Responsible Consumption, Reducing Overconsumption and Reducing Waste
Food loss and waste is a global problem that has a serious impact on food security and goes hand- in-hand with immense ethical, environmental, and financial costs. Food is lost or wasted throughout the entire supply chain – at the production stage through poor farming practices, at the retail stage through inadequate transportation and storage, and at the consumer level when more food is purchased than consumed. Overall, food that is never consumed represents a waste of precious resources, such as land, water and energy, as well as other inputs used in its production.
We acknowledge food waste as a key global issue and recognize that everyone has a part to play in reducing food loss and waste. The United Nations Agenda 2030 identifies 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of which, Goal 12, focuses on Responsible Consumption. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, approximately one-third of food produced in the world annually – approximately 1.3 billion metric tonnes – is lost or wasted.
In 2019, we committed to a food waste reduction
goal of 10% across our entire fleet by the end of
2021, with some of our brands setting themselves
even more ambitious reduction targets. To achieve
our commitment, we are working on solutions that
involve the revision of existing, and development
of new, food waste management systems and
practices on board our ships.
In 2019, as part of our environmental compliance and stewardship program, Operation Oceans Alive, we established a Food Waste Task Force. The goal of the task force is to improve food waste management across the global fleet. Its team members have a diverse expertise in hotel food and beverage operations, environmental compliance, technological operations and galley design. Third party consultants were brought in to support the task force with diverse technical expertise regarding food waste processing systems and galley design. In 2019, members of the task force visited several ships across all brands to evaluate food waste management and technical equipment. Based on their observations, the task force provided a detailed recommendation and implementation plan to improve food waste management across the fleet. Recommendations were related to the food waste separation process, simplification/streamlining of procedures, signage and training, as well as a review of technical aspects and equipment, and the adequacy of manning for food waste management responsibilities. The task force also identified many potential best practices that are already in place on board the ships and can function as a blueprint to improve food waste management efficiency across the global fleet.
We are working toward adopting the principles of a circular economy to prevent unnecessary food waste. The circular economy is an economic model that aims to avoid waste and to preserve the value of resources (raw materials, energy and water) for as long as possible. Products and materials are continuously recirculated, as opposed to a linear model in which they are discarded as waste after use.
Considering the unique environment of a cruise ship, in its simplest form, the concept of a circular economy can be applied to food as follows:
With food loss and waste being a global problem, raising awareness and education is a key component of successful food waste management. Even in light of the seriousness of the matter, preventing and reducing food waste can be fun if everyone is on board. In 2019 we initiated the “Food Waste Shuffle” music video challenge. The video challenge provided an opportunity to engage and educate our entire organization in a creative and fun way on the importance of food waste reduction and separation. Each ship and shoreside office was invited to participate in the challenge. The engagement level was high and we received a total of 76 submissions from our ships and offices all around the world.
In 2019, we continued to evaluate technologies and operations to minimize the volume of food waste generated, and we installed additional bio-digesters throughout the fleet. The bio-digesters use an aerobic digestion process that takes place within the machines and efficiently breaks down food particles. This green technology also supports and enhances operations on board, making it more efficient for crew members to manage and control food waste. We continue to evaluate different digesters and are planning to expand the use of these systems across our fleet as part of our commitment to environmental excellence.
In early 2018, our Costa brand unveiled the 4GOODFOOD program, a program it has been developing since 2016 and successfully piloted on the flagship Costa Diadema in the same year. 4GOODFOOD is a far-reaching program that considers every aspect from food preparation and consumption on board to the donation of surplus food – the first of its kind within the cruise industry. The program supports Costa Cruises’ ambitious target to reduce food waste by 50% by 2020. Following its success, we are working on expanding this type of program throughout our brands.
4GOODFOOD is based on four main pillars – Value,
Reduction, Return and Recovery – considering every
aspect of food waste preparation and consumption on
board a ship, involving active participation from crew,
cruise guests and local communities as an essential
component. An integral part of the program is the shipboard communication campaign “Taste don’t Waste,” with a focus to encourage responsible consumption in the ships’ buffets. The campaign addresses values and emotions, and is designed to directly involve guests by encouraging responsible behaviors and proactive engagement, particularly in the buffet area. To prevent surplus food from becoming waste, surplus food and meals prepared but not consumed on board are donated to communities in a number of ports in Italy, France, Spain, Guadeloupe and Martinique. This is made possible through a partnership with food bank charity Foundation Banco Alimentare and local port partners.
Over 150,000 portions of quality food have been distributed to a total of 12 associations that look after people in need. Costa Cruises aims to involve other ports as well and further extend the surplus food donation initiative to reach as many disadvantaged communities as possible. Costa Cruises’ innovative approach to reduce food waste and to foster environmentally friendly operations received the Sustainable Performance Award for their 4GOODFOOD program at the Ayming Institute Business Performance Awards in 2019. Costa also earned the MedCruise Award for Cruise Line with the Greatest Charity Program in 2019 and was further recognized as a finalist of the 15th United Nations World Travel Organization (UNWTO) Enterprise Award.