Is Carnival Corporation Creating Waves with its Climate Change Efforts?
With a portfolio of ten brands, Carnival Corporation (Carnival) – a giant in the cruise industry – carried 10.8 million passengers in 2015 onboard their 99 ships, which accounted for 47% of global cruise guests in the industry and generated $15.7 billion in revenue . In an industry with 230 cruise ships , Carnival has a significant responsibility towards investing in the reduction of greenhouse gases, and it has become an industry leader with its efforts to move towards a greener fleet.
Several of Carnival’s new ships that they have ordered will be powered at sea and at port by liquefied natural gas . In addition, Carnival has undertaken various efforts throughout 2015 to further reduce its fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions such as: air lubrication systems, exhaust gas cleaning systems, and alternative fuels . Carnival aims to reduce its CO2E emissions by 25% in 2020, and is well on their way towards accomplishing this feat by equipping 41% of their fleet with new technologies. With its intended reduction of greenhouse gasses, Carnival will reduce the impact of its cruise ships on ecosystems and communities across the globe.
Additionally, Carnival’s cruise ships waste streams, which come from various sources onboard, have remained a focus area for Carnival’s environmental efforts. The waste from ships is a factor that adds to greenhouse gas emissions because the waste is hauled onshore to landfills. To reduce waste generated, Carnival has worked with its supply chain to reduce packaging that is used onboard the ship and has also begun to use more recyclable goods. Similar to Carnival’s plan for fuel emissions, they seek to reduce waste generated by 5% by 2020 . Likewise, Carnival has started working with partners onshore to reduce the amount of waste that is transferred to land once the ship docks.
With these efforts in mind, it is not a mystery why Carnival has led the cruise ship industry in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas and waste. The cruise industry plays a major role in the reduction of greenhouse gases because of its popularity and of its global reach. Although Carnival has begun to address greenhouse gases through shifts in its business model, there are further actions the company can take. These actions are as follows:
- Encourage its onshore tourism partners to become eco-friendly with their practices. For example, encouraging hotels and restaurants at the ports Carnival visits to begin shifting towards cleaner energy sources.
- Continue to encourage its supply chain to move towards biodegradable or recyclable packages that can be used onboard
- Determine the feasibility of using electric motors for the ships or continue to invest in further studies that would further the reduction of fuel consumption
- Implement a set of practices that encourage guests to reduce energy usage onboard and to properly dispose of waste
- Utilize energy efficient appliances, electronics, and lighting onboard the ships
The ability to vacation aboard a cruise ship is an experience that generates fond memories. As the world continues to face global warming challenges, the cruise industry must follow a set of practices similar to or beyond what Carnival has accomplished to date. However, as tourists, we must also remember that the responsibility to become an eco-friendly tourist is in our hands. When traveling aboard a cruise ship on your next voyage, recall the importance a simple wrapper can have on the environment. Equally important is the ability for cruise companies like Carnival to continue investing in technologies that enable eco-friendly tourism to occur. Only then, will tourists have the opportunity to continue traveling to various destinations across the world aboard a greener ship.
 Carnival Corporation & PLC, 2015 Annual Report. [http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9NjEyNDM0fENoaWxkSUQ9MzI2MDQ1fFR5cGU9MQ==&t=1], accessed November 2016
 https://www.epa.gov/vessels-marinas-and-ports/cruise-ship-discharges. “Cruise Ship Discharges”, accessed November 2016
 Carnival Corporation & PLC, 2015 Corporate Sustainability Report. [http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9MzQ3Nzc0fENoaWxkSUQ9LTF8VHlwZT0z&t=1&cb=636057548483138037], accessed November 2016