Geneva, Switzerland - January 19, 2023. MSC Cruises, the contemporary brand of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, launches a new global brand campaign entitled “Discover the future of cruising”, which will roll-out in more than 30 countries through a multi-channel global marketing campaign including TV, out of home, print media, digital and social media. With this new campaign, MSC Cruises will show how sustainability is at the beating heart of its daily activities and long-term growth strategy.
The TV spot was filmed on board MSC Cruises’ first LNG-powered and most environmentally advanced ship to date, MSC World Europa, which came into service late last year. While focusing on some of the unique environmental technologies and solutions of this new ship, the campaign also demonstrates the wider and long-standing sustainability commitment and progress across the brand’s fleet of 21 vessels and the broader Cruise Division of MSC Group. It is also the first campaign in the industry that squarely focuses on a brand’s sustainability commitment and makes it central to its engagement with consumers, travel partners and other stakeholders from the broader society.
Leading the industry towards sustainable cruising
With over 300 years of seafaring history, the family-owned MSC Group and its Cruise Division has long held a special relationship with our blue planet and has a fundamental commitment to protecting and preserving the oceans and the broader environment. “Already cruising is one of the best holiday options on offer for consumers today, but many of our guest don’t realise that is has important sustainability aspects as well. We have long had a steadfast focus on sustainable and environmentally responsible business practices and on protecting guests, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Today more than ever, brands like MSC Cruises recognise the vital importance of the environment, and a healthy and viable planet and this is why we think it is important for us to take a leadership role and make our sustainability commitments a key element of our discourse with consumers and overall society. Sustainability at MSC Cruises is central to the brand’s DNA and the way we operate as a business,” says Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group.
This is reflected in MSC Cruises’ Sustainability Action Plan, which establishes six key workstreams across the business: transitioning to net-zero emissions, scrutinising resource use and waste, supporting people, investing in sustainable tourism, building greener terminals, and procuring sustainably. Actions within the plan are accompanied by goals, with measurable targets.
“We have been investing heavily, for many years, in solutions and technologies that continuously and progressively reduce our environmental footprint. From 2017 to 2023, we invested more than eight billion euros in a more modern and efficient fleet with ten new vessels that have each been progressively more environmentally advanced than the last. The new brand campaign for MSC Cruises is a vital tool to explain to consumers and other stakeholders how our commitment to sustainability is articulated on our ships and across our business and showcases how central it is to everything that we do,” adds Pierfrancesco Vago. The Cruise Division’s efforts to date have contributed to a carbon intensity reduction of 35% since 2008, putting it in a good position to meet the industry wide IMO target of a 40% intensity reduction by 2030.
An ambitious roadmap to net-zero operations by 2050
The Cruise Division of MSC Group is firmly committed to achieving its long-term goal of zero-impact cruise operations by 2050 and is well advanced on this journey. “We have already virtually eliminated emissions like SOx and NOx from our operations and now we are focused on reducing carbon emissions with LNG. It is the fuel with lowest carbon emissions available at the scale we need. We have already got one vessel using it and two more under construction with the third planned to incorporate new technology to minimise methane slip and thus further reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions when using LNG,” says Linden Coppell, Vice President of Sustainability & ESG at the Company. “This is the first step in our journey that involves transitioning to LNG in the short-term, low carbon in the medium-term, and net-zero carbon fuels, including synthetic and bio LNG and synthetic and bio methanol, in the longer-term.As the low-carbon fuels aren’t yet available in any meaningful quantities, we are helping accelerate their development and scaling through our investments in ever more advanced ships and related environmental technologies. With every new cruise ship built, MSC Cruises introduces and tests new technical solutions that can utilise these fuels thus providing the encouragement needed to fuel suppliers and governments responsible for provision by showing them that we are ready and hungry for low and net-zero carbon fuels”, adds Linden Coppell.
Delivered in October 2022, MSC World Europa is MSC Cruises’ first LNG powered vessel. Compared to standard marine fuels, LNG nearly eliminates particulate air pollutant emissions, including sulphur oxides and fine particles, greatly reduces nitrogen oxides, and already achieves a CO2 reduction of up to 25%. LNG effectively paves the way for the adoption of low and net-zero carbon fuels, such as bio and synthetic-LNG, and ultimately green hydrogen, and enables the development of innovative technologies such as fuel cells. With this vessel, the Cruise Division of MSC Group is testing a solid oxide fuel cell technology that offers the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional internal combustion engines. The Cruise Division intends to make further advances with this technology in future newbuilds and scale up the use of fuel cells.
MSC Cruises’ second LNG ship, MSC Euribia, will be delivered in June 2023, while the third one, MSC World America, is currently being constructed and will be delivered in 2025.
Consistent progress across a range of areas
Whilst these major transitions happen, MSC Cruises is taking important steps to reduce its energy needs, including digitalisation, route optimisation and the introduction of a wide range of energy saving technologies.
