The cruise industry supports initiatives that accelerate government action to support the industry's sustainability efforts. At European level, the sector has welcomed the long-term objectives of the EU Green Deal. Targets for reducing carbon emissions from maritime have also been set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The cruise sector has supported for many years within the IMO the establishment of a controlled sulphur emission (SECA) zone covering the Mediterranean Sea. Following validation by the IMO in 2022, the controlled SECA zone in the Mediterranean Sea will enter into force by mid-2025.

The approach to environmental improvements must be holistic and collaborative, with industry, the State, region, port authorities, Town Halls, and residents' associations coming together to agree measures to accelerate ongoing measures.

In 2022, CLIA member cruise lines operating in the Mediterranean Sea signed a Sustainable Cruise Charter with the national Government. The Charter represents a significant milestone in the relationship between cruise and communities along the French Mediterranean coastline.

A Charter for Sustainable Cruising in the French Mediterranean

Hervé Berville, Secretary of State to the Prime Minister, in charge of the Sea, and the CLIA member cruise lines operating in the Mediterranean Sea have signed a Sustainable Cruise Charter.

Environmental innovation in the maritime sector and in particular cruising, such as the advanced treatment of wastewater on board, shoreside electricity connection, and the use of alternative fuel, are necessary steps towards the decarbonization of maritime transport, essential to achieving our carbon neutrality objectives. This is why, under the impetus of the Secretary of State to the Prime Minister, in charge of the Sea, the cruise lines reaffirmed their commitment through a Charter built around 13 strong and concrete actions that will strengthen efforts already undertaken to improve their environmental footprint in the Mediterranean.

This Charter is unprecedented at the global level, not only by the broad scope of the agreement covered, but also by the voluntary nature of these measures that all these CLIA members have decided to support. And finally, by the geographical scope covered by the commitments: this is the first time that an agreement includes all French ports in the Mediterranean.

The measures included in the Charter go further than existing regulations. Faced with the climate emergency, the State and cruise lines wanted to voluntarily anticipate measures that will only come into force for all players in the maritime sector from January 2025. Thus, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by ships through use of fuel with reduced sulphur content will be implemented from 2023. In addition, cruise ships will adapt their activity in the event of a pollution peak on land.

This Charter is fully in line with the Government's ambition to make environmental innovations a lever for the reindustrialization of France. Indeed, 93% of cruise ships are built in European shipyards, where they represent 80% of the value of order books. With €10 billion in investments over the next five years in France, these commitments contribute to the dynamism of the country's shipbuilding industry and stimulate environmental innovation for all maritime sectors.

Hervé Berville, Secretary of State to the Prime Minister, in charge of the Sea, said: “The government wanted a strong and concrete initiative that engages the entire sector. These efforts by shipowners will contribute to the achievement of environmental objectives in the Mediterranean. This collaboration, which is a step towards the decarbonisation of ships and therefore towards the “Zero Emission Ship”, will also contribute to the competitiveness of our shipyards, which will be able to benefit internationally from innovations in the design and manufacture of even more efficient ships.”

Marie-Caroline Laurent, CLIA's Director General in Europe, added: “The cruise industry has already taken strong measures to achieve its objectives and this Charter, desired by the entire sector, accelerates its implementation. In addition, the State's commitment is a signal that recognizes and supports existing efforts but the requirements for investment in sustainable fuels and technologies.”

Why is this important?

The Charter provides a framework to build the relationship between cruise and communities across French ports in the Mediterranean by creating a structure for existing commitments as well as for new measures and areas of collaboration.