CALMAC'S CUTTING CARBON AS PART OF NEW ECO ACTIONS
By Klare Chamberlain, Environmental Manager, CalMac Ferries Ltd
This year we will pass a milestone in achieving one of our key targets in our bid to be the country’s greenest ferry company, cutting our carbon emissions by 5%.
This is just one of our ambitious targets outlined in our newly launched Environmental Strategy, which lays out in detail what we are doing to better protect the environment we sail in.
Along with reducing our carbon footprint other key targets include:
• Reducing water consumption by 10% by 2020 based on 2016 baseline
• Delivering action led biodiversity plans at half of CalMac sites by 2020
• Increasing recycling rates by a minimum of 15% by 2020 from 2017 baseline
Delivering this strategy was a key part of our winning bid for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract. We wanted to set achievable objectives that would really make a difference to protecting and enhancing the environment in which we operate.
Environmental issues are now at the forefront of the company’s thinking across the business, and we are confident we will achieve our initial targets by 2020, taking us a step closer to becoming a green leader within the industry.
Our significant reduction in carbon produced is mainly down to the use of more efficient fuel monitoring systems, and by working with industry academics to deliver energy efficient vessels.
Reducing and eliminating waste is another cornerstone of our environmental pledges. We are working to reduce single use plastics on board and looking at introducing more efficient waste management systems to help reduce, reuse and recycle more effectively. This will be backed with a new programme designed with with our partners to raise awareness of the impact of marine litter.
One of the biggest successes in the strategy so far has been our Marine Awareness Programme, raising the profile of the biodiversity of wildlife across the west coast.
Since 2015 we have been working with ORCA, a marine mammal charity, on Oceanwatch, a mammal survey to understand mammal populations in European waters. We will also be expanding and building on this work over the next few years to educate passengers about the fantastic biodiversity contained in our waters.
This programme has been developed through a partnership of 14 organisations including Marine Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage to help passengers get the most from the environment they are travelling through.
Last summer volunteers on our ferries spotted more than 500 marine mammals across the west coast. A team of more than 60 wildlife enthusiasts compiled the survey results that tracked different species on different routes as part of the programme.
They were supervised by resident ORCA Wildlife Officer Andy Gilbert, who was taken on to increase understanding of the wealth of biodiversity that exists in our area of operations.
Our Marine Awareness Programme focuses on increasing awareness of wildlife in our network by gathering scientific data, facilitating conservation and engaging with the public, Andy was central to this over the summer.
As well as training survey volunteers, during Andy’s time with us he has also engaged with more 2200 people on board through 45 trips, explaining about nature on the islands and demonstrating techniques to find wildlife.
Wildlife tourism is growing on both a global and local scale and now accounts for a significant amount of the total spend across the tourism sector in Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage research suggests that we sail in one of the most attractive eco-tourism destinations in the world.
Knowledge is a major part of protecting this environment for future generations. By finding out what wild resources we have, we are in better position to take steps to help conserve them. Our commitment to the monitoring, education and information sharing activity outlined in this Programme will help ensure we continue to build knowledge about the seas we sail.
The marine environment we work in is among the most diverse in the world, supporting over 6,500 complex and 40,000 single cell species of plants and animals.
Our seas are among the richest in Europe for marine mammals holding about 70% of Europe's population of grey seals and 35% of common seals along with numerous species of whales, dolphins, porpoises and seabirds.
As well as having a duty to help protect this environment by gathering as much data as we can, we can also play a role in promoting the wealth of wildlife we have in our area as a way of helping to sustain and grow island economies.
We are exploring a number of options to expand the Wildlife Officer programme this year, this may include information sessions on board and extra services on some of our most biodiverse routes. We are also looking at expanding our information sessions on board to engage with even more people. This may include sessions on topics such as marine litter and the blight it can have on our marine environment.
We have been working with our suppliers over the last year or so to identify alternatives to single-use plastics and with our waste contractors to ensure than any alternatives can be suitably managed to make our own contribution to reducing marine litter. This included a pledge to sign up to Sunnyside Primary School’s #NaeStrawAtAw campaign and banned plastic straws on-board.
All other sources of single use plastics on board are currently under review and we hope to be able to announce further changes over the coming months on how we are improving the way we manage waste.
If anyone is interested in reading more about our new Environmental Strategy there are more details at calmac.co.uk/corporate/environment
By Klare Chamberlain, Environmental Manager, CalMac Ferries Ltd
TIGER WOODS, CALMAC'S CARBON CUTTING EFFORTS, ELECTRIC VEHICLE EXPANSION AND REVITALISING THE CLYDE AND GLASGOW CITY CENTRE
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