MSC Cruises to go carbon neutral by 2020

MSC Cruises will be the first major cruise company to become carbon neutral.

Starting on January 1, 2020, MSC Cruises will buy enough credits from companies that absorb carbon dioxide to offset all of the carbon emissions from its 17 ships throughout the year, the company announced Friday. That amounts to 2.2 million tons. The credits will only cover activities at sea.

Executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said the announcement is 10 years in the making. The company is still figuring out in which projects it will invest, but plans to prioritize “blue credits,” which finance projects in coastal communities.

“It’s not just a question of buying credits, but we also want to make it more tangible,” Vago said. “The blue credit is a way where we want to invest through the MSC Foundation to create farming in the sea through kelp and algae, which have proven to be one of the best CO2 absorbents today.”

Geneva-based MSC Cruises is the world’s fourth-largest cruise company; its U.S. headquarters are located in South Florida. MSC plans to build a new $300 million cruise terminal and headquarter office at PortMiami, with completion by 2022.

The company’s decision to pay to offset its environmental impact comes as the industry is trying to reduce its overall emissions. Cruise companies are working to make ships more energy-efficient by redesigning hulls to prevent friction, installing LED lighting and fitting ships with shore power — the capability to plug into local electrical grids while at ....

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