Luxury Cruises Come at Cost of CSR
9 April 2014 at 9:20 am
New research reveals that the cruise industry isn’t going far enough in its corporate social responsibility towards the environment, society and the destinations visited.
Some 65 per cent of the 80 cruise companies worldwide did not mention corporate social responsibility on their websites, and only 12 brands across four companies published CSR reports.
The study, Corporate sustainability reporting index and baseline data for the cruise industry by Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK, analysed the industry’s lack of corporate social disclosure and ranked companies through analysis of their corporate social responsibility reports and websites to provide the first cruise sector sustainability reporting index.
“There is no consistency in the issuing of the reports. Some of the twelve companies stopped reporting as a single brand and start reporting as part of the whole group, while others belonging to the same group keep issuing their own corporate social reports,” research contributor Maria Jesus Bonilla said.
“All this makes comparison among brands very difficult and transparency very limited.”
“Most companies report soft data, such as statements from their CEOs, that are easy to copy and do not show real change,” Dr Xavier Font, the lead author of the study said.
“Companies mostly report on their corporate vision and strategy, their credentials and their governance and management systems, but they fail to report on actual performance data on many key environmental and socio-economic indicators.
“Reporting on emissions, effluents, waste or water is the result of eco-saving strategies and regulatory pressure. But not one of the 80 companies reports on the sustainability of the resources consumed or biodiversity actions, and few disclose their positive social or economic impact on destinations,” he said.
The study highlighted previous research which reported evidence of frequent violation rights for disadvantaged groups including charges for medical examinations, visas, transport and administration putting cruise industry workers into a level of debt that cannot be repaid and is comparable to forced labour.
The research also noted that there is limited public data to sustain the claim that cruise industry contributes to the economy by creating jobs and contributing to the local economy of the destinations visited.
In fact, low spend cruisers were considered unproductive given the costs incurred by their impact.
The report also said that more must be done by the cruise industry in terms of the environmental impact of cruise ship’s discharges, as cruises usually operate in highly valued coastal water and marine ecosystems.