Having promoted cruising for more than 38 years, Landry & Kling co-founder/CEO Joyce Landry often felt that her private role as environmentalist, animal activist and advocate to address climate change were in conflict with her cruise industry support. She now seeks to align the company's culture with her personal values.
Landry & Kling created SustainableShips.com to help planners, group organizers and consumers evaluate who they want to do business with based on each cruise line’s sustainability practices, to help suppliers of environmental services access the cruise industry and to aid and support the industry toward a more sustainable future.
Landry envisions a forum to support and promote lines that are at the forefront of the sustainability movement with proven policies and significant investment in technologies that seek to improve ocean health and provide a healthy environment for passengers and crew.
The platform will communicate sustainable practices of individual lines to the public, so they can make buying decisions based on their values. It also will provide a sustainability assessment for each line/ship highlighting corporate culture, fuel efficiency, waste handling, plastic reduction/recycling, healthy cleaning products, disinfecting measures and other criteria. This will involve an advisory panel including industry experts and ocean scientists.
Marketplace for vendors of sustainable products
SustainableShips.com also plans to be a marketplace for vendors of sustainable products and resources aimed at the cruise industry. A further objective includes being a funding source for organizations devoted to ocean cleanup and sustainability.
Given L&K's expertise in meetings at sea, the Miami-based company also aspires to be the mouthpiece for sustainable cruise practices to the corporate MICE market, adhering to policies outlined by the Green Meeting Industry Council.
Ultimately, SustainableShips.com wants to be a catalyst for change that inspires cruise lines to do more in the area of sustainability for the greater good.
The tipping point
'I’ve been working on a sustainability platform for over a year, but it was COVID-19 that gave me the breathing room to bring it to fruition and the team to make it happen,' Landry said. 'We’re not selling cruises right now, so we were able to put our energy to other uses.'
What pushed Landry over the edge was attending a climate conference at the University of Miami in January and being labeled as the 'enemy' by one of the attendees who saw her business affiliation.
'That’s when I decided that we — the cruise industry — needed to change the narrative,' Landry said.
She thinks cruise lines have a tough time with credibility when it comes to promoting their sustainable practices because that is seen as self-serving. A third party like L&K, she said, can more effectively take this on.
Landry cited a growing market of consumers with 'eco-anxiety,' who are making buying decisions based on sustainability. There is no body or regulatory agency that is qualifying sustainability for the cruise industry, she continued, thus there could be a good amount of 'green washing' in sustainability statements.
'Our sustainability assessment is a step toward distinguishing the practices and commitment of each cruise line toward sustainability,' Landry argued.
First up: Hurtigruten
The first in the livestream interview series, 'The Future of Cruising,' features John Downey, president of the Americas, Hurtigruten, which launched the world's first hybrid electric cruise ship, Roald Amundsen, last year.
The webcast is set for 1 p.m. EDT Friday. Registration is here.
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