Sustainability at AIDA doesn’t just include technological innovations. It also means acting in an environmentally friendly way, both on board and ashore. Whether ship furnishings, excursion programs, or product purchasing – the environmental impact is crucial for all of our decisions. Furthermore, we sensitize our employees and guests to sustainable behavior.
Personal environmental commitment
We don’t just want to impress our guests with our outstanding service. We also want to design our services to be as sustainable as possible. Our excursions perfectly illustrate how protecting the environment can be a lot of fun. We are careful to ensure that waste is disposed of or taken back on board during shoreside excursions. In our diving excursions, we make sure that our guests marvel at but do not touch the underwater world, as this ecosystem in particular is very fragile. For reasons of animal welfare, we do not offer trips to dolphinariums or elephant riding. At AIDA, we like to lead by example and sensitize our guests to sustainability.
In 2014 we outlined our ecological and social engagement in an informative film for our guests. The film is part of the nautical hour on board and can also be viewed at any time by interested guests on I-TV in their stateroom.
Our environmental officers are available on board as contact persons to answer any questions about environmental protection at AIDA. Our environmental officers are key players and contacts for our guests. They are responsible for ensuring that all legal requirements and the company’s own standards for environmental protection are complied with. We base our activities on local, national, and international legislation, such as the provisions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a special organization of the United Nations. Our environmental officers are supported by our internal sustainability organization and our integrated management system. What’s more, the environmental officers are also responsible for waste management and training employees on environmental issues.
The active involvement of all of our employees is essential for the success of our sustainability strategy. From their very first working day at AIDA, we sensitize our colleagues to the responsible use of natural resources. Every new crew member is obliged to complete special environmental training program on environmental management and how to deal correctly with resources, waste water, and waste. Our officers also give job-specific training that specially prepares officers, engineers, and managers on board for the environmental requirements of their daily work on deck or in the engine room. Transparency is particularly important here. In the event of legal or internal amendments, employees are immediately informed of the changes that are being made to everyday working procedures and the reasons for these. For us it is important not only that our employees are environmentally conscious in accordance with our guidelines but that they also understand why this is necessary.
In March 2015, AIDA and the climate protection organization atmosfair launched a climate protection program that sets standards in the cruise industry. The program features direct reduction of CO2 ship emissions along with voluntary CO2 compensation for cruises.
All AIDA guests may book the CO2 compensation of their cruises at www.aida.de under MyAIDA. By 2020 we want to have 20 percent of all AIDA guests make a voluntary contribution to climate protection with CO2 compensation.
Through atmosfair climate protection projects, AIDA compensates CO2 emissions from all business travel of its employees by plane or rental car.
The proceeds will go to a biomass power plant in northern India which produces green electricity from harvest residues for 40,000 households, saves 30,000 tons of CO2 annually, and contributes to the region’s development by offering new employment opportunities and income sources for farmers.
In a joint pilot project with atmosfair, AIDA Cruises also wants to evaluate the possibility of supplying its cruise ships with liquefied natural gas (LNG) which is manufactured entirely CO2-free with the power-to-gas method and wind or solar power. If successful, this could be the beginning of CO2-free cruises. Crucial for all ocean-going vessels are internationally uniform legal conditions and technical standards, in particular for the transport of LNG on board passenger ships, as well as technical standards for the relevant infrastructure in the ports. AIDA Cruises urges and supports the introduction of uniform standards and guidelines for the use of LNG on ships.
Protection of resources made easy
We can also achieve a great deal on board our ships with environmentally conscious action: In the hotel area, for example, we save around 30 percent of the energy required for lighting on all ships starting with AIDAsol through innovative lighting equipment and a comprehensive light management system. To be able to save even more energy, we of course also need the support of our employees and guests. To ensure that lights and air conditioning are not switched on unnecessarily, each guest on our four newest ships can use a key card switch to switch lights on and off when they enter or leave their cabins. To save more energy, all staterooms of ships from 2010 and later are equipped with a modern air recirculation system that includes waste heat recovery. The temperature in each cabin can thereby be controlled separately (HVAC Control System). This modern technology reduces energy consumption in the cabins by up to 20 percent. For operating air conditioning, we only use refrigerants that do not damage the Earth’s ozone layer. This has allowed us to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting refrigerants to zero.
Conserving water is also an important issue for AIDA. Through water-saving applications, including special shower heads, flow regulators on wash hand basins and showers, timer switches, and infrared control in washroom areas, along with the use of vacuum technology in the hotel and food area, we have been able to make continual reductions in the amount of water consumed per person and day in recent years.
Our paper-saving measures are a further important contribution to conserving resources. In the next section, we have compiled detailed information.
