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Cruise lines fail on ecological responsibility?

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Industry not going far in responsibility towards environment

New university research appears to show that the cruise industry is not going far enough in corporate social responsibility towards the environment and the destinations ships visit.

The study, by Leeds Metropolitan University and published this month in the journal Tourism Management, analyses the industry’s lack of disclosure and ranks companies through analysis of their corporate social responsibility reports and websites to provide “the first cruise sector sustainability reporting index”.

Around 65% of the 80 cruise companies worldwide that were analysed do not mention corporate social responsibility on their websites. Only 12 brands publish corporate social reports, belonging to only four companies: Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean International, TUI and Disney Cruises.

“Most companies report soft data, such as statements from their CEOs, that are easy to copy and do not show real change,” Dr Xavier Font, the study’s lead author explains.

“Companies mostly report on their corporate vision and strategy, their credentials and their governance and management systems, but they fail to report on actual performance data on many key environmental and socio-economic indicators. Reporting on emissions, effluents, waste or water is the result of eco-saving strategies and regulatory pressure. But not one of the 80 companies reports on the sustainability of the resources consumed or biodiversity actions, and few disclose their positive social or economic impact on destinations.”

The cruise industry has criticised the report. Industry body Clia UK declared the report “seriously flawed with inaccuracies”.

Industry stakeholders wanting a copy of the report need to complete this survey.

Travel Weekly

[pictured: Costa Cruises vessel enters Norwegian ports Molde and Andalsnes; courtesy Cruise Europe]

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