Virgin Voyages and Emerald Brand have announced a sustainability partnership to deliver a tree-free and plastic-free experience on board the Virgin ships. The partnership begins on the Scarlet Lady, setting sail in 2020.
Virgin Voyages said it is among the first of major cruise lines to ban single-use plastic. Their goal is to fully embed sustainability into their business model through their operations and the sailor (guest) experience itself.
In addition to replacing single-use plastics with reusable items, Virgin and Emerald will deliver a so-called tree-free experience through the ship’s disposable paper products. Bath tissue, facial tissue, hot cups, paper towels, and napkins will be made from 60% to 100% tree-free material. According to a prepared statement, these products are made with unique technology that uses the by-product of agricultural crops that are typically burned or wasted, in place of trees.
The partnership underscores the level of impact both companies are seeking to make. Jill Stoneberg, director of sustainability and social impact at Virgin, stated: “We have really ambitious goals here so no decision is taken lightly. Everything down to seemingly simple changes in our supply chain is made with the intention of giving sailors the absolute best experience while continuing to change business for good.”
“Driving change to solve the issue of plastic waste and deforestation has been embedded in our company’s ethos since my father founded our group over twenty years ago,” added Ralph Bianculli Jr., managing director of Emerald.
Emerald’s team of environmental experts, said to be known as the Eco-Squad, will help Virgin measure and communicate the environmental footprint reduction that has resulted from the switch to Emerald’s products. The Eco-Squad will also provide solutions for continuous improvement throughout the supply chain.