Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel company and Europe’s number one cruise line, has announced the results from the fourth edition of its Sustainability Report, drafted in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines and taken from the fiscal year between December 2007 and November 2008.
“In 2008, which marked Costa Cruises’ 60th anniversary, we recorded substantial growth accompanied by increased commitment to social and environmental responsibility,” commented Costa Crociere S.p.A. Group Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi.
“Despite the impact of rising oil prices, the onset of the financial crisis and the economic downturn, we have invested in resources and process optimisation in order to maintain the high level of sustainability of our business.”
Setting more ambitious objectives through a system of internal procedures that reach beyond mandatory requirements laid down by local, national and international regulations, Costa Cruises achieved the following results in the area of Environmental Protection during the reporting period.
* A five percent reduction in fuel consumption per mile traveled (at about 339kg compared to about 356kg in 2007), with an equivalent reduction in the amount of CO2 produced. This decline was attained through the implementation of various on board energy-saving procedures, including the use of ecological silicone based coatings on the ship’s hull. These antifouling coatings both enhance hydrodynamic performance and reduce the growth of micro-organisms on the surface of the hull, without the cause of any toxic effects. Furthermore, various information campaigns are conducted on board, raising the awareness of crewmembers and guests about methods of electricity conservation.
* A five percent reduction in the consumption of potable water, per person on board the ships. This was achieved through the use of desalination plants which saw a capacity reduction form 240 liters in 2007 to 228 liters in 2008.
* An increase in the proportion of ‘special waste’ recycled, up from 26% in 2007 to 30% in 2008, amounted to 273,458kg. The ‘special waste’ (consisting of cooking oil, used batteries, neon lamps, photo developing fluid) generated on board Costa’s ships is handled using procedures and technologies allowing adequate collection, storage and subsequent disposal ashore. As overboard discharge of ‘special waste’ is strictly prohibited on all Costa Cruise ships, in 2008 some 30% of this type of waste (including 163,133kg of cooking oil) was recycled to produce energy or new material.
* An 8.5% reduction in the quantity of paper, plastics, glass and metal was achieved per person per day, down from 8.2 liters in 2007 to 7.56 liters in 2008. This included 1,675 m³ of glass and 451 m³ of aluminum sent for recycling. This garbage recycling program was subsequently extended to the ports of Civitavecchia (Italy), Tianjin (China) and St. Lucia (Caribbean).
Costa Cruises’ continued commitment to the defense of the marine environment is reflected in the extension of its partnership with WWF, which involves active support for a project to set up a network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean. This partnership has seen both parties working together on a global strategy for the Mediterranean in the form of the ‘Mediterranean Initiative’, ahead of the ‘2010 UN International Year of Biodiversity’ and ‘2012 UN International Year of Marine Biodiversity’, whereby Italy looks to establish an integrated network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean.
The alliance between Costa Cruises and WWF involves 4 Marine Protected Areas, with the dual aims of making existing areas, Miramare in Italy and Cabrera in Spain, more efficient and effective while promoting the establishment of new ones, including Cap d’Agde in France and La Galite in Tunisia. The Marine Protected Areas are vital to the conservation of biodiversity in the Mediterranean and the protection of various species on the brink of extinction. Testimony to Costa Cruises’ engagement in this area is its policy of banning the overboard discharge of bilge water (even when suitably treated) within the “Whale Sanctuary”, an area of the Ligurian Sea covering approximately 100,000 km² and densely populated with Mediterranean marine mammals.
Costa Cruises’ environmental commitment also goes beyond its fleet, embodied by the official commencement of the innovative “Palazzo Costa” project on 17 April 2008, a strategy to extend and redevelop the company’s headquarters in Genoa. The new offices will embody a unique blend of creativity, innovation and respect for the environment, with particular features displaying the cutting edge of Italian architecture. Furthermore, this structure will be one of Italy’s first buildings to produce zero CO2 emissions on site.
Also outlined in the report are the many initiatives Costa Cruises undertake in the field of Social Responsibility. Include within this section are: the extension of training programs and associated initiatives in order to enhance the professional growth of the employees;
The implementation of numerous activities in order to improve safety on board, including new fire, injury and accident prevention systems and procedures; and Costa Cruises onshore levels of safety, achieved through the management and control of operations and servicing of equipment at the Savona Palacrociere cruise terminal and the implementation of occupational health and safety measures at the Genoa warehouses.
The 2008 edition of the Sustainability Report has been produced in co-operation with the ‘Less CO2” project, whereby the amount of CO2 produced in printing the Report will be offset by investing an innovative industrial technique designed to reduce methane emissions in Italian landfills by providing local communities in Kenya with low energy stoves.
The Sustainability Report, available online at www.costacruises.co.uk from this December, is a purely voluntary form of reporting designed to provide comprehensive and transparent information on the effects of corporate activity on the environment and the community; in addition to its social, environmental and economic performance, the report also conveys the basic operating principles of Costa Cruises, currently the only cruise line in Italy that has its own environmental management system developed in accordance with the latest international standards (UNI EN ISO 14001, issued in 2004) and is also certified for social accountability (SA 8000, issued in 2001).
Costa Cruises’ commitment to safeguarding the environment and sustainable tourism is also reflected in the assignment of RINA’s (the Italian Shipping Register’s) Green Star. In 2005 Costa became the first company in the world to achieve this level of recognition for voluntary compliance certifying that all its vessels fulfill the environmental standards for the prevention of pollution of the marine environment, as well as in the partnership with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission for monitoring climate change in the Mediterranean.
Costa Cruises’ 2010 brochure includes around 240 eco-tourism excursions, comprising visits to parks, oases and nature reserves, with programs that minimize the impact on the ecosystem and create economic opportunities for the local communities.
The Sustainability Report has its roots in the application of the “B.E.S.T. 4” (Business Excellence Sustainable Task), an integrated management system that encompasses four types of voluntary certification of corporate compliance with the highest standards in the areas of quality (UNI EN ISO 9001, issued in 2008), environment (UNI EN ISO 14001, 2004), safety (OHSAS 18001, 2007) and social accountability (SA 8000, 2001), guaranteeing the measurement of company performance and continuous improvement. Costa Cruises obtained the B.E.S.T. 4 from RINA in 2004, thus becoming the first company in the world to do so.