United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 


In 2015, the United Nations announced 17 Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint for creating shared prosperity in a sustainable, healthy world. Many cruise lines are now following these goals to create responsible tourism practices for a positive, lasting impact on our planet and global communities.

At SustainableShips.com, we are monitoring how the cruise industry is implementing positive changes based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We’ve chosen to focus on 10 of the 17 goals we feel align most with sustainable cruise operations.

Here are some of the ways cruise lines are stepping up to create positive changes for our environment and global citizens:

United Nations Sustainability Goal logo
United Nations Sustainability Goal

Good Health & Well-Being

Ensure the health & well-being of ship passengers and crew by:

  • Introducing revolutionary disinfection technology and stringent sanitation procedures
  • Installing medical-grade air purification systems
  • Performing enhanced pre-boarding health screenings for passengers and crew
  • Providing a safe, supportive, and healthy environment for the crew
  • Increasing medical teams, resources, and capabilities onboard ships
  • Adding enhanced health & safety training for the crew
United Nations Sustainability Goal
GOAL #11

Sustainable Cities & Communities

Demonstrate destination stewardship and promote sustainable tourism by:

  • Building positive entrepreneurial relationships with local communities
  • Promoting local businesses to support the economy
  • Collaborating with tour operators and local government to craft excursions that respect indigenous heritage, natural settings, and wildlife
  • Maintaining and promoting the social, economic, and environmental integrity of cruise destinations
  • Creating a responsible supply chain and promoting fair business practices
United Nations Sustainability Goal

Gender Equality

Promote gender equality and uphold human rights by:

  • Empowering women to “take the helm” in a male-dominated industry
  • Providing equal employment, professional development, and career opportunities
  • Ending all forms of discrimination based on gender, ethnic and cultural background, religion, age, sexual orientation, political view, or functional ability
United Nations Sustainability Goal
GOAL #12

Responsible Consumption & Production

Reduce waste and advance sustainable practices by:

  • Using sustainably-sourced materials and products onboard
  • Discontinuing wasteful food practices and sourcing locally whenever possible
  • Outfitting cabins with refillable (rather than disposable) soap and shampoo
  • Participating in container return programs with vendors
  • Implementing onboard recycling programs to divert waste from landfills
  • Promoting an understanding of sustainable lifestyles
United Nations Sustainability Goal

Clean Water & Sanitation

Preserve freshwater resources and reduce water consumption by:

  • Equipping ships with Advanced Wastewater
  • Treatment Systems that exceed international regulations
  • Using state-of-the-art technology and onboard awareness to reduce water consumption
  • Producing their own fresh water from seawater through desalination and eco-friendly purification technologies
  • Using water-efficient equipment in kitchens and laundry facilities
United Nations Sustainability Goal
GOAL #13

Climate Action

Take action to increase environmental conservation by:

  • Educating guests and spreading environmental awareness through onboard lectures, activities, and citizen science projects
  • Involving the scientific community to drive research
  • Conducting ongoing environmental impact studies
  • Implementing advanced training programs for crew and Environmental Officers
  • Continuing to invest in advanced technology to protect oceans, marine life, and air quality
United Nations Sustainability Goal

Affordable & Clean Energy

Reduce ship emissions and conserve energy by:

  • Investing in clean energy and alternate power sources including Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), hybrid-electric capabilities, and battery power
  • Reducing emissions with Advanced Emissions Purification (AEP) systems
  • Designing ships with improved hull performance to increase energy efficiency
  • Adding features such as tinted windows; LED lighting; optimized heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Continuing to invest in new technologies to offset carbon emissions
  • Fitting ships with electrical shore power connections to use while in port
United Nations Sustainability Goal
GOAL #14

Life Below Water

Protect and restore fragile marine ecosystems by:

  • Reducing pollution with state-of-the-art waste management and recycling facilities
  • Banning or significantly reducing single-use plastics onboard and ashore
  • Maintaining the strictest policies regarding discharge into the sea
  • Monitoring the oceans and sharing real-time results with scientists
  • Sourcing sustainable, wild-caught seafood to serve onboard
United Nations Sustainability Goal
GOAL #10

Reduced Inequalities

Embrace and value diversity and inclusion by:

  • Ending all forms of discriminations based on gender, ethnic and cultural background, religion, age, sexual orientation, political view or functional ability
  • Providing equal employment, professional development, and career opportunities for staff and crew, both onboard and shoreside
United Nations Sustainability Goal
GOAL #17

Partnership for the Goals

Support the UN Sustainable Development Goals by:

  • Developing strategic partnerships with suppliers and not-for-profit organizations that support ocean conservation, a healthier planet, and sustainable tourism
  • Building partnerships that contribute towards the social and economic development of regions they visit
  • Continuing to seek global alliances with partners dedicated to conservation, sustainability, and social good
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