At AIDA, sustainability covers more than just using innovative technology - it is an established practice both on land and at sea. Whether in relation to ship’s equipment, excursion programs or product purchasing, environmental sustainability shapes all of our decisions and is an indication of all-round quality. We also educate our employees and guests on how to act sustainably.
Personal environmental management
Sustainability is a deeply-rooted component of our corporate strategy at AIDA Cruises. We do more than just installing modern technology on our fleet of ships: we assume responsibility for making our offerings on land and at sea as environmentally friendly, healthy, culturally diverse and sociable as possible, and to raise the awareness of our guests when making decisions.
Over the course of the last two years, we have steadily added to the number of sustainable land excursions that we offer. Our success has proved that we were right to do so. Our bicycle tours, hiking trips and trend sports such as standup paddle-boarding are enjoying ever greater popularity among our guests. For those who prefer less hurried pursuits, AIDA helps its guests to immerse themselves in the local culture and learn more about the country and its people through city tours or culinary voyages of discovery. We ensure that any waste produced by our excursion groups is disposed of appropriately or taken back on board. On our dives, we make a point of ensuring our guests can marvel at the wonders of the underwater world but not touch it, since underwater ecosystems are incredibly sensitive. For reasons of animal welfare, we do not offer trips to swim with dolphins or ride elephants. At AIDA, we set a good example and educate our guests about both the beauty of nature and how it is threatened.
Guests can access information about our ecological and social activities at any time in their cabin via I-TV. Our officers and/or captains can provide interested guests with further information during the ‘Nautical hour’ question and answer session.
Our onboard Environment Officers are available as points of contact to answer questions relating to climate protection at AIDA. They ensure compliance with all legal requirements and company standards relating to climate protection on board. We follow local, national and international guidelines, for example those set down by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialist United Nations agency. An overview of our most important standards is available in the ‘Standards’ chapter, and more detailed descriptions are contained in the sustainability reports released by the Carnival Corporation. Our environment officers are moreover responsible for waste management and educating employees in environmental issues.
A decisive factor in the success of our sustainability strategy is the active involvement of all of our employees.
Offsetting of carbon dioxides
AIDA and the climate protection organization atmosfair have begun a joint climate protection program. The scheme encompasses, among other aspects, directly reducing the CO2 emissions released by our ships as well as voluntary CO2 offsets for cruises and inbound and outbound flights.
The option of making a carbon offset payment for your cruise is available to all AIDA guests at www.aida.de in the MyAIDA section. Since September 2016, our guests have also been able to offset the CO2 emissions released by their flights to and from the ship.
AIDA moreover offsets the CO2 emissions of all business-related journeys made by its employees by plane or hire car via atmosfair climate protection projects. In 2016, we were able to offset 3,923 tons of CO2 in this way.
The money is being used to finance a biomass power plant in northern India, which produces green electricity for 40,000 homes using crop residues, saves 30,000 tons of CO2 each year and contributes to the development of the region by generating jobs and offers an additional source of income for local farmers.
More information about CO2 offsets and our collaboration with atmosfair is available from the ‘Eco-friendly cruises’ section.
Eco-friendly driving not only at sea
AIDA Cruises’ vehicle fleet at the company’s headquarters in Rostock consists of 90 vehicles and complies with the latest standards. The CO2 emissions of our company cars is just 125 grams per kilometer.
When placing new orders for company vehicles, our employees are already offered the choice of a natural gas vehicle. Through car sharing, AIDA Cruises makes a further contribution to protecting our climate. Car pool vehicles were replaced with car sharing vehicles, which allowed for a saving of 1.7 tons of CO2 per car each year. Alongside the improved environmental footprint, converting to a car sharing system also benefits AIDA employees in a personal way. The attractive BMW and Mini models may also be used for private purposes.
AIDA employees furthermore have access to another eco-friendly and active means of getting around. At the Rostock offices, employees have access to a pool of 20 company bicycles. This option is popular and well-used by our employees. Every year, many of our employees respond to our call to switch from car to bicycle and take part in the Stadtradeln campaign in Rostock with great enthusiasm. During the 2016 campaign, they all left their cars in the garage and cycled 18,775 kilometers, which saved a total of around 2.7 tons of CO2.
Optimizing the way our fleet of vehicles are driven and our ships are sailed plays an important role in our approach to climate protection.
Eco-friendly buildings and office solutions
The modern and well-lit AIDA Home office complex, a workplace in Rostock’s city harbor for up to 400 of the 1,000 employees currently working for AIDA Cruises, has been our headquarters since the summer of 2015.
