Operating seastainably

We have an opportunity to make choices that can extend the life cycles of products and support sustainably sourced products to achieve a circular economy.

Sustainable seafood on every plate

While oceans are home to at least a million plant and animal species, it is estimated that approximately 90 percent of the world’s fisheries have been pushed to or beyond their limits. The use of unsustainable fishing methods and overfishing of our current resources have primarily contributed to the decline of global fisheries. Pollution, poorly planned development, and the effects of climate change have also contributed to the degradation of the underwater environment.

That’s why in 2016 we embarked on a path towards sourcing more sustainable seafood.

The goal is ambitious and a first for our industry, but it will ultimately allow our guests to join us in supporting making responsible seafood dining choices. To make that choice more accessible for our guests, our aim is to source 90% of wild-caught seafood from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified fisheries, and 75% of farmed seafood from Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)-certified farms in North America and Europe. Additionally, we will achieve MSC and ASC chain of custody certification for our global fleet, affirming that both wild-caught and farmed seafood all the way back to a sustainable fishery or responsible farm are traceable.

Our challenge will be the ability to source enough certified MSC or ASC product in specific regions. As a global company, we need to source product and find distribution channels within every region, and a concern will be sourcing in places that are behind, in terms of sustainability.

It’s not an easy road, but RCL wants to do the right thing for our customers and support organizations working to conserve the long-term viability of global fish stocks.

Reducing our plastics consumption

Healthy oceans are vital to the success of our company, and we understand our responsibility to protect the seas. In 2017, we began implementing an “on request” straws program onboard our ships and developed a task force to identify ways to minimize—and if possible, eliminate—the use of plastics aboard our ships.

Our newest ship, Symphony of the Seas’ features the latest steps in our drive to become plastic free—no plastic straws, stirrers or picks are used onboard. Plastic stirrers and picks are being replaced with FSC-certified bamboo and straws will be replaced with on request paper straws. Symphony is the first ship to implement this next step in our plastic reduction initiative and will soon by followed by the rest of the fleet.

Supporting a circular economy

We are developing and implementing improved sustainable and humane sourcing practices for key food commodities onboard our ships. We are well underway with our 2020 sustainable seafood goal and working towards sourcing cage-free eggs and pork from gestation crate-free producers by 2022. We have also recently committed to sourcing 100 percent of whole broiler chicken from GAP-certified sources by 2024 in North America and requiring these chickens be processed in a manner that utilizes a pre-shackle, multi-step controlled atmosphere processing style.

In 2016, we analyzed key food commodity categories to identify and prioritize commodities with the highest environmental impact. Then in 2017, we selected three products - coffee, tea, and sugar - to develop strategies to improve sustainable sourcing practices of each commodity by 2020.

Fishery improvement projects

Off the coasts of Peru and Ecuador lie some of the world’s most productive and vital fisheries, yet warming oceans and dwindling stocks are putting this critical source of nutrition and jobs at risk. That’s why we joined with WWF and a growing number of seafood buyers, retailers, and other businesses to advance more sustainable practices that can ensure a future for the region’s mahi-mahi fisheries.

For the thousands of artisanal fishers and their communities, mahi-mahi is their livelihood.

Through a multi-stakeholder approach to fishery improvement projects or FIPs, fishers are implementing changes that will enable them to meet the MSC standard. Since implementation, the FIPs have achieved many successes, including the establishment of a closed fishing season to allow juveniles to mature and reproduce; the adoption of national fishery management plans; the adoption of gear that limits sea turtle bycatch; use of logbooks to better monitor fish stocks; and the first-ever preliminary regional stock assessment for mahi-mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which is especially critical for managing the highly migratory stocks across international borders.

By engaging fishers and farmers in strengthening their practices, we are not just increasing the number of certified sources for our supply chain, but also boosting the overall supply of sustainably and responsibly produced seafood.

If it can be recycled, it will

We never release any untreated waste into the ocean.
It does not happen. That’s because we invest a lot of time and money into technologies that treat our wastewater and solid waste.

We believe that solid waste shouldn’t go into the oceans or landfills. Using the tried-and-true “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle” model, we’ve been able to reduce the average waste-to-landfill per available passenger to eight ounces per day–
far less than the average U.S. waste per person per day of 2.8 pounds.

How did we get there? First, we aim to reduce waste whenever possible. We work with our suppliers to reduce packaging materials and use more sustainable resources. Next, we re-use materials–participating in container return programs and establishing a donation database for our fleet. Finally, we recycle. All trash onboard our ships is hand sorted by our crewmembers to determine what can be recycled. Each of our ships is equipped with specially designed climate-controlled storage facilities that allow them to hold recyclables until the optimal and approved recycling time or until “Green Loading” hubs are reached.

75% of the waste landed from our ships never sees a landfill. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve set a new 2020 goal to reduce waste-to-landfill by 85% per passenger day from our 2007 baseline. This goal will get us even closer to achieving zero waste. To turn this goal into a reality and overcome infrastructure challenges in local markets, we plan to establish “Green Loading” hubs in all North American and Northern European itineraries as well as five additional markets. As part of this process, we also will be working with the hubs to obtain third-party zero waste certifications.

Exceeding national averages

The average person in the United States uses about 100 gallons of water per day. On our ships, we have reduced that average to 53 gallons of water per person per day in 2017. Additional water-saving initiatives include:

Installing new ice makers that use 65% less water than previous machines
Purchasing sink aerators and low-flow showerheads in crew and guest staterooms
Using water-reduction technology in kitchens and laundry facilities, including reduced-flow dishwashers, sink aerators and low- consumption laundry equipment
Re-using clean condensate water from ships’ air conditioning units in laundry areas

Onboard, fresh water is used for drinking, showers, sinks, toilets, galleys, pools and spas and is obtained in one of two ways: Producing it onboard through steam desalination or reverse osmosis; or by acquiring it from local sources, also known as bunkering.

Fresh water on a ship is a precious commodity,
and we go to great efforts in ensuring it’s used most efficiently.