Ferry company achieves Gold at Green Tourism Awards

Hamnavoe at Scrabster

SERCO NorthLink Ferries has been recognised for its sustainability standards by independent body, Green Tourism, and is the only ferry operator to currently have its Gold rating.

NorthLink Ferries has been praised for excelling in the health & wellbeing, awareness, community, and travel categories.

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Green Tourism was impressed by NorthLink’s increase in environmental and sustainability awareness throughout the organisation. Initiatives ranged from:

  • NorthLink’s use of eco-lighting across all offices and port flood lighting;
  • Captains sailing more efficiently to reduce emissions;
  • Rainwater from the lairage being harvested to wash the building, and;
  • Animal waste being delivered to local farms for use as fertiliser.

Meanwhile, on board the vessels there are several ways in which the company strives to improve the environment. These include: vehicle drivers being encouraged to turn off their engines whilst waiting to board, single use plastic cups having been removed from all vessels, and recycling bins provided on board all ships.

The Northern Isles Ferry Services contract operator was also applauded for its ground-breaking work which sees NorthLink credited as achieving the first large commercial ship shore connection in the UK.

The Hamnavoe Shore Power Project means when the vessel is docked in Stromness, for extended periods of time during the day, and at nighttime, it is ‘plugged in’ allowing the ferry’s onboard generators to be switched off. The supply of locally-produced green electrical power cuts the carbon footprint from the generators, lowering fuel consumption and leading to a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The project has lowered the ferry’s fuel consumption by 750 tonnes annually whilst also reducing sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and noise pollution.

Speaking of the awards, Robert Smith, Contract Compliance for NorthLink Ferries, said:

“When it comes to tackling climate change, we all have our part to play, and we are incredibly proud of this achievement. Being named as the first ferry operator to achieve Gold at the Green Tourism Awards is testament to the team’s commitment to protect the environment in which we operate, from our port in Aberdeen, to the seas we sail and the beautiful islands of Shetland and Orkney.

“Our work to further the net zero agenda underlines our pledge to reduce our impact by making responsible changes, encouraging energy efficient behaviours and reducing our footprint on land, as well as at sea.”

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