conservation work and $200,000 to WWF Philippines for programs in the Donsol area. The announcement was made in Donsol. Richard Fain is pictured, far right
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2020, sustainable sourcing, destination stewardship and public education are elements of a new partnership between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and World Wildlife Fund. The five-year global partnership, whose goal is helping ensure the long-term health of the oceans, also involves a $5m donation to support WWF's conservation work.

The partners said they'll set measurable and achievable sustainability targets to reduce Royal Caribbean’s environmental footprint and raise awareness about ocean conservation among the company’s more than five million passengers. 

The targets focus on supply chain sustainability and emissions reductions through 2020. Royal Caribbean and WWF also are working together to develop targets that strengthen the company’s sustainable sourcing strategy and its destination stewardship and sustainable tour operations platforms.

'Our mantra at Royal Caribbean is "continuous improvement," and this partnership with WWF represents a great opportunity to make a big step forward in meeting our special responsibility to protect the oceans,' Royal Caribbean chairman and ceo Richard Fain said in announcing the partnership during an event Monday in Donsol, Philippines.

Fain added the company's determination to make a meaningful difference is shared by employees and guests. 'This new partnership aligns all of us at RCL with WWF’s mission to conserve the world’s oceans. Together we are setting aggressive goals and together we will start implementing them right away.'

Carter Roberts, WWF-US president and ceo, said the threats facing the ocean are greater than ever. In the last 30 years, some ocean wildlife populations have declined by nearly 50%.

'If we are going to reverse the downward trends,' he said, 'we must take serious steps to repair, restore and protect the oceans.'

The initiative is built on two core concepts: committing to specific and measurable targets to reduce carbon emissions, increase sustainable sourcing and build destination stewardship, and comprehensively engaging the millions of Royal Caribbean travelers to learn about the ocean and then act to help save it.

Royal Caribbean and WWF jointly developed new 2020 environmental sustainability targets for the company that include the 35% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2020.

Another goal for the cruise operator is responsibly sourcing 90% of its wild-caught seafood by volume from Marine Stewardship Council-certified sustainable fisheries, fisheries in full assessment for MSC certification, comprehensive Fishery Improvement Projects and/or from International Seafood Sustainability Association member companies.

In North America and Europe operations, the company is to responsibly source 75% of its farmed seafood by volume from Aquaculture Stewardship Council-certified responsible farms, farms in full assessment for ASC certification and/or comprehensive aquaculture improvement projects.

In addition, by June 30, Royal Caribbean will set specific traceability goals with targets for obtaining MSC and ASC chain of custody.

Royal Caribbean and WWF also agreed to develop and announce new targets by June 30 that will address destination stewardship. As part of this, they will collaborate to strengthen Royal Caribbean's destination sustainability assessment and selection process.

And the cruise operator will support WWF’s global ocean conservation work through a $5m contribution during the partnership, and will collaborate with WWF to build global awareness about ocean conservation issues among its millions of passengers.

The organizations announced their partnership at an event in Donsol, Sorsogon, that is home to a model community-based ecotourism program. At the event, Royal Caribbean also made a separate, $200,000 donation to WWF Philippines in support of conservation programs in the Donsol area.