(11 October 2022) Wightlink has won recognition for its ongoing campaign to reduce carbon emissions and encourage environmental initiatives. The Isle of Wight ferry operator has won the ‘Communicating Sustainability’ award from the Southern Sustainability Partnership and was presented with a trophy by Chris Packham at a ceremony in Southampton.
Since Wightlink’s hybrid energy flagship, Victoria of Wight, entered service on the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route in 2018, the company has embarked on a major programme to review its operations and operate as sustainably as possible.
By combining conventional engines with powerful batteries, Victoria of Wight’s carbon emissions are 20% less than other similar ships. Across the company Wightlink has cut emissions by 47% since 2007 and has ambitions for its next new ferry to be all-electric.
Wightlink’s achievements have already attracted national attention. The Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan showcased Victoria of Wight as a pioneering example of sustainable transport, as UK shipping aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. In addition, the Cabinet Office interviewed senior master Captain Sam Mitchell for a video on sustainability ahead of the COP26 gathering of world leaders in 2021.
“We are thrilled to receive this prestigious award,” says Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield. “While Wightlink always operates as sustainably as possible, we are also committed to spreading the word about the importance of reducing carbon emissions both within the shipping sector and further afield.”
Across Wightlink, almost nothing goes to landfill, 99% of rubbish is recycled or used to generate electricity, wooden cutlery has replaced plastic knives, forks and spoons and single-use plastics are eliminated whenever possible. Electric vehicle (EV) charging points have been installed and solar power generation is being explored. Wightlink buys from Island companies wherever possible, encourages local schools to carry out environmental projects and links with scientists from the University of Portsmouth, the BLUE Marine Foundation and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust who are carrying out environmental projects.
Wightlink has also achieved a Silver Award from Green Tourism, the largest and most established sustainable certification programme in the world. This scheme recognises businesses’ success in working responsibly, ethically and sustainably, contributing to their community, reducing their impact on the environment and aiming to be accessible and inclusive to all visitors and staff. To achieve accreditation, Wightlink was graded against criteria, covering areas such as energy and water efficiency, waste management, biodiversity and social involvement and communication.
Wightlink has also been nominated for Best Ferry Operator in this year’s British Travel Awards and the results will be announced on Tuesday 29 November 2022.
Picture caption: FastCat Captain Christian Ktomi (centre) and his crew Andrew Wishart, Eva Sprude, Pawel Wisniewski and Victor Fernandes celebrate winning a Big Sustainability Award