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We have always been driven by a passion for the sea. That is why we have always strived to grow sustainably and pioneer green initiatives in the international shipping industry. We address the environmental impact of the routes we operate and implement measures in all our processes and operations to reduce our environmental footprint. Discover below our sustainable journey, the En Armonía con el Mar initiatives and how you can join us on our journey.
In 1974 we set sail for our first destination with the commitment to be eco-efficient.
Our aim was to link the islands at the closest points, to reduce our carbon footprint.
In 1989 we expanded our connections and took our commitment to eco-efficiency to new ports in the Canary Islands.
Since 1995, we have been conducting on-board whale watching, for study and preservation purposes.
We conducted research to ensure that they were designed with highly durable materials and with low emissions.
We built our ferries with the lowest weight possible: the lighter the load, the less power required and the fewer the emissions.
We designed hulls for ships with less resistance to the sea, thus reducing shipping emissions.
We moved the ship's access ramps ashore. They are normally carried on board. This change allowed us to reduce more weight and emissions.
We redesigned part of our routes to reduce transits in areas frequented by marine wildlife.
We pioneered the use of Marine Gas Oil: a lighter, less polluting and lower sulphur fuel.
We designated more marine fauna spotters to encourage their study and to adjust our travel courses.
We applied fluoropolymers to the hulls of our ships, a paint that reduces water resistance and generates no waste in the sea.
We partnered with universities to support environmental studies, which we still do! CetaVist (ULL), CanBio (ULPGC), ...
We launched the first trimaran for the Canary Islands. This led to technological improvements and a greener horizon.
In 2006 we connected to shore-based power for the first time, eliminating direct CO2 emissions and noise in towns and cities.
During port stops, we kept the engines at the minimum necessary level recommended to reduce pollution.
We said goodbye to paper on ships. Thanks to this, today you only need your travel documents to travel.
We promised to reduce paper consumption throughout the company, achieving annual savings of 6050 kg of paper and 6.8 t of CO2.
We devised the world's first prototype Ropax Fast Ferry with a dual engine, also capable of running on Liquefied Natural Gas.
We reinforced our company culture focused on reducing the use of electricity, fuel and paper.
We optimised ventilation in our machine rooms with energy-saving controllers.
We had it certified by the Ministry for Ecological Transition to measure our impact and be able to reduce it.
We designed two new trimarans, based on new environmental sustainability and efficiency criteria.
We implemented internal awareness campaigns to promote safe environmental practices.
Fewer printers, new cooling systems, new lighting systems and reuse.
Together with Balearia, we opted for LNG fuel on our routes to Huelva, achieving a 30% CO2 reduction.
We replaced them with biodegradable tableware, reducing up to 6.2 tonnes of plastic per year.
We started a new protection project, with thermal camera testing and outreach actions.
We further reduced our nautical miles through Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).
Which demonstrates that we prioritise environmental opportunities and risks in an appropriate way.
We created offers to distribute products from our cafeterias before they expire, at very low prices.
We prioritised the selection of local suppliers to supply shops, cafeterias and other areas of our service.
We are adding new trimarans to the fleet, with more efficient engines that use less fuel.
We are implementing new navigation systems, sensors and 5G connectivity to support conscious decision making.
We limit smoking during crossings to prevent marine pollution by cigarette butts.
We are in the process of developing technology to detect marine fauna, even at a distance of 2 nautical miles.
We are investigating initiatives to capture CO2 emissions in shipping.
We are reinforcing our environmental commitment with the launch of the "En Armonía con el Mar" project.
At Fred. Olsen Express we are working on more than 70 measures as part of our En Armonía con el Mar project, with the aim of navigating towards a bluer future. Below you can find out about some of our most important projects or download our environmental action plan up to 2024:
INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
We promote R&D&I projects related to the design and construction of our fleet based on sustainability standards. We are also working on measures to optimise fuel and find more environmentally friendly alternatives, as well as reducing our carbon footprint.
Our vessels are built using structural innovations and sustainable, durable and ultra-lightweight materials to minimise our footprint.
We are committed to light and efficient vessels that minimise their resistance to water and wind. We also prioritise eco-efficiency in engines and navigation systems, which we enhance with artificial intelligence to optimise fuel consumption.