Our paper-saving measures are a further important contribution to conserving resources. Through numerous other initiatives, we have also significantly reduced the consumption of printer ink and toner.
At our company headquarters in Rostock, we exclusively use floor printers instead of individual printers at each workstation. Printing of documents is carried out only after confirmation by our employees directly on the printer. To save paper, we have set all printers to double-sided printing.
Since 2012, AIDA has been supporting the initiative “CEOs pro Recycling Paper.” In response to urging by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Naturschutzbund Deutschland), and the German Association of the Club of Rome, we immediately committed to using only recycled paper with the blue angel emblem for our office materials and printed documents. All the paper we use is certified accordingly. Where possible, our existing range of office supplies is being replaced by sustainable products or supplements to it. At the same time, material-saving and recyclable packaging is used.
There are many ideas for reducing paper consumption not just on land. Since the introduction of on-board invoicing in 2013, documents are now printed out on our ships only upon request. Only around 20 to 50 guests have their invoices printed out on board. That means we save an average of 4400 sheets of paper and envelopes per cruise. There are no drawbacks for our guests. After their trip, they can also view their invoices on MyAIDA at their leisure or receive them by e-mail.
So-called SignPads are another technical innovation. These devices enable electronic signing. They have been in use successfully since 2013 at check-in, and are increasingly being deployed for booking and organization of excursions as well. They are used for excursion bookings, issuing tickets, or handling, for example. Through the use of SignPads, AIDA avoids printing around 1 million receipts per year.
In 2013, we successfully tested the introduction of digital photo stations on board AIDAbella in the Photo Shop. These guests can view, individually select, and place an order for their personal vacation memories upon request. Thanks to digitization, AIDA has reduced the photo paper and chemicals used for development by around 50 percent – thus making another contribution to protecting the environment.
During the scheduled time in the shipyard of our ships, in 2014 digital photo stations were installed on board AIDAluna and AIDAvida and in the spring of 2015 on AIDAmar and AIDAdiva. One of a total of 11 digital photo stations on the latter two ships can also be individually adjusted, making it easy for children and wheelchair users to operate.
In 2014 we introduced the Digital Media Lounge on board our ships. In cooperation with the Internet portal i-Kiosk for newspapers and magazines from the Axel Springer Publishing House, AIDA guests are offered an exclusive range of media products that they can read on their mobile devices – notebooks, tablets, or smartphones.
Our guests can also inform themselves quickly and comprehensively with our own onboard media such as the port information and the onboard newspaper AIDA Today. For guests who don’t wish to do without their smartphones or tablets on vacation, port information and “AIDA Today” are available in digital format on the MyAIDA onboard portal, where guests can download the desired documents in PDF format at any time. The user figures for the MyAIDA onboard portal show that this service is very well received. The “cabin account,” FAQs, and the Onboard ABC functions are also digitally integrated on MyAIDA. With all of these measures, it is important to us that we take these steps together with the guests. Through their active involvement and ideas on saving paper, our staff on board and ashore contribute to our continuous reduction in consumption.
Sustainable operation of our fleets of ships and automobiles
It is of course the case that optimized operation of our ships also plays an important role in environmental protection. We have long since been traveling on many routes only with greatly reduced speed, saving a lot of fuel. Effective route management, specification of shipping lanes for route optimization, and adjustment of schedules and docking times are important factors in the reduction of fuel consumption on board.
In 2014 AIDA Cruises also began with the installation of the innovative energy monitoring and management system EMMA from ABB on its fleet. In this way we are setting new standards for energy management on board. In addition to collecting a comprehensive database of operational and technical information, the system’s main benefit is to give real-time decision support for operating the ship and its systems as close to the optimum as possible. For more information, see section “Innovative energy monitoring and management system”.
The motor pool of AIDA Cruises at the company headquarters in Rostock consists of 80 vehicles and corresponds to the latest standards. In 2014, we were able to reduce CO2 emissions of our pool vehicles from 130 to 125 grams per km.
In addition, the first electrically powered cars were added to our car fleet at the beginning of 2014. When new company cars are ordered, natural gas vehicles are also offered to employees. Since 2013 AIDA Cruises has been making a contribution to environmental protection through the use of car sharing. Pool vehicles were replaced by car-sharing cars, saving 1.7 tons of CO2 per car annually. In addition to improving the eco-balance, switching to the car sharing system also provides very personal advantages to AIDA workers. The attractive BMW models and the fleet of Minis can also be used privately. Employees at AIDA Cruises have another option to travel about in a way that is environmentally friendly and good exercise at the same time. At its location in Rostock, 20 company bicycles are available for use by employees. This option is used gladly and actively by the employees. Every year many employees answer the call to switch from car to bike and participate in a big way during the City Cycling campaign in Rostock. During the 2014 campaign, they all left their cars in their garages and traveled 13,854 kilometers with their bikes, thereby saving some two tons of CO2.
