Uniworld releases latest Impact Report with updates on food waste, commitment to DEI, new guest experiences and more

Uniworld releases latest Impact Report with updates on food waste, commitment to DEI, new guest experiences and more
SS Elisabeth on Rhine river Germany with Stolzenfels Castle

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has published its third annual Impact Report specifying progress made during 2023 and detailing updates to the company’s sustainability goals as outlined under parent company The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right.  Overseen by Uniworld’s dedicated Sustainability Officer, Julie Higgins, this plan consists of 11 measurable goals including reducing 50% of food waste by 2025, eliminating single-use plastics, achieving net zero by 2050 and more. Uniworld became the first river cruise line to publish an impact report in 2022, transparently outlining the brand’s progress towards goals supporting the planet and community.

“At Uniworld, sustainability is more than a goal—it’s a core part of our identity and a commitment to future generations,” says Julie Higgins, Sustainability Officer at Uniworld. “Our annual Impact Reports help keep us accountable as we publicly outline our progress, and we’re incredibly proud of the strides we’ve made – from reducing food waste to strengthening our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

 

Uniworld’s latest Impact Report updates include:

Food Waste Statistics

In August 2021, Uniworld employed food waste reduction system Leanpath Solutions to improve kitchen efficiency and prevent food waste on a large scale through an automated food waste tracking system, with the ultimate goal of reducing food waste by at least 50% on all ships by 2025. As of 2023, the system was implemented across the entire Uniworld fleet and has reduced food waste by 36%. Since 2021, Leanpath has prevented 50,787kg/50.787 tons of food waste – the equivalent of 93,305 meals/354 metric tons of CO2/conserving 1,247,516 bathtubs of water. Guests can learn more about Leanpath while onboard through an alternative dining experience called the ‘Progressive Dinner.’ Hosted by the Hotel Manager, this intimate dinner accommodates up to 10 guests per session complete with a visit to the galley, where the Chef also showcases Leanpath’s role in reducing food waste and emphasizes its importance to Uniworld.

 

Net Zero Goal/Path2Zero Partnership

Uniworld is working to advance its emission reduction objectives, aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or before. Initiatives in 2023 include reducing the amount of laundry going to external laundries, which resulted in a 24-tonne reduction for the year. Additionally, Uniworld is the only cruise company participating in the Path2Zero project, a five-year research initiative led by Delft University of Technology aimed at devising the most suitable path for the inland shipping industry to reach net zero by 2025. Path2Zero commenced in 2023 and consists of living labs and workshops, in which Uniworld’s captains, engineers and technical experts actively participate.

 

In 2023, Uniworld also joined a river cruise organisation collaboration to apply for EU funding to support the net zero journey of river ships, creating data-based scenarios for a European Plan to decarbonise the cruise sector. Uniworld committed to completing energy audits on its vessels in 2023, and starting in 2024, to recommend new opportunities for reducing carbon emissions. Lastly, Uniworld is partnering with Atlas Reizen, which provides coaches for about 50% of itineraries to explore the use of HVO fuel where available.

 

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences

Uniworld’s MAKE TRAVEL MATTER Experiences are carefully chosen against a robust set of criteria aligned with the United Nations Global Goals, allowing guests to immerse themselves in a destination’s local communities and wildlife sustainably while leaving a positive impact. In 2023, Uniworld offered 19 MAKE TRAVEL MATTER Experiences across 67% of itineraries, with 12 new additions launched over the year. The brand is working towards having at least one MAKE TRAVEL MATTER Experience on every itinerary by 2025.

 

DEI Initiatives

Uniworld is committed to fostering diversity, equity, inclusion and action both across its ships and its internal employees. Shirnett Fleet, Uniworld’s Chief Marketing Officer, recently became a board member of NorthStar BTAB (Black Travel Advisory Board), whose mission is to help foster a more inclusive travel industry. As a continuation of their mental health program, Uniworld introduced a 2-day course, resulting in the internationally recognized Mental Health First Aid program certificate. 100% of Uniworld’s employees across the globe signed the company’s Code of Conduct, demonstrating a universal commitment to Uniworld’s ethical standards. Uniworld is also dedicated to providing access to affordable education for its employees, noted in its implementation of a Hospitality School, with two five-day sessions taking place in 2023 for employees in the Food & Beverage and Housekeeping fields.

 

Recent Sustainability Accolades

USTOA (The United States Tour Operators Organisation) named Uniworld’s Sustainability Officer Julie Higgins a ‘Future Light of the Tour Industry’ – an award given to recipients who are “champions of sustainability and DEI efforts within their own companies, and now, among all members of USTOA and the greater tour and travel industry.” Julie was recognised for her work in spearheading the How We Tread Right strategy, which has led Uniworld to become a pioneer in sustainable cruise travel. Furthermore, Uniworld and the company’s dedicated Culinary team were recognised in the United Nations’ Advisory Board on ZeroWaste, a high-level meeting aimed to raise awareness and provide a platform to promote sustainable practices, for the progress Uniworld has made in reducing food waste across the fleet thus far.

 

To read the full Impact Report and learn more about the progress Uniworld has made against its How We Tread Right sustainability strategy, visit impact.ttc.com/progress.

To learn more about Path2Zero, visit PATH2ZERO: transition to zero-emission inland shipping.

To learn more or book a river cruise with Uniworld, visit https://www.uniworld.com/.