Posted by Gerry Barker
(PRESS RELEASE)_PLANTATION, FLORIDA - April 22, 2019 – Virgin Voyages and Emerald Brand have announced a strategic sustainability partnership to deliver Virgin Voyages’ Sailors a unique, Tree-Free™ and plastic-free experience on board their new fleet of ships. The partnership begins on the Scarlet Lady, setting sail in 2020.
Virgin Voyages is among the first of major cruise lines to ban Sailor-facing, single-use plastic. Their goal: to fully embed sustainability into their business model through their operations and the Sailor experience itself. In addition to replacing single-use plastics with reusable items, Virgin and Emerald will deliver a 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. 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 Voyages, states "We have really ambitious goals here so no decision is taken lightly. Everything down to seemingly simple changes in our supply chain are 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,” states Ralph Bianculli Jr., Managing Director of Emerald Brand. “It is a pleasure to partner with Virgin Voyages, who is showing its Sailors and the world that you can balance both enjoying the earth and caring for it at the same time without sacrificing your experience.”
In addition to providing Tree-Free™ and plastic-free products to the ships, Emerald's team of environmental experts, known more commonly as the Eco-Squad™, will help Virgin Voyages 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.
(Gerry Barker is a freelance travel writer who has covered the cruise industry for 10 years, formerly with The Palm Beach Post. He and his wife Pam maintain a Cruise Blog on NorthPalmBeachLife.com)