The Leeds Metropolitan University report claims cruise lines are failing at corporate responsibility to staff and the environment.
The report, published in the latest issue of the journal Tourism Management, claims that the cruise industry is failing to provide meaningful data over what is it doing to minimise impact to the environment.
Clia said it found the report “deeply disappointing”. The study analyses the “industry’s lack of corporate social disclosure and ranks companies through analysis of their corporate social responsibility reports and websites to provide the first cruise sector sustainability reporting index.”
It claims 65% of the 80 cruise companies investigated did not mention corporate social responsibility on their websites and that only 12 brands publish corporate social reports.
Clia said: “The cruise industry is highly regulated on an international basis to exacting standards towards both the environment and labour welfare.
“We find the Leeds Metropolitan report deeply disappointing as it is seriously flawed with inaccuracies and subjective commentary which fly in the face of the facts of the achievements that the cruise industry delivers throughout the world.
“In both areas we go above and beyond those high thresholds to enable our 21 million annual global customers to enjoy the seas in which they cruise and be cared for and looked after by a motivated and content workforce.
“We put great store into our social responsibilities and we make an enormously positive impact on national economies all around the world, to the tune of €37.9 billion a year in Europe.”
The report also questioned whether enough was being done to protect marine ecosystems and claimed there was limited public data to “sustain the claim that cruise industry contributed to the economy by creating jobs and contributing to the local economy of the destinations visited.”
Dr Xavier Font, the lead author of the study, explained: “Most companies report soft data, such as statements from their CEOs, that are easy to copy and do not show real change.
“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.”
Clia highlighted that cruise lines invest in technology to reduce the impact to the environment, that the industry has adopted voluntary standards to govern the discharge of wastewater, and that the industry is in full compliance with international and regional rules on air emissions.