Norway’s fjords and coastal regions are heavily protected in order to retain their pristine natural beauty. Vegan Travel + Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) take environmental responsibility extremely seriously and have implemented a range of sustainable practices in order to limit emissions, waste, noise and energy usages. The Norwegian government have implemented strict policies which include heavy fuel bans and restricted territorial areas to maintain the incredible natural beauty and ecosystems of the region. Certain destinations, such as most of the Svalbard, have been limited to smaller vessels, and Vegan Travel + CMV have carefully designed the destination itinerary and selected ports of call based on these restrictions.
Sanitation and Waste Disposal
Innovative policies are in place when it comes to waste disposal and sanitation procedures. Where possible, waste is treated onboard to reduce its volume. Once transferred to land, waste materials are disposed of according to local rules and regulations. All sewage treatment systems have been certified and approved by the International Marine Organization and by local coast guard regulatory agencies. The sewage system on board the Columbus is able to treat grey water produced from sinks, showers and laundry to a much higher standard than shoreside treatment plants. Special technology is also utilized to ensure that only clean water is discharged to sea. Heavy fuel burning is banned, so the ship utilises low sulfur fuels to lessen environmental impact, and high-tech systems are in place to reduce harmful air emissions. Norway has a strict environmental policy and is listed as a sensitive area, so the Columbus Pearl goes above and beyond to comply with these regulations.
Passengers are encouraged to play a role in limited energy consumption while onboard and are given the option to reuse towels as opposed to having them washed on a daily basis. Bathrooms have been designed to limit water wastage, and the special eVac toilet systems use only a couple of liters per flush as opposed to the standard seven. Magic Eye taps and shower flow restrictors also enable the ship to cut its water usage and to provide a more environmentally-friendly operation.
All cabins come with state-of-the-art adjustable climate control, and all air-conditioning systems have been chosen with energy-efficiency in mind. It is encouraged that passengers keep cabin balcony doors closed to help to reduce the energy consumption of the air-conditioning systems. The entire hull of the ship has been painted with eco-friendly silicon paint to limit its effect on the environment and allow it to cut through the water more efficiently.
Food and Recycling
Vegan Travel + CMV aim to carefully forecast food consumption in a bid to limit food waste. Where possible, food is sourced from suppliers that are located near to transit points to reduce CO2 emissions from the food delivery process. Food products are also selected based on their packaging, and limit plastic packaging is preferred.
A strict recycling policy is in place whereby garbage is separated, and batteries and cleaning products are all recycled. Cleaning products are chosen carefully, and green products are used when possible. A chemical information database is available for passengers who want more information on the different types of products and chemicals that are used on board.
Aside from environmental factors, Vegan Travel + CMV also strive to be a good ethical employer to ensure the health, safety and ultimately happiness of all their staff members. CMV makes regular contributions to communities to the destinations that the ship calls and docks at. One such contribution is the partial funding of the pilot Wid Beach school programme that was set up by the Sussex Wildlife Trust. This programme aims to educate youngsters about the importance of keeping local beaches clean. It also makes contributions to the National Biodiversity Network Database.
Annual sustainability review reports ensure that CMV continually deliver high-quality strategies which are in keeping with updated laws and regulations. A recently appointed dedicated sustainability manager oversees the company’s environmental responsibility and all corporate sustainability programs. Their environmental management systems are independently certified to the highest world standard for environmental performance, the ISO 14001. The company is continuously committed to maintaining and improving systems to help preserve the marine environment. Future strategies include to seek out new, renewable energy sources to further lower greenhouse gas emissions. They also seek to engage with all partners in a bid to increase supply chain efficiency, as well as implement new ship designs that further fit in with the company’s eco-friendly ethos.