Uniworld cuts food waste by 36% across its riverboat lleet

   June 9, 2024 ,   Cruise Industry

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has released its third annual Impact Report, detailing the progress made in 2023 and outlining updates to its sustainability goals as part of The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right.

Led by Uniworld’s Sustainability Officer, Julie Higgins, the plan includes 11 measurable goals such as reducing food waste by 50% by 2025, eliminating single-use plastics, and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Uniworld was the first river cruise line to publish an impact report in 2022, providing transparency on its progress towards environmental and community-focused goals.

Key Updates from Uniworld’s 2023 Impact Report:

Food Waste Reduction: Since August 2021, Uniworld has used Leanpath's food waste prevention technology and solutions to enhance kitchen efficiency and significantly reduce food waste. By 2023, the system was fully integrated fleetwide, reducing food waste by 36%. Leanpath has prevented over 50,787 kg (50.787 tons) of food waste, equating to 93,305 meals, 354 metric tons of CO2, and saving water equivalent to 1,247516 million bathtubs. Onboard guests can experience the ‘Progressive Dinner,’ where they learn about Leanpath’s impact on food waste reduction.

Net Zero Emissions: Uniworld aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, or sooner. Initiatives in 2023 included reducing laundry volume sent to external laundries, cutting 24 tons for the year. Uniworld participates in the Path2Zero project, a research initiative led by Delft University of Technology to determine the best path for the inland shipping industry to reach net zero by 2025. This project involves living labs and workshops with Uniworld’s captains, engineers, and technical experts.

Additionally, Uniworld joined a river cruise organization to apply for EU funding to support the decarbonization of riverboats. In 2023, Uniworld committed to conducting energy audits on its vessels and starting in 2024, will recommend new strategies for reducing carbon emissions. The company is also collaborating with Atlas Reizen to explore the use of HVO fuel for its coaches.

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER Experiences: Uniworld’s MAKE TRAVEL MATTER Experiences are designed to align with the United Nations Global Goals, offering guests sustainable and impactful local experiences. In 2023, Uniworld provided 19 MAKE TRAVEL MATTER Experiences across 67% of its itineraries, introducing 12 new experiences throughout the year. The goal is to feature at least one such experience on every itinerary by 2025.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives: Uniworld remains committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Shirnett Fleet, Uniworld’s Chief Marketing Officer, joined the NorthStar BTAB (Black Travel Advisory Board) to help create a more inclusive travel industry. Uniworld continued its mental health program with a new 2-day course, resulting in certification in the internationally recognized Mental Health First Aid program. All Uniworld employees signed the company’s Code of Conduct, underscoring their commitment to ethical standards. The company also launched a Hospitality School, conducting two five-day sessions in 2023 for employees in the Food & Beverage and Housekeeping sectors.