The Norwegian group says it wants to chart the way for a greener industry by being emissions-free to sea and air on its Norwegian Coastal Express route by 2030

With a fleet of ships that travel to some the most environmentally sensitive parts of the world, from the Arctic to the Galapagos Islands, Norway’s Hurtigruten Group says it takes sustainability seriously.

In March the company announced that it is working with Norwegian research organisation SINTEF to develop a  zero-emission ship for its Norwegian Coastal Express, which stops at 34 ports between Bergen and Kirkenes, with the ambition to have it ready to sail by 2030. 

The project includes all aspects of a new-ship build programme, from design, propulsion, energy and fuel to hotel operations and digital solutions. A spokesperson said the goal is for the new ships to be emission-free to both air and sea, and sustainable from a circular economy perspective, reducing and reusing materials in construction of the ships, and minimising use of water and energy in operation. 

The 130-year-old company banned the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) for all its vessels in 2009. It is also working with NGOs to promote a broader international ban on HFOs for all vessels sailing in the Arctic, as they account for 75% of the marine fuel currently consumed in the Arctic today. 

We know we have a negative impact on the environment, despite having the greenest fleet of ships in the industry

A spokesman said Hurtigruten does not use LNG, opting instead to use certified biofuels and battery-hybrid technology to lower emissions. Last year, Hurtigruten added a third hybrid-powered expedition ship, MS Otto Sverdrup, which was last year named most sustainable ship in the world by Scope ESG and Stern magazine.

In 2018, Hurtigruten became the first cruise company to ban non-essential single-use plastic through its operations, instead providing guests with reusable water bottles, saving an estimated 1,000 plastic bottles a day on larger ships.

“Still, we know we have a negative impact on the environment with the emissions we produce, despite having the greenest fleet of ships in the industry,” the company says in its ESG report, adding that it intends this year to set a science-based target to become emissions-free by 2050, and putting Scope 3 emissions including its supply chain, business travel and the transportation of guests to its ships into its climate accounting.  

Main picture credit: Hurtigruten

This article is part of the summer 2022 edition of The Ethical Corporation. See also:

Hotel sector strives to make up lost time on sustainability

A bid to bring ‘regenerative’ tourism to the Red Sea

The drive to turn tourism from a prime threat to saviour of global biodiversity

‘Guilt-free’ travel through offsets ambition faces rocky road

Can business adopt a more sustainable flight-path post-Covid?

What’s sustainable about soaring business jet use?

Tailwind growing behind tackling aviation emissions

Can the cruise industry power itself to a net zero future?


Hurtigruten  cruise ships  heavy fuel oil  biofuels  scope 3 emissions 

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