With this new building, AIDA Cruises made a clear statement of intention with regard to sustainable construction. The office complex was built in accordance with the latest environmental standards. In July 2016 AIDA Home was awarded the Gold Seal by the German Sustainable Building Council. This accolade means our new office building is one of the most sustainable buildings in Germany.
In awarding this prize to AIDA Home, the judges assessed, among other factors, the resource-efficient use of natural building materials, use of renewable primary energy and drinking water consumption. Criteria such as land consumption, accessibility, heat and sound insulation were likewise taken into account. A combination of geothermal energy, compression refrigeration machines and district heating are used to heat and cool the building, for example. AIDA Home moreover has a very modern approach to managing its indoor climate with a hybrid façade, thermal component activation, displacement ventilation and heating and cooling sails. These guarantee an ideal indoor climate throughout the year. Efficient lamps and light control systems provide ample visibility. These methods allow for energy and CO2 savings of up to 60 percent in comparison with conventional office buildings.
All of our office buildings in Rostock and Hamburg are supplied exclusively using electricity from 100 percent renewable energy sources.
In order to reduce our CO2 emissions, we use the ‘Go Green’ offer run by Deutsche Post the since March 2011. By offsetting the carbon dioxide emitted during the transportation of our shipments to the tune of 70.8 tons of CO2, we ensure our shipment is very eco-friendly. At the same time, our participation fees in these projects go towards supporting climate protection projects in China, Africa or India.
Alongside technical efficiency, our sustainability ethos includes striving for comprehensive quality, which means that all of our products and service not only consume less resources, but even exert a positive influence on the wider community and the environment - in other words, they are sustainable. With every decision made, we are mindful to consider the broader context. For us, acting sustainably is not a hindrance to achieving financial success - instead, it is the bedrock of our success.
When purchasing products, we make sure that, wherever possible, they are reusable and can be reintroduced into biological or technical life cycles. We follow nature’s example by ensuring that as many products of a metabolic process as possible are used again for another process. Our goal is to reduce the accrual of actual waste products to an absolute minimum. In the long run, we aim gradually to check all existing products such as furniture, work clothes and foodstuffs in order to establish whether they can be reintroduced into biological and technical cycles, and to adapt or replace these things as necessary. For example, in the crew cabins on board our ships, during dry dock overhauls we are gradually laying ‘cradle to cradle’ carpets that meet the requirements of sustainable products in the recycling economy. They are manufactured using eco-friendly and recyclable materials. These materials are moreover completely harmless in terms of health impacts, and do not contain any elements or components that release harmful substances during their processing or use. On AIDAprima and AIDAperla, we are even going one step further. On these ships, a total surface area of 64,000 m2 in all of the guest and crew areas has been fitted with eco-friendly carpets. These carpets are manufactured using natural and renewable raw materials, largely being made out of sheep’s wool. The carpets also comply with the strict standards of the Green Label Plus scheme run by the Carpet and Rug Institute. When the carpets reach the end of their working life on board AIDAprima and AIDAperla, they will be given back to the manufacturer as part of an exclusive Take Back program. This program is currently being developed so that all of the used carpets from the entire AIDA fleet will end up being reused as carpet underlays following their replacement. This is a huge step in the right direction for the environment, as it means thousands of tons of carpet will be reused and fed back into other production cycles rather than being thrown away.
Cradle-to-cradle-Prinzip: Example Carpet tiles
Carpet photo: steschum/Fotolia.com; Soil photo: M. Schuppich/Fotolia.com; Refuse lorry photo: Ssogras/Fotolia.com; Other photos: Desso
There are many other examples of comprehensive quality on board. For example, we source 90 percent of the flowers in our onboard ‘Sea of Flowers’ from local suppliers at our destinations. Our German florists are also all members of the ‘FairTrade’ and ‘Fair Flowers - Fair Plants’ organizations. Even the rubber ducks that can be acquired in our onboard shops or in the ‘Sea of Flowers’ are made out of 100 percent natural rubber.
None of the cosmetics and cleaning products on board AIDA ships contain any microplastics. In the Body & Soul Spa, we offer our guests premium-quality grooming with purely natural ingredients. Our organic care lines are certified with ‘Ecocert’ and ‘Cosmebio’ seals. They nourish the body with natural oils and plant extracts. Even organic lip gloss and mascara is available at AIDA. A completely organic spa awaits our guests aboard AIDAprima and AIDAperla. The entire Thermal Oasis Spa is designed along ecological lines, meaning it is built using natural materials, and even the treatments we offer make use of organic products. In early 2017, the Organic Body & Soul Spa on board AIDAprima was awarded the GREEN SPA Award 2017 by the German Wellness Association e.V..
