Making Sustainability A Buzzworthy Cause

Sustainability has become a buzzword lately, as more and more companies work to clean up their act to save the planet. We’ve seen sustainability initiatives from retail companies like Adidas, who has pledged to stop using any non-recycled plastic in their products. We’ve seen two massive hotel chains Marriot and Hilton pledging to stop using single-use bottles of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel in their hotel rooms in favor of large bottles that create less waste (Jake Tewel covered this, you can read his article here.)

There have been countless brands, pledging sustainability efforts, Allbirds has promised to be 100% carbon-neutral offsetting their carbon footprint by donating to environmental groups and using recycled materials. They have been consistently environmentally conscious, using only naturally sourced materials, and reimagining packaging by using 90% post-consumer recycled cardboard with multiple uses. And athletic brand Outdoor Voices, who use sustainable materials in all of their products including merino wool, and rec-poly made from recycled water bottles. Numerous brands have made sustainability and environmentally friendly pledges, and now a major cruise line is getting in on the action. 

Norwegian Cruise Line has decided to make their venture into sustainability, with a pledge to end all use of plastic on their entire fleet. But first, they’re starting with their brand new, Norwegian Encore, which will carry no plastic water bottles on its maiden voyage. This is a massive undertaking for the cruise line, and in the place of plastic water bottles, the Norwegian Encore will carry Just Water, which is a water brand in which water is situated inside a carton made mostly of paper, with the cap made entirely of sugar cane instead of plastic. Of all the materials used in the packaging of Just Water, 82% of them are renewable.

Just Water is undoubtedly becoming an active member of the sustainability movement; their paper cartons will replace six million plastic bottles every year. This is exciting for a variety of reasons, not limited to the insane number of plastic bottles that would have previously been used on a massive cruise ship. And Norwegian Cruises is no stranger to the sustainability movement; in 2018, they banned all plastic straws from their vessels. 

Skeptics of cruise liners keeping their sustainability pledges might point to the Princess Charlotte Cruise Line (an of Carnival Cruise) being fined 20 million for violating their probation on dumping waste in the ocean, but to be fair to Norwegian, they did ban plastic straws in 2018, and their leadership seems serious about the move to ban single-use bottles.  

A cruise line of this size and magnitude pushing for this kind of change could have extensive effects on the entire industry, and hopefully, this will lead to more companies following suit. Already we’ve seen several massive hotel chains make moves towards lowering their environmental impact, including Hyatt Hotels.

In 2014 Hyatt Hotels released its plan to tackle environmental challenges, promising to reduce food waste, began using a global ecological management database, Hyatt EcoTrack to collect data from all their hotels, and even a pledge to build their hotels in a more sustainable efficient manner, among other goals. Hyatt is also a signatory to the Hotel Owners for Tomorrow Coalition, which: “which sets forth commitments and five actions to promote sustainability across hotel owners in Asia, focusing on increasing awareness to address climate change risks and opportunities related to developments and investments.”

Norwegian Cruise has its own goals to increase sustainability among its fleet, the company releases a Stewardship Report every year, and have since 2016, which details things like Norweigan Cruise’s progress on sustainable sourcing, minimize waste to landfills, investing in emerging clean technology, and reduce their C02 emissions. 

 The CEO and President of Norwegian Cruise Andy Stewart, had this to say about the cruise line’s pledge: “We must take meaningful steps to preserve our oceans and the destinations we visit, “partnering with JUST is one of my proudest moments, as the head of our pioneering brand.” Stewart also acknowledged that the cruise line and its competitors still have plenty of work ahead of them to ensure that they are good stewards of the planet, but this is undoubtedly a positive step forward. 

Norwegian’s full implementation of this ban on single-use bottles will go into effect with their entire fleet by January 2020. 

Authored by Lianne Hikind

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