Sustainable Procurement within the Cruise Industry

Evironmental Procurement

Sustainable Procurement

The maritime industry as a whole keeps taking consistent steps towards going green in accordance with the International Maritime Organization (IMO is an agency part of the UN) and MARPOL’s rules, which have been updated over the last decades. Cruise lines, as part of the maritime industry, are pioneers in maritime environmental protection and constantly committed to responsible tourism.

Two of the main causes of pollution, of the air and the sea, are:
1) the exhaust fumes which is the level of nitrogen oxide released by the engines’ vessel. Cruise operators have been urged to switch to cleaner fuel alternatives with a lower sulfur content by 2020, but few have heeded these calls. A reducing of carbon emissions by more than the 40% is expected anyway by 2030 – in comparison with 2010;
2) the single use plastic items which are disposable plastic products from such as straws, drinks bottles, cutlery and shopping bags.

Cruise ships have often been described as ‘floating cities’, and as environmental groups have pointed out that they are just as, if not more polluting. That has been pushing crusie companies to develop effective environmental strategies focused on sustainable procurement.

How could the procurement department of a cruise company, support the development of a such environmental oriented culture? Suppliers and service providers could cover a wide range of products and services coming from different sources enabling each single cruise company to operate world-wide. Sharing the same values and visions, with all the entities involved within the supply chain, aims at merging companies’ culture focused on achieving the common final goal: doing business on a sustainable way striving to build a long-term relationship, growing together, protecting the environment. Today cruise companies are committed to use cleaner fuels, eliminate single use plastic items and reduce the waste of any plastic related to the on-board operations. The main target shall be that all the single use plastic items and all the packaging used for wrapping products purchased for the operations, both land based and on-board, have to be recyclable, reusable or biodegradable. The purchasing and the use of single use plastic items, breaching environmental company’s policies and regulation, shall be prohibited.

Top and middle management, buyers and all the people involved in any purchasing, sourcing and contracting activity must commit themselves to raise awareness among their company and all the suppliers on how enhancing an environmental sustainable procurement stratetgy to constantly reduce the environmental impacts by: reducing plastic content, reducing energy consumption, preventing pollution to air, ground and water, disposing of chemicals and hazardous waste in an environmental safe manner and ensuring that workers and employees handling hazardous waste have the right competence and are adequately trained

The common final goal is to enforce the engagement towards a sustainable business as whole based on environmental corporate social responsibility (ECSR ). ECSR is a concept where companies integrate environmental concerns in their business operations and the interaction with stakeholders, without compromising economic performance

Company’s values are the beating heart, the DNA of a business. They are the cornerstones of each company and they support the vision, they shape the culture and establish future directions. Therefore, building up a company culture focused on sustainability, as a second habit for all the employees, is a great way to help our environment and perpetuate the importance of conservation. Implementing environmental practices, as part of the company’s values, is an effective way to let employees know that the company is doing business in a sustainable way and do seriously care about our environment. A sustainable procurement strategy will always play a key role in that.