EVENT PARTNER 2-2021
Cruises and sustainability: At first glance, it doesn’t fit together
However, there is a lot of work in the industry to improve the environmental performance of sea travel. Former yacht captain Christian Mühleck explains, how to organise events at sea in an environmentally friendly way. Corporate events on cruise ships are very popular. Excluding 2020, we have seen growth of about 20% per year over the past ten years. Cruises are not uncontroversial. However, the debate has accelerated a pleasing development: More and more customers are keen to keep the environmental footprint of their maritime event with 100, 300 or more employees as low as possible. It is a way for all “Protagonists” to take part.
How is that supposed to work?
Let’s start with the shipping lines. It is their responsibility to drastically reduce the emissions of pollutants from their ships. Time and again, you hear that an oceanic power uses as much fuel as five million cars. I can reassure you: This is a rumour that reputable media (including Die Zeit) have often credibly refuted. Cruise travel has been subject to strict requirements for years, which aim to achieve a “climate-neutral cruise.” This is what the Nature Conservation Association NABU has proclaimed and assesses the development of the operators in an annual cruise ranking. Currently, a French shipping company occupies first place. Its thirteen ships are considered to be the most advanced fleet in the world in terms of environmental performance.
A milestone in achieving NABU’s goals is the standard use of marine gas oil in cruise ships. It is much more environmentally friendly than heavy fuel oil, which has to be called a dirty pump, which can be used on the soil of the refineries is left behind. This fuel is still used to power almost all container ships in the world, which account for 95%(!) of the total shipping traffic. Cruise ships have been banned for a long time. Not least due to a lack of global commitments and profit thinking, container shipping is unambitiously lagging behind its already low-set climate targets. So if you think that your weekly organic mango from Sri Lanka is more ecologically acceptable than a three day cruise, I recommend that you do research on the environmental performance of imported goods.
On the other hand, there are many positive things to report about cruise ships. Many are already converting to LNG. The result: 25% less carbon, 85% less nitrogen oxide and 95% less particulate emissions; others on hybrid engines to be used in particularly sensitive to be able to cruise sea areas without emissions. And did you know that modern cruise liners are almost self-sufficient? Almost everything on board is used, recycled, processed and composted in order to operate as climate-neutral as possible. The rigorous avoidance of disposable plastics on board saves millions of tons of plastic. Every year! In the avoidance and recycling of waste and food waste, this sector is a pioneer.
The obligation of charter providers
As a charter broker of events, incentives and conferences on cruise ships, you are also responsible for minimising the environmental footprint of the booked incentives. The emission levels of the world’s cruise ships should be adjusted to and to advise customers with a special focus on sustainability. Thus, an ecological statement can already be made with the choice of the vessel. Every ship trip can be climate-neutral and specially designed routing guarantee low-emission cruising. Every node less saves tons of fuel. That is why shipping lines should be given the speed at which they sail. This measure can reduce fuel consumption – and thus emissions – by about 40%.
Contributing as a group to the protection of our ocean
Even you as an organizer of a boat charter can do something! Charter brokers are happy to provide information about the ecosystems in which you will be travelling as a charter customer. About the people in the region visited, the flora and fauna, the sensitivity of the seas. It is not uncommon to develop ideas to show social responsibility as a group. Some participants of an incentive support local sustainability projects and so sometimes experience one of the most impressive memories of any company event to date, such as the employees of a Consulting group: Your incentive in the Seychelles coincided with the hatching season of sea turtles. Under the supervision of the local environmental authority, they were allowed to accompany the newly hatched boys on their dangerous way into the water in a joint “rescue operation. ”
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