Peace Boat: Innovating sustainability in the cruise ship industry


Japanese based Eco-friendly cruise ship organization are setting the standard of sustainable tourism in the cruise industry. Source: @peaceboatofficial / Suzuki Scholchi / Instagram

THE cruise ship industry is predominantly led by North America and Europe – but the Asian region is emerging as one of the fastest growing, most exciting and sustainable cruise markets in the world, thanks to Peace Boat.

Peace Boat is making waves in sustainable travel and responsible tourism, and is setting the precedent for sustainability in the cruise ship industry by staying true to its principles of promoting peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment.

“In spite of concrete progress, the environmental impact of the cruising industry, in terms of air and ocean pollution and carbon emissions remains a matter of concern that should be properly addressed for the industry to grow sustainable,” Peace Boat executive committee president Rachel Armstrong told Travel Wire Asia.

The Japanese non-profit, non-government organization promotes political change and positive social impact through three-month educational voyages which combine visits to culturally and historically significant ports with time to relax and enlightening educational programmes.

Peace Boat’s global university program runs on board the voyages and works as an intensive peace and sustainability class. “Our goal during each voyage is to provide participants with the insight and skills necessary to play an active role in education, activism and peace-building activities at the grass-roots level in Japan and internationally,”  states Peace Boat’s website.

Peace Boat’s international student program brings young people from countries with political and military conflict together where they can study advanced conflict analysis and resolution. Programs so far have worked with Palestine and Israel, India and Pakistan, and China and Taiwan, to name a few.

Since 1983 Peace Boat has been innovating for positive global impact, and, in 2014, the NGO announced the Ecoship Project, a transformational initiative to construct the planet’s most sustainable cruise ship.

The new cruise-liner is whale-inspired in design and aims to cut propulsion energy by 20 percent, electricity load by 50 percent and reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent. The ship will operate a closed-loop waste and water management system to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution.

The eco-ship is set to sail in 2020, “Its whole system design, with its striking 10-solar paneled sails, will be a game-changer in the cruise industry and offer an economically viable transitional model to the de-carbonization of the maritime sector,” explained Armstrong.

“Sustainable tourism is incredibly important right now. We need to change how we think about travel if we really want to be sure that the positive impacts outweigh the negative.”

As sustainable travel enters the mainstream, a wealth of cruisers will become aware of the impact their vacation is having. But Peace Boat is one step ahead and can offer vacationers the same luxury, entertainment and cultural offerings in ports and at sea as a standard ship, but with the opportunity to broaden your horizons through environmental education, languages and seminars, all the while knowing you are not harming the environment.