“We are continually optimising the use of energy onboard through specific and highly innovative solutions, including intelligent ventilation systems and advanced air conditioning systems, with energy recovery circuits, which allow effective distribution of heat and cold. Our ships gather and transmit thousands of different data sets to dedicated expert teams on shore. This data is used to better understand how ships operate, and to continuously optimize the use of energy and improve efficiency across all areas of operations,” says Linden Coppell.
New ships’ lighting is provided by energy-efficient LED, while heating, ventilation and air conditioning system self-adjusts to the weather and the number of passengers onboard. In addition, hydrodynamic performance is optimised through propeller re-blading and drag reduction measures. Ship hulls are also coated with special paints that slow the growth of marine organisms, thereby reducing drag and improving energy efficiency.
Shore power technology has been fitted on all MSC Cruises’ new ships as standard equipment since 2017 and together with retrofits, covered 65% of the fleet total capacity at the end of 2022. Additional ships will be retrofitted as the ports on their itineraries make shore power available. MSC Cruises is committed to using shore power wherever possible.
Hybrid Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) are installed on the majority of ships of the fleet, which reduce sulphur oxide (SOX) emissions by 98%. Selective Catalytic Reduction Systems (SCRS) are installed on the newest ships, which reduce nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions by up to 90%. In addition, all LNG-powered ships will immediately solve the issue of NOX emissions to the same level as achieved through the SCR, thus constituting another significant advantage of LNG versus traditional fossil maritime fuel.
Onboard Environmental Compliance Officers manage a dedicated waste management team, which is responsible for collecting, segregating, and safely storing waste and recyclable materials, including plastics, paper and cardboard, glass, aluminum, and other scrap metals. Materials disposed of on board are compacted, separated or incinerated, and the segregated and residual material is carefully delivered to dedicated port reception facilities for recycling or disposal. By engaging with its suppliers, MSC Cruises has considerably reduced packaging waste, through more innovative packaging design.
Saving water and becoming water independent are also key areas of focus. MSC Cruises’ ships are equipped with modern water production facilities. Nearly all water used onboard is self-produced, with highly efficient reverse osmosis and/or evaporation systems producing clean freshwater from seawater. Each ship has the capacity to produce over 3 million liters of tap water per day.
MSC Cruises’ latest ships are fitted with advanced wastewater treatment systems, enabling the treatment of the wastewater onboard to a higher standard than many land-based wastewater treatment plants.
The Company is fully compliant with the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments. Vessels are fitted with approved and certified ballast water treatment systems. All ballast water is filtered, and UV treated before being discharged at sea to ensure that it does not contain harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens.
Protecting biodiversity and promoting sustainable tourism
MSC Cruises’ ships are designed and built to minimise impact on marine life. That is reflected, for example, in technologies that allow to reduce underwater noise. In addition, MSC Cruises agreed to support efforts to preserve the endangered sperm whale population in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. This is being done by re-routing ships in the area to the west and south of the Peloponnese, and southwest of Crete. Modifications of routes between April and October, when cruises operate in this region, help contribute to the survival of at-risk whales. MSC Cruises has also underlined its commitment to the sustainable development of its activities in the Mediterranean by signing the Sustainable Cruise Charter at the Blue Maritime Summit in Marseille. This voluntary agreement reaffirms and strengthens environmental protection efforts by committing the signatories to achieve a higher standard than existing regulations across 13 action areas.
The broader Cruise Division is also determined to play a role protecting wildlife and supporting habitat regeneration, thus making preservation another cornerstone of its overall sustainability commitment. As such, its flagship marine conservation program focuses on the waters around the Company’s own private island Ocean Cay in The Bahamas, 65 miles east of Miami. Once an industrial sand excavation site, Ocean Cay has been transformed by the Cruise Division into a private island destination, surrounded by crystal blue waters that are home to important marine species and coral habitats. In 2021, the design and development of the MSC Foundation’s new Marine Conservation Center on Ocean Cay was announced. A focus of the center involves working in collaboration with a team of academics and environmental experts to identify hardy species and genotypes of coral capable of surviving rising ocean temperatures.
MSC Cruises works closely with tour operators and industry partners to support and promote sustainable tourism practices. The brand has partnered with Travelife, a leading training, management and certification initiative for tourism companies committed to achieving sustainability.
MSC Cruises’ shore excursions team works with tour operators around the world to identify excursions founded on strong sustainability principles. Known as ‘Protectours’, these excursions are specifically designed to educate guests. Around 70% of our Protectours now include low impact transportation - including walking, cycling or kayaking - and many make a direct contribution to the environment through supporting species or habitat protection. For instance, more electric and hybrid shuttle buses are being used for guests to shuttle from ports to places of interest in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Spain and Sweden with MSC Cruises aiming to increase the utilisation of green ground transportation in the future.