Royal Caribbean and World Wildlife Fund unite in 5-year partnership

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On its face, this is a partnership that just makes sense.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., an industry pacesetter on environmental sustainability, hosts millions of guests every year on the world’s oceans, fully aware that healthy seas are the basis of its business. For that reason, and because it’s right, RCL demands ABC – Above and Beyond Compliance – surpassing environmental regulations as part of a nearly 25-year-old initiative called Save the Waves.

World Wildlife Fund, which began more than 50 years ago in Switzerland, shares this reverence for the oceans as a life-support system for everything on earth, including more than a billion people who rely on them as their main source of animal protein.

Today the two entities announced a five-year global partnership to help ensure the long-term health of the oceans, focused on strengthening RCL’s sustainable supply chain strategy and emission reductions through 2020.

“Our mantra at Royal Caribbean is ‘Continuous Improvement,’ and this partnership with WWF represents a great opportunity to make a big step forward in meeting our special responsibility to protect the oceans,” said RCL Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain. “It is also gratifying to see that our determination to make a meaningful difference is shared by our employees and our guests.

“This new partnership aligns all of us at RCL with WWF’s mission to conserve the world’s oceans. Together we are setting aggressive goals and together we will start implementing them right away.”

In addition to setting and announcing specific goals at the outset of this partnership, RCL and WWF are also working together to develop and announce new targets by June 30 aimed at furthering destination stewardship.

“The threats that are facing the ocean are greater than ever – in the last 30 years, some ocean wildlife populations have declined by nearly 50 percent,” said Carter Roberts, WWF-U.S. president and CEO. “If we are going to reverse the downward trends, we must take serious steps to repair, restore and protect the oceans.

“This initiative centers on two core concepts: first, committing to specific and measurable targets to reduce carbon emissions, increase sustainable sourcing and build destination stewardship; and second, comprehensively engaging their millions of travelers to learn about the ocean and then act to help save it.”

Environmental sustainability targets for 2020 already jointly developed by the new partnership include:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent.
  • Responsibly source 90 percent of its wild-caught seafood by volume from MSC certified sustainable fisheries, fisheries in full assessment for MSC certification, comprehensive Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), and/or sourced from International Seafood Sustainability Association (ISSA) member companies.
  • In North America and Europe operations, responsibly source 75 percent of its farmed seafood by volume from ASC certified responsible farms, farms in full assessment for ASC certification, and/or comprehensive aquaculture improvement projects.
  • By June 30, 2016, RCL will set specific traceability goals with targets for obtaining MSC and ASC chain of custody.

In addition, Royal Caribbean and WWF have agreed to develop and announce new targets by June 30 that will address destination stewardship. As part of this, WWF and RCL will collaborate to strengthen RCL’s destination sustainability assessment and selection process.

During the partnership, RCL will also contribute $5 million to WWF – which devotes 85 percent of its spending to worldwide conservation efforts – as well as collaborate on increasing awareness about ocean conservation issues among the millions of guests who cruise each year on RCL ships.

The organizations made their announcement at an event in Donsol in the province of Sorsogon, Philippines, home to a model community-based ecotourism program. At the event, RCL also made a separate, $200,000 donation to WWF-Philippines in support of conservation programs in the Donsol area.