MSC Cruises Publishes Its 2021 Sustainability Report

MSC sustainability report MSC Ocean Cay


  • On World Oceans Day, MSC Cruises publishes its 2021 Sustainability Report, highlighting the Company’s environmental commitments and important steps taken in its long-term sustainability strategy
  • MSC Cruises has developed a comprehensive Sustainability Action Plan, establishing six key areas with corresponding activities, goals and targets
  • Significant progress has been achieved in every area, targeting net zero operations by 2050, as well as looking after its people and supporting sustainable tourism

Geneva, Switzerland – June 8, 2022 – MSC Cruises has chosen World Oceans Day to publish its 2021 Sustainability Report. While the past year was once again marked by the pandemic’s challenges, the cruise line made significant progress in its sustainability practices.

MSC sustainability report action plan

MSC Cruises’ Sustainability Action Plan was developed with input from employees and external partners. The plan establishes six key workstreams across the business: transitioning to net-zero emissions, scrutinizing resource use and waste, supporting our people, investing in sustainable tourism, building greener terminals, and procuring sustainably. Actions within the plan are accompanied by goals with measurable targets. Where possible, these align with relevant industry-approved metrics. These six key workstreams fall into the Company’s four focus areas of sustainability: Planet, People, Place, and Procurement.

The Sustainability Advisory Board for the Cruise Division of MSC Group is chaired by Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and includes the MSC Cruises brand. The board is responsible for ensuring the continued relevance of the sustainability strategy, and for reviewing progress, guided and supported by the Sustainability Team.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the MSC Group’s Cruise Division, said“While navigating our way through the extraordinary turbulence of the past two years, we have kept focused on sustainable business practices and on protecting our guests, employees and the communities in which we operate. Today more than ever, we recognize the vital importance of our environment, and a healthy and viable planet. We are firmly committed to achieving our long-term goal of zero-impact cruise operations by 2050 and we are well advanced on this journey.”

MSC sustainability report fleet carbon intensity

“As both a company and an industry we are investing heavily in the accelerated development of environmental technologies and solutions that don’t exist just yet to make these objectives achievable. It must be recognized that for this endeavor we also need the full engagement of Governments and other public and private entities to ensure, for example, that the right infrastructure exists on land and green fuels become available at scale for our ships around the world. This we cannot do alone.” 

Linden Coppell, MSC Cruises’ Sustainability Director, added, The appropriateness and relevance of our Sustainability Strategy and action plans have been confirmed through a materiality assessment requiring engagement with employees, guests and other key external stakeholders, and helping us to prioritize our sustainability topics. For each one of them, we have established clear metrics against which to measure progress. Through our future annual Sustainability Reports, we will be held accountable in achieving our targets.”

In 2021, MSC Cruises’ achieved progress in all areas of Sustainability Action Plan. These are the highlights:


1. Transitioning to net-zero emissions

The energy efficient operation of our fleet supports our net zero journey. In 2021, we conducted advanced trials of energy efficiency measures on MSC Grandiosa, cutting emissions by 8% compared to design performance. We are committed to replicating these measures across the rest of the fleet.

We aim to limit SOx, NOx and particulates, particularly in ports. By the end of 2021, 14 of our vessels were fitted with hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, reducing SOx by 98%. Our three newest ships have selective catalytic converters, which convert NOx into harmless nitrogen and water.

By the end of 2021, seven of our 19 ships, including all of our new ships, were fitted with shore power capability. This enables onboard engines to be switched off, cutting emissions. We are committed to using these systems whenever shore power is available.

A key step in our net zero journey is collaborating with technology providers to support and test new energy systems, as well as new lower or zero emissions fuels. We are also working closely with governments to encourage effective policy measures to support an industry-wide transition.

Speed has a major impact on emissions. We carried out a thorough review of our itineraries in 2021, resulting in an average speed reduction of over two knots compared to 2019.

2. Scrutinizing resource use and waste

We aim to reduce onboard water demand by 3% per year for each ship thanks to a combination of monitoring usage, fitting water saving technologies, and training and educating crew.

