Carnival Corp has achieved a 38% reduction in food waste per passenger relative to a 2019 baseline.
As a result, the company is near its interim target on food waste reduction by 40% per person by 2025, aiming towards a 50% reduction by 2030.
Less than a year since passing the previous 30% food waste reduction goal announced in its 2022 Sustainability Report, this performance signals continued momentum in the company’s efforts to shrink its food print – an important element in the company’s longstanding commitment to sustainable operations from ship to shore, Carnival said.
To achieve its goals, Carnival Corp has taken decisive measures on board its ships to minimise unused food across every aspect of food preparation and dining services.
In addition, the company has invested in advanced waste management technologies, such as biodigesters, to naturally break down and responsibly dispose of unused food.
Together, these strategies support the company’s waste management practices and drive continuous momentum toward achieving its 2030 food waste reduction goal – part of its circular economy objectives to use fewer resources, produce less waste, and maximise recycling, while also helping to reduce the company’s environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions.
“One of the many ways we create unforgettable happiness for our guests is through world class food and dining experiences on our ships,” said Bill Burke, Carnival Corp’s CMO (pictured).
“Our food tells a story and it’s a labour of love to serve amazing meals to millions of guests each year, while making sure we manage it in the most sustainable way possible.
“It’s a virtuous cycle from start to finish that reduces our environmental footprint while ensuring the extraordinary guest experiences that make our world-class cruise lines stand out,” he said.
Carnival Corp has introduced several practical, technological, and educational initiatives designed to creatively cut food loss, while continuing to deliver exceptional dining experiences.
By monitoring and analysing guest dining trends and flow, including utilising AI technology, the company has further optimised food use at every step of the food lifecycle on board its ships – from purchasing fresh ingredients, recipe creation and menu design, to real-time meal prep, creation and presentation techniques and in-suite dining.
Many of the company’s brands have also implemented on board awareness campaigns to educate both guests and crew alike on doing their part to help reduce food waste on board. In addition, Costa Cruises’ brand works with a network of registered food banks in communities it visits to deliver hundreds of thousands of surplus ingredients and meals to people in need.
Carnival also continues to explore more ways to create and re-imagine creative recipes that get the most out of every possible ingredient. Whether transforming orange peels into citrus muffins or unserved bread into croutons, the company’s culinary teams find ways to use every ingredient to its fullest, and in the process, reduce waste.
Investment is continuing in the industry’s smartest solutions to safely treat and handle uneaten food, while helping to substantially limit impacts from conventional disposal methods, such as landfills.
For example, the company has over 600 food waste biodigesters installed across its fleet, which house naturally occurring bacteria that enable the ships to organically break down and liquefy 80% of uneaten food on board to just a fraction of the original volume.
By ‘digesting’ this leftover food down to a liquid form, it can be sustainably returned to nature and diverted from landfills where natural decomposition would otherwise slowly release methane – a greenhouse gas.
For example, in 2023, the company claimed that it had avoided over 31,000 tonnes of equivalent greenhouse gas emissions that would have been generated had the food gone to a landfill.
In addition, the company continues to improve its approach to maximising waste diversion by installing technologies, such as dehydrators.
These machines build on the biodigesters’ effectiveness by enabling the ships to sustainably breakdown a wider range of food items, including fruit and vegetable rinds, animal fats and other solid foods that are traditionally harder to break down.
To date, the company has installed more than 45 food dehydrators across the fleet to remove excess water from leftover food, reducing waste volume by up to 90%.
These initiatives support the company’s ongoing commitment to lead the way in sustainable cruising by promoting positive climate action, contributing to a circular economy, partnering with the communities it sails to and from, and reducing its greenhouse gas footprint, Carnival claimed.
Overall, the company – including the AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises (Australia), P&O Cruises (UK), Princess Cruises and Seabourn brands – is investing to achieve its 2030 sustainability goals and to pursue net zero emissions from ship operations by 2050.
To accomplish this, six key areas of focus have beeen identified, all aligned with elements of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including climate action; circular economy; sustainable tourism; good health and well-being; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and biodiversity and conservation.