AIDA Cruises was recognized with the Green Fleet Award for its environmentally friendly motor fleet management in 2013. The prize is awarded by TÜV Süd and honors the most innovative and economical ideas for greater environmental protection in fleet management.
Environmentally friendly building and office solutions
In October 2014 AIDA Cruises moved into its new, modern, and light-flooded office complex AIDA Home in the Rostock city harbor. The complex can accommodate up to 400 people.
With the new building, AIDA Cruises also set an example in the area of sustainable construction. The new office complex was built according to the latest environmental standards and certified in May 2015 with the Silver quality seal of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) as the first office building in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to be recognized in this way.
In the evaluation of AIDA Home, factors including resource-conserving use of natural materials, renewable primary energy, and drinking water were examined. Criteria such as land use, accessibility, and thermal and sound insulation were also included in the certification.
For example, a combination of geothermal energy, vapor-compression refrigeration, and district heating is used for heating and cooling. AIDA Home also features a modern indoor climate concept with hybrid facade, thermal component activation, and displacement ventilation, as well as radiant heating and cooling ceiling panels. This guarantees a perfect indoor climate any time of the year.
Efficient lighting and a lighting control system ensure good visibility. This results in up to 60 percent energy savings and considerably reduced CO2 emissions.
The “Go Green” project is also centered on the reduction of our CO2 emissions. We’ve been cooperating with Deutsche Post (the German postal service) since March 2011 as part of this. By compensating for the resulting CO2 emissions, the mail we send is climate neutral. Our participation fees allow us to support climate protection projects in China, Africa and India.
In addition to technological efficiency, our comprehensive quality strategy is also part of our sustainability plan. In all our decisions, we always keep the overall context in mind. For us, sustainability and commercial success are not a contradiction, but the secret to our success.
When we purchase products, we make sure that they can be recycled and fed back into biological or technological processes. As in nature, as many products as possible that are used in one process should be recycled in another. This reduces generation of actual waste to a minimum. Over the long term, it is our goal to gradually evaluate all products used up to this point, including furniture, work wear, and food products [Link ID 1601 Allergy sufferers] to see if they can be recycled in biological and technological closed-loop processes. If necessary, adjustments will be made or these products will be replaced. For example: Since 2013, we have been gradually changing the carpets in the crew cabins of our ships during shipyard times. The new carpet flooring meets our requirements for sustainable products from closed-loop recycling processes. It is made from environmentally friendly and recyclable materials. In addition, the carpet flooring is non-hazardous to health throughout its life-cycle, from fabrication to recycling. It contains no components or substances that could emit hazardous materials during its manufacture or use. On our new ship AIDAprima, we even go a step further. In all passenger and crew areas, over a total area of about 64,000 square meters, AIDAprima will be furnished with environmentally friendly carpeting. The carpeting is made from natural and sustainable raw materials, mostly from lambswool. The carpets also fulfill the rigid provisions of the program Green Label Plus of the Carpet and Rug Institute. Once the carpeting has reached the end of its useful life, it can be returned to the manufacturer as part of an exclusive take-back program. This program will be further developed to the effect that, after its exchange, old carpeting from the entire AIDA fleet will be recycled and used as carpet underlay. This is a big step for the environment because thousands of tons of carpeting will no longer simply be disposed of after use but recycled and fed back into other loop processes.
Cradle-to-cradle-principle: example carpet tile
There are many further examples of comprehensive quality on board. We procure 90 percent of the flowers in our “Blütenmeer” shop from local suppliers in the destination areas. Our German flower sellers are all members of the organizations “FairTrade” and “Fair Flowers – Fair Plants.” The rubber ducks available at “Blütenmeer” are made from 100 percent natural rubber. All cosmetic and cleansing products on board AIDA are free of microplastics. In the Body and Soul Spa, we offer our guests high-quality products with purely natural ingredients. Our organic body care product lines are certified with the “Ecocert” and “Cosmebio” seals. They contain natural oils and plant extracts. You can even find organic lip gloss and mascara on AIDA. On AIDAprima, which will be put into service in 2015, an entire organic spa awaits guests. The spa Thermal Oasis is fully based on ecological principles in its design; it was built with natural materials and our treatment offerings are celebrated with organic products.
Picture carpets: steschum/Fotolia.com; Picture soil: M. Schuppich/Fotolia.com; Picture garbage truck: Ssogras/Fotolia.com
all other Picture: Desso