Sustainability at AIDA does not just include technological innovations. It also means acting in an environmentally friendly manner, both on board and on shore. Whether it is ship furnishings, excursion programs, or product purchasing – the environmental impact is crucial for all of our decisions. Furthermore, we make our employees and guests aware of how to act in a sustainable manner.
Personal commitment to the environment
Sustainability is firmly anchored in the corporate strategy of AIDA Cruises. Not only do we install modern technology on board our fleet, but we have also taken on the responsibility to make our offerings on board and on land as sustainable as possible and to raise awareness among our guests to make conscious decisions. Over the last two years, we have continually expanded the number of sustainable shoreside excursions. Success proves us right. Our bicycle tours, hiking excursions or trend sports such as stand-up paddle boarding have become increasingly popular among our guests. Those who want to take it easy can dive into the cultures of the travel destinations with AIDA and learn more about the country and people during city walking tours and culinary discovery tours. We are careful to ensure that waste is disposed of or taken back on board during our 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 make our guests aware of sustainability.
Our guests can access information on our ecological and social commitments at any time via I-TV in their staterooms. Interested guests can also inform themselves during the nautical hour, in which our Officers and/or Captains answer questions
Our environmental officers are available on board as contact persons to answer any questions about environmental protection at AIDA. They are responsible for ensuring that all legal requirements and the company’s own standards for environmental protection on board 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. An overview of our important standards can be found in the chapter "Standards" as well as additional detailed descriptions in the sustainability reports of Carnival Corporation. 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 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 correctly deal with resources, waste water, and waste. Our officers also provide 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. Here, transparency is key: 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” joined forces to start a climate protection program that sets standards in the cruise industry. The program focuses on initiatives such as a direct reduction of the ships’ CO2 emissions and voluntary CO2 compensation for cruises.
All AIDA guests can voluntarily book the CO2 compensation of their cruises at www.aida.de under MyAIDA. Starting in September 2016, our guests will be able to compensate the CO2 emissions of their flights to and from the ship.
Through atmosfair climate protection projects, AIDA is also compensating CO2 emissions from all employee business travel by plane or rental car.
The proceeds will go toward a biomass power plant in northern India, which produces green electricity from crop residues for 40,000 households, saves 30,000 tons of CO2 annually, and contributes to the region’s development by offering new job opportunities and income sources for farmers.
AIDA Cruises also aims to work with atmosfair in a joint pilot project to test the opportunities of utilizing LNG (liquefied natural gas) to power cruise ships in the future, which would completely eliminate CO2 emissions by using power to gas methods and wind or solar power. Crucial for the future use of LNG in all ocean-going vessels are internationally uniform legal conditions and technical standards. This applies in particular to the transport of LNG on board passenger ships, as well as to the technical standards for the relevant infrastructure in the ports. AIDA Cruises is committed to expanding the possibilities for using LNG and has taken on a pioneering role in the cruise industry.
More information about CO2 compensation and our cooperation with atmosfair is available under “Climate-conscious cruise.”
Moreover, ADIA Cruises became a member of the Stiftung 2° in 2015. The foundation is named after its most important objective: limiting average global warming to two degrees Celsius. 2° Foundation is a CEO initiative and stands for long-term entrepreneurial commitment to climate protection. Together with academia, society, and policymakers, the supporters are working on specific solutions for ambitious and effective climate protection over the long term. AIDA is represented by the CEO of the Costa Group, Michael Thamm, who is supported by Dr. Monika Griefahn, Director of Environment and Society at AIDA Cruises.
Together with additional member companies of the 2° Foundation, AIDA made a statement on the occasion of the negotiations at the World Climate Conference 2015 in Paris, affirming AIDA Cruises' commitment to environmental protection. Dr. Monika Griefahn, Director of Environment and Society at AIDA Cruises, took part in the journey on the "Train to Paris" on November 28, 2015. This special train of the Deutsche Bahn AG was part of a joint project of several European countries and took a German delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21. Also on board were Minister of the Environment Dr. Barbara Hendricks, State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter (BMUB) as well as other representatives from politics and business.
Resource conservation made easy
On board our ships, we can achieve a lot with environmental awareness: In the hotel area, for example, we save around 30 percent of the energy required for lighting on all ships that were commissioned starting in 2007 through innovative lighting equipment, the use of LEDs, 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, our latest ships use key card switches, which allow guests to switch the power on and off when they enter or leave their staterooms by inserting and removing their stateroom key. 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 stateroom 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. 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 initiatives for reducing paper consumption not just on land. Since 2013, board invoices are only printed on our ships on request. Per voyage, only around 20 to 50 guests have their invoices printed out on board. That means we save an average of 4,400 sheets of paper and 1,100 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.
SignPads are used during check-in and for booking and organizing excursions, which allow guests to sign electronically. This enables AIDA to avoid printing around 1 million invoices per year.
All AIDA ships have digital photo stations on board. The underlying principle is simple: On board, our guests can view the finest shots of their personal vacation memories at the digital photo stations. If they would like to take a photo souvenir home with them, they can select the desired picture on the screen and order it on request. This allows us to save around 50 percent on paper and chemicals for developing the photos. This is also an important contribution to resource conservation. The height of one of the eleven photo stations on board can also be individually adjusted, making it easy for children and wheelchair users to operate.
In cooperation with the Internet portal i-Kiosk for newspapers and magazines from the Axel Springer Publishing House, we offer our guests an exclusive range of media products on board the AIDA ships for their mobile devices such as notebooks, tablets or smartphones. Therefore, we are able to offer our guests an attractive service, as they are able to access their favorite reading materials on a daily basis from anywhere, and we also save valuable resources.
Our guests can also inform themselves quickly and comprehensively with our own onboard media such as the port information and the onboard newspaper AIDA Heute. For guests who do not wish to do without their smartphones or tablets on vacation, port information and “AIDA Heute” are available in digital format on the MyAIDA onboard portal. Here, 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 “Stateroom 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.
Environmentally-conscious operation of our ship and car fleets
Optimized operation of our ships, of course, also plays an important role in environmental protection. We have long since been traveling on many routes 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. By doing so, we are setting new standards for energy management on board. In addition to establishing 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 fleet of AIDA Cruises at the company headquarters in Rostock consists of 90 vehicles and corresponds to the latest standards. CO2 emissions from our pool vehicles is only 125 grams per kilometer.
In addition, our fleet includes two electric vehicles, which are well suited for city driving from the office to the ship. 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 vehicles, 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. In 2015, AIDA employees traveled 18,027 kilometers by bicycle, thus saving approx. 2.6 tonnes of C02.
Environmentally friendly building and office solutions
In October 2014, AIDA Cruises moved into its new, modern, and well-illuminated office complex AIDA Home in the Rostock port, which offers space for up to 400 employees.
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. In 2015, the new office complex was awarded the Silver certification from the German Sustainable Business Council. Because new standards for sustainable building have since come into effect at an international level, AIDA Home was recertified as Gold in July 2016. This makes the new office complex one of the most sustainable buildings in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
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 the 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 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 was furnished with environmentally friendly carpeting. The carpeting is made from natural and sustainable raw materials, mostly from lamb's wool. 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 rather recycled and fed back into other loop processes.
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, 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.
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