All MSC Cruises’ vessels are fitted with approved and certified ballast water treatment systems. In 2021, 100% of ballast water was filtered and UV treated before being discharged at sea to ensure it did not contain harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens, which can damage the local environment.


3. Supporting our people

In 2021, we continued to invest in the wellbeing of our employees, both onboard and ashore, keeping them safe and supporting them physically and mentally. We also maintained our extensive training programs despite the ongoing pandemic, ensuring our teams were compliant with mandatory systems and prepared for the introduction of new technologies and future changes. We also remained committed to building a healthy and diverse work culture across the Company.


4. Investing in sustainable tourism

Our shore excursions team has worked with tour operators to identify excursions founded on strong sustainability principles. Known as “Protectours,” these excursions are specifically designed to educate our guests. Around 70% of these tours include low impact transportation like walking, cycling or kayaking, and many make a direct contribution to the environment by supporting species or habitat protection.

We partnered with Travelife to deliver training and capacity building for all the tour operators we work with. Travelife is an initiative for tourism companies committed to achieving sustainability. Its specialized indicators, based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s Industry Standard criteria, focus on supply chain impact and the responsibilities of tour operators.

We are committed to playing our part in protecting natural ecosystems by supporting initiatives that promote responsible and sustainable tourism. The MSC Foundation promotes wildlife protection and habitat regeneration – particularly for ocean species – around the world, including the waters surrounding Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. In 2021, we also started working with several NGOs to identify new ways of avoiding whale strikes.

5. Building greener terminals

In 2021, we continued to invest in new sustainable terminal facilities. Construction on the new MSC Cruises terminal in Miami began in the summer of 2021 with a comprehensive environmental and social management system intended to govern the facility throughout its operational life span. The Durban Cruise Terminal in South Africa became operational in December 2021. It was the first South African port to resume MSC Cruises itineraries since the start of the pandemic. A third new MSC Cruises terminal is under construction in Barcelona and is due to be operational in 2023.

We are committed to meeting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for all new terminals in which we invest. LEED is a widely used global green building rating system. Its rigorous score-based systems ensure high levels of efficiency in building design and operation.


6. Procuring sustainably

In 2021, we created a new internal committee dedicated to ensuring our approach to procurement has a positive impact on society and minimizes damage to the environment. It consists of procurement, logistics and sustainability representatives who meet every two months to review operational standards across our supply chain and identify specific opportunities for positive change.

About MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises is the world’s third largest cruise brand as well as the leader in Europe, South America, the Gulf region and Southern Africa, with more market share in addition to deployed capacity than any other player. It is also the fastest growing global cruise brand with a strong presence in the Caribbean, North America and the Far East markets.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC Cruises is one of the two brands that sit within the Cruises Division of MSC Group, the leading privately held Swiss-based shipping and logistics conglomerate with over 300 years of maritime heritage. MSC Cruises – the contemporary brand – has a modern fleet of 19 vessels combined with a sizeable future global investment portfolio of new vessels. The fleet is projected to grow to 23 cruise ships by 2025, with options for six more vessel orders in place through 2030.

MSC Cruises offers its guests an enriching, immersive and safe cruise experience inspired by the Company’s European heritage, where they can enjoy international dining, world-class entertainment, award-winning family programs, and the very latest user-friendly technology on board. To learn more about MSC Cruises’ itineraries and experience on board its ships, click here.

The Company’s number one priority has always been the health and safety of its guests and crew, as well as the communities at the destinations its ships serve. In August 2020, MSC Cruises implemented a new comprehensive and robust health and safety protocol to become the first major line to return to sea. To learn more about MSC Cruises’ health & safety protocol, click here.

MSC Cruises has long been committed to environmental stewardship, with a long-term goal to achieve net zero emissions for its operations by 2050. The Company is also a significant investor in next-generation environmental marine technologies, with the objective to support their accelerated development and availability industry-wide. To learn more about the Company’s environmental commitment, click here.

Finally, to learn more about the MSC Foundation, MSC Group’s own vehicle to lead, focus and advance its conservation, humanitarian and cultural commitments, click here.

See more from MSC Cruises here.

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