MSC Cruises presents its Sustainability Action Plan report 2022


While last year was again marked by the challenges brought by the pandemic, MSC Cruises made significant progress in its sustainability practices. We share below the report presented by the shipping company.

The MSC Cruises Sustainability Action Plan, developed with the active participation of employees and external partners, establishes six key work streams across the business: Transition to net-zero emissions, Scrutinizing resource use and waste, Supporting our people , investment in sustainable tourism, construction of greener terminals and sustainable purchases. The actions within the plan are accompanied by measurable goals. Wherever possible, these align with relevant industry-approved metrics. These six key work streams fall within the company’s four sustainability focus areas: Planet, People, Place and Sourcing.

The MSC Group Cruise Division Sustainability Advisory Council, which includes the MSC Cruises brand and is chaired by Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, is responsible for ensuring the continued relevance of the sustainability strategy and for reviewing progress, guiding and backed by the Sustainability Team. 

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the MSC Group Cruise Division, said, “As we navigated through the turbulence of the past two years, we have remained focused on sustainable business practices and protecting our guests, employees and the communities in which we operate. Today more than ever, we recognize the vital importance of our environment and a healthy and viable planet. We are strongly committed to achieving our long-term goal of zero-impact cruise operations by 2050 and we are well along on this journey.”

“At the same time, as a company and industry, we are investing heavily in the accelerated development of environmental technologies and solutions that do not yet exist to make these goals attainable. It must be recognized that for this effort we also need the full commitment of governments and other public and private entities to ensure, for example, that adequate infrastructure exists on land and that green fuels are available at scale for our ships around the world. We cannot do this alone.” 

Linden Coppell, Chief Sustainability Officer of MSC Cruises, added, “The suitability and relevance of our sustainability strategy and action plans have been confirmed through a materiality assessment that requires engagement from employees, guests and other key stakeholders, it helped us prioritize our sustainability issues. For each of them, we have established clear metrics so that we can measure progress. Through our future annual Sustainability Reports, we will be held accountable for achieving our goals.”

In 2021, progress has been made in all areas of the MSC Cruises Sustainability Action Plan, and these are the highlights:


1. Transition to net zero emissions 
Energy efficient operations across our fleet support our net zero journey. In 2021, we conducted advanced testing of energy efficiency measures on MSC Grandiosa, reducing emissions by 8% compared to design performance. We are committed to replicating these measures in the rest of the fleet.

Our goal is to limit SOx, NOx and particulates, especially in ports. By the end of 2021, 14 of our ships were equipped with hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, reducing SOx by 98%. Our three newest ships have selective catalytic converters, which convert NOx into harmless nitrogen and water.

By the end of 2021, seven of our 19 ships, including new ones, had been equipped with shore power capability. This allows the onboard engines to shut down, reducing emissions. We are committed to using these systems whenever power is available.

A key step on our path to net zero is collaborating with technology providers to support and test new energy systems, as well as new low- or zero-emission fuels. We are also working closely with governments to encourage effective policy measures to support an industry-wide transition.

Speed ​​has a big impact on emissions. In 2021, we carried out a comprehensive review of our itineraries, resulting in an average speed reduction of more than two knots, compared to 2019.

2. Resource Use and Waste Scrutiny
Our goal is to reduce onboard water demand by 3% per year for each ship, through a combination of usage monitoring, installation of water-saving technologies, and shipboard training and education. crew.

All MSC Cruises ships are equipped with approved and certified ballast water treatment systems. In 2021, 100% of the ballast water was filtered and UV treated before being discharged into the sea, to ensure that it does not contain harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens that can harm the local environment.


3. Supporting our people 
In 2021, we continue to invest in the well-being of our employees, both on board and ashore, keeping them safe and supporting them physically and mentally. Despite the ongoing pandemic, we also maintained our extensive training programs, ensuring our teams were compliant with mandatory systems and prepared for the introduction of new technology and future changes. We also remain committed to building a healthy and diverse work culture throughout the company.


4. Investing in sustainable tourism 
Our excursions team has worked with tour operators to identify excursions based on strong principles of sustainability. Known as ‘Protectours’, these excursions are specifically designed to educate our guests. About 70% of these tours include low-impact transportation such as walking, biking, or kayaking, and many make a direct contribution to the environment by supporting species or protecting habitat.

We partner with Travelife to provide training and capacity building for all tour operators we work with. Travelife is an initiative for tourism companies committed to achieving sustainability: its specialized indicators, based on the criteria of the World Council for Sustainable Tourism Industry Standard, focus on the impact of the supply chain and the responsibilities of tour operators.

We are committed to fully playing our role in protecting natural ecosystems, supporting initiatives that promote responsible and sustainable tourism. Through the MSC Foundation, we support wildlife protection and habitat regeneration, particularly for oceanic species, including around our island destination, Ocean Cay. In 2021, we also began working with various NGOs to identify new ways to avoid whale strikes.

5. Building greener terminals
In 2021, we continue to invest in new sustainable terminal facilities, and work has progressed on several of them. The Durban Cruise Terminal in South Africa became operational in December 2021. It was the first South African port to resume MSC Cruises itineraries since the start of the pandemic. The construction of the new MSC Cruises terminal in Miami began in the summer of 2021 with a comprehensive environmental and social management system in place for the construction and subsequent operation of the terminal. A third new MSC Cruises terminal is under construction in Barcelona and is scheduled to be operational in 2023.

We are committed to meeting LEED certification for all new terminals we invest in. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a widely used global green building rating system. Its rigorous score-based systems ensure high levels of efficiency in building design and operation.


6. Sustainable
purchasing In 2021, we created a new internal committee dedicated to ensuring that our procurement approach has a positive impact on society and minimizes damage to the environment. It is made up of heads of purchasing, logistics, and sustainability, and meets every two months to review operating standards across our supply chain and identify specific opportunities for positive change.