The cruise operator has committed to offset three million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the next three years
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) - which operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises – has announced the creation of a long-term climate action strategy and goal to reach carbon neutrality through reducing carbon intensity and identifying and investing in carbon-reduction technology.
The steps the operator is taking includes exploring alternative fuels and implementing a voluntary carbon offset programme.
In addition to ongoing initiatives to reduce its emissions rate, the company has committed to offset three million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) over a three-year period beginning in 2021 to help bridge the gap in its decarbonisation efforts until new technology becomes available.
“We take climate change very seriously and have proactively developed a long-term strategy with an ambitious goal of reaching carbon neutrality through three action areas including reducing carbon intensity, identifying and investing in technology and implementing a carbon offset program. Our commitment to purchase three million metric tons of carbon credits is a measurable step in near-term emissions reductions which allows us to take action today and helps bridge the gap in our decarbonization efforts as we prepare for a lower-carbon future,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd president and CEO Frank Del Rio.
“Our global sustainability programme, Sail & Sustain, is centred around our commitment to drive a positive impact on society and the environment and our long-term climate action strategy reinforces this commitment and aligns with the vision of the Paris Agreement to achieve a climate neutral world,” he said.
The three focus areas of the NCLH’s long-term climate action strategy include:
1) Reduce carbon intensity. NCLH said it continually seeks opportunities to reduce its overall footprint by minimising fuel consumption and increasing energy efficiency. Ongoing investments in systems and technologies have resulted in a reduction of fuel consumption per capacity day of approximately 17% from 2008 to 2019 for the 28-ship fleet. It achieved an estimated approximately 14% reduction in CO2 emissions per capacity day across its fleet between 2015 and 2019. As nine new and more fuel-efficient vessels are introduced to the fleet through 2027, this rate is expected to further decrease.
2) Invest in technology and explore alternative fuels. NCLH has partnered with CLIA and other maritime organisations to propose the establishment of a collaborative shipping research and development fund dedicated to the ultimate goal of eliminating CO2 emissions from international shipping. If approved, funding would come from a contribution per tonne of marine fuel purchased for consumption and is expected to amount to US$5bn over a 10-year period. These funds will be used to finance the development of zero and near-zero GHG fuels and propulsion technologies. As new alternative fuel sources become available at sufficient scale in the future, it will evaluate how these can accelerate its long-term carbon reduction strategy.
3) Implement a voluntary carbon offset programme. NCLH has announced its commitment to purchase carbon credits to offset three million MTCO2e over a three-year period to help bridge the gap in decarbonisation efforts until new technology becomes available. Offset purchases are expected to ramp up in future years to reach the goal of carbon neutrality.
As part of its long-term climate action strategy, the cruise operator has launched a voluntary carbon offset programme in collaboration with World Kinect Energy Services, the sustainability division of World Fuel Services. NCLH has committed to voluntarily offset at least three million MTCO2e through 2023. NCLH said in a statement that this is the equivalent of 7,539,593,613 miles driven by an average passenger car or the amount of carbon sequestered in 3,675,533 acres of forests in one year. It plans to gradually increase voluntary offset purchases in future years to reach its goal of carbon neutrality based on Scope one emissions, which typically account for approx. 95% of its footprint.
World Fuel Services chairman and chief executive officer Michael Kasbar said “Our experts at World Kinect developed a tailored carbon offset solution that enables Norwegian to make immediate progress towards their long-term sustainability goals.”