Six months ago, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) embarked on a five-year journey to help ensure the long-term health of the world’s oceans.
The two organizations together set sustainability targets to reduce RCL’s environmental footprint, raise awareness about ocean conservation among the company’s more than five million guests, and support WWF’s global oceans conservation work.
The initial targets focused on reducing carbon emissions and ensuring sustainable seafood procurement. Today, WWF and RCL upped those commitments by announcing additional 2020 environmental sustainability targets.
This second phase will focus not only on RCL’s direct operations, such as the development of sustainable sourcing strategies for key soft commodities, but also on the sustainability of the company’s tour operators and destinations. This will be done through the endorsement of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s standard, an internationally recognized travel industry sustainability standard.
Today’s announcement represents a continued commitment by WWF and RCL to help safeguard the health of our oceans. Oceans cover 71 percent of our planet’s surface and make up 95 percent of all the space available to life. By working together to address some of the key threats to the oceans, we hope to create positive change on the water and ensure our oceans long-term health.
These new targets include:
Additional Sustainable Seafood Procurement 2020 Targets
- Obtain MSC and ASC Chain of Custody certification for Royal Caribbean’s global fleet of ships to ensure seafood marked as MSC or ASC certified is traceable to a certified fishery or farm.
- Eliminate the procurement of highly vulnerable species, including shark fin, identified by WWF utilizing IUCN and CITES rankings.
- Publically adopt the “WWF Traceability Principles for Wild-Caught Fish Products”
Key Commodity Procurement 2020 Target
- By the end of 2016, conduct an analysis of key food commodity categories in order to identify and prioritize commodities with the highest environmental impact.
- Using this analysis, develop strategies to improve sustainable sourcing practices by 2020.
Global Tour Operations 2020 Target
- RCL endorses the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standards and its certification framework for sustainable tourism.
- RCL will publicly recognize current tours that are verified against a GSTC-recognized sustainability standard. In addition, RCL will indicate which tours are verified to this standard and will categorize all of these tours under “sustainable tours” so that consumers can view our range of “sustainable” offerings.
- Starting in 2016, RCL will educate key staff by updating RCL’s Operations Manual for Tour Operators with GSTC standard and certification process and organizing supportive trainings.
- By the end of 2017, RCL will include educational information in the request for proposal bid invitations regarding RCL’s commitment to the GSTC standard and certified operators.
- By the end of 2018, RCL is committed to leveraging our influence in the marketplace to conserve and protect natural and cultural resources. As a cornerstone of our responsible tour sourcing policy, RCL will give preference to tours that are GSTC certified and to those that have made progress towards certification, when quality, price, and availability are equal.
- Investigate the option to offset carbon emissions, through WWF Gold Standard projects, for RCL shore excursions.
- By the end of 2019, all “sustainable tours” offered by RCL will be provided by GSTC certified operators and RCL will categorize all tours by GSTC certified operators under a sustainability designation so that consumers can search for and readily identify these options.
- By the end of 2020, RCL will increase the number of sustainable tours offered to guests by certifying 1,000 RCL tours by GSTC certified operators.
Destination Stewardship 2020 Target
- Beginning in 2016, RCL will support up to three WWF ocean tourism and coastal conservation projects per year to advance ongoing conservation efforts and continue to drive sustainability within the tourism industry.
- By the end of 2017, working with partners such as WWF GSTC, RCL will support the implementation of GSTC’s destination assessment in two destinations, as well as RCL private destinations, to identify sustainability and environmental threats and develop corrective action plans in concert with destination managers and local stakeholders.
- By 2018, RCL will set a target for RCL private destinations to become GSTC certified to the applicable GSTC standard.
- WWF and RCL will continue to pursue alignment with WWF ocean conservation priorities and WWF’s Marine and Coastal Tourism Strategy.
A full list of Royal Caribbean’s 2020 Sustainability Goals is available here. In addition, RCL has reaffirmed its corporate sustainability goals, including waste and recycling, wastewater, and water bunkering through 2020.