We are increasingly offering organic and Fairtrade products on board our ships. Our bars and restaurants offer organic lemonades, teas and coffees, for example. The menu in the Buffalo Steakhouse includes Fairtrade pork. Chocolate made by Original Beans is another of our Fairtrade offerings, which uses videos on board to inform our guests about the positive aspects of a fair supply chain. 2,700 kg of Original Beans chocolate were sold on board in 2016, the proceeds then guaranteed the livelihoods of 5 cocoa farmers and their families, protected 12,000 trees, financed the planting of 19,000 new trees and saved 4.7 tons of CO2.
We ask all of our suppliers to submit voluntary disclosures detailing their compliance with various standards relating to quality, climate protection, hygiene, occupational safety and health protection, as well as community involvement and our code of ethics and conduct for business partners in order to be able to assess objectively the sustainability of our products and services. These supplier disclosures are continuously developed and optimized across the whole company. We meticulously verify compliance with these standards in person and on-site. As part of this process, in 2016 five of our most important foodstuff suppliers were audited by Bureau Veritas. Five more audits are scheduled for 2017.
An example of conserving resources: Paper
There is much we are able to achieve on board our ships by acting in an eco-friendly manner. Our paper-saving measures make a significant contribution to conserving resources, one of which is to reduce the number of printed publications. This simultaneously saves paper and printer ink or toner.
In our company headquarters in Rostock, we only use printers that serve an entire floor, rather than individual printers. An employee must first of all confirm the print order at the machine itself in order to print a document. To save paper, we have set the printing presets on all of our devices to double-sided.
Since 2012, AIDA has supported the initiative ‘CEOs pro Recycling Paper’. In response to calls made by the Federal Environment Ministry, the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, the CLUB OF ROME association and the Pro Recycling Paper initiative, we have undertaken to switch to using recycled paper featuring the Blue Angel label for our office materials and printed matter as a matter of urgency. All of the recycled paper that we use is certified accordingly and has even been awarded the silver ‘Cradle to Cradle’ seal. Our existing range of office equipment will be replaced with sustainable items where possible, or sustainable products will be added to the collection. We also make use of economical and recyclable packaging.
Our numerous initiatives to reduce paper consumption are not limited to our land-based activities. Since 2013, we have been only been printing bills on board when they are specifically requested. On each voyage, only between 20 and 50 guests have their bills printed on board. This allows us to save on average 4,400 sheets of paper and 1,100 envelopes per voyage. This does not result in any disadvantages for our guests. They are able to view their bill at their convenience in MyAIDA or in their inbox - even after the end of the voyage.
Using SignPads at check-in and when booking and organizing excursions presents the opportunity to make use of electronic signatures. AIDA is thus able to cut down the number of printed receipts by around 1 million.
All of our AIDA ships are now fitted exclusively with digital photo stations. The idea behind this is quite simple: our guests are able to use these digital photo stations and the onboard ‘portal’ to view their best holiday snaps in digital format. If they want to take home a photo as a reminder, they can individually select their desired image on the screen and order it. We thereby make savings of around 50 percent in paper and chemicals for developing the pictures, making this another of our important contributions to conserving resources. On each ship, one of the up to eleven photo stations on board is also adjustable for height, and is therefore easy for children and wheelchair users to access.
We offer our guests an exclusive selection of press and media-related material on their mobile devices, whether that be a notebook, tablet or smartphone in collaboration with the ‘i-Kiosk’ online portal for magazines and newspapers run by Axel Springer Verlag. This service has the attraction of providing guests with their favorite reading material on a daily basis and irrespective of their location, and saves paper at the same time.
Our own onboard media, such as port information and our onboard magazine ‘AIDA Today’ (AIDA Heute), gives us a means to inform our guests in a concise yet comprehensive manner, and not just in paper form either. Our guests also have the digital version available for their smartphones or tablets and via the free onboard portal. Additional important personal features, such as the ‘cabin account’, FAQs and the shipboard ABC are likewise digitally integrated in the free onboard portal.
Through their active engagement and regular new initiatives, our employees both on land and at sea make a contribution to steadily reducing our paper consumption. We are also very grateful to our guests when they make an active contribution to this cause.
Thanks to wide-ranging technical solutions and strategies, we are also able to conserve resources, energy, water and fuel on board.