Norwegian Cruise Lines Creates Industry-First Carbon Offsets Program

Norwegian Cruise Lines is making carbon offsets available to its guests – the first in the industry to do so. 

Cruise lines, of course, consume huge amounts of fuel. Travelers will be able to offset the emissions associated with their vacation by paying just $10 per person. 

Those funds will directly support wind and solar projects  being developed by NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE), North America’s largest renewable energy producer (the energy development arm of utility Florida Power & Light).

Carbon offsets are controversial because instead of directly reducing emissions, they allow the emitter to pay for projects that reduce emissions elsewhere. Many say they allow companies and individuals to justify continued carbon-intensive practices and lifestyles. If they are combined with direct emissions, however, and the offsets go to certified projects, they can play an important role in the expansion of clean energy sources. 

Norwegian Cruise Lines has received accolades for its environmental practices, including a 2010 Gold William M. Benkert Marine Environmental Protection Award from the US Coast Guard – the first for a major cruise line. It also won one of the first Gold Level Green Gateway Awards from the Port of Seattle, which recognizes environmental achievements of the Port’s cruise and containership operators.

Norwegian is accredited to the international ISO14001 standard for Environmental Management Systems, which means the cruise line uses a core set of standards to continually improve operating efficiency and environmental impact. 

A trained Environmental Officer travels on every ship whose sole function is the implementation, training, oversight, and verification of shipboard environmental compliance.

Ongoing initiatives include reducing onboard solid waste through reuse and recycling; treating black and gray waste water to near drinking standards; and an environmental education program that has taught 473,000 children and youth passengers over the last five years.

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