We paint our hulls with fluoropolymers, which do not leave residues in the sea, and we work on our wake, preventing the generation of waves and the impact on nearby environments and marine fauna.
We operate with high power density engines, electronic injection and we are pioneers in the use of Marine Gasoil, since 1999, generating more costs but fewer emissions.
We are currently investigating new initiatives to reduce our CO2 emissions. And, in the last decade, we have prototyped the first dual diesel-LNG engine and investigated electric propulsion.
Both initiatives have not been adopted as alternative propulsion models in the Canary Islands due to lack of supplies, or insufficient autonomy and safety for the archipelago's crossings.
Since our foundation, we have been involved in numerous research and technological tests to reduce our footprint on the sea. Our commitment to technology has enabled us to position ourselves as leaders and develop award-winning solutions, such as Fred. Olsen Vigía. We are currently conducting research along three new lines:
On the one hand, we are exploring the effectiveness of new thermal cameras for automatic animal identification, in collaboration with the ULL and the Natura 2000 Network. On the other hand, we are researching in R+D+i to extend detection to 2 nautical miles, together with Aeromarine. Finally, we are working on new uses of bottom hydrophones and other technologies to prevent collisions and assess the ecosystem services provided by cetaceans, in collaboration with the ULL and Mare Arditi.
We are currently investing in a sensor system for vessels that collects Big Data information in real time to support informed decision making. We also use 5G technology to ensure the connectivity of our optimisation tools on our voyages.
In addition, we promote the efficient use of data and improve our overall and energy efficiency, through projects such as the implementation of MarineLink Smart software or the creation of programmes such as Varada 2.0. These tools help us to measure in real time parameters such as fuel consumption or employee travel, and allow us to look for alternatives to reduce the use of natural resources.
At Fred. Olsen Express, we pioneered the elimination of the boarding pass for our passengers in 2014. A revolutionary move that has spread across the industry, simplifying the boarding process and contributing to a more sustainable future.
Today, to travel, you only need your personal travel documents. We validate all the information in our systems, allowing you to board quickly and smoothly.
More than just convenience, this initiative allows us to reduce more than 4 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, furthering our commitment to the environment. It has also encouraged digitalisation in all areas of our work, optimising processes and improving the customer experience.
Since 2014, after the elimination of boarding passes, we have championed digitisation, and are committed to what we call our "0 Paper" policy. Our goal: to reduce paper and cardboard consumption in as many procedures as possible.
As a result, we have pioneered the creation of digital tools and solutions that replace paper-based administrative tasks. In turn, we have reduced supplier and employee travel, improving the efficiency of our processes.
We constantly analyse our efforts and so, from 2014 to 2022, we were able to reduce our paper consumption by 74%. Here are some more facts:
Our Zero Paper policy is a challenge that we continue to work on and in which everyone can participate. We encourage you to join us.
We continue along our path, knowing that we have a long journey ahead of us. So, in 2022, we created a specific area of Innovation for Sustainability at our head office, with the aim of further developing our environmental protection policy and accelerating improvements.
Caring for our seas means reducing waste. That's why we replace single-use plastics with more sustainable alternatives throughout the fleet. We have segregation stations that encourage recycling and we are now smoke-free.
Since the 1990s, we have operated by planning our routes between Tenerife, La Gomera and La Palma, reducing to a minimum the number of miles we travel in Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) of marine biodiversity.
With these adjustments, our voyages are longer for our customers and we increase the distance we travel by 4,815 nautical miles per year, equivalent to travelling from the Canary Islands to Alaska, but we sail in greater harmony with the inhabitants of our waters.
Since 2019, we have replaced all single-use plastics in our kitchenware with plant-based and compostable PLA materials. We have replaced cups, straws, plates, cutlery, plastic bags, among other items. In Clase Oro (Business), we have opted for reusable tableware.
We have also equipped our entire team with reusable bottles and installed water fountains to encourage reuse. This set of measures allows us to reduce up to 6.2 tonnes of plastic per year.
To supply our cafés and shops, and in order to promote the economy of each island, we select suppliers according to sustainability criteria and those with local or already stocked products.
We also give priority to contracting companies, maintainers and subcontractors that have local products and items that require little transport and have green labels. We also prioritise sustainably sourced gift items for our commercial activities.
We are working on several measures related to optimising the weight of our vessels to reduce our fuel expenditure. The lower the weight, the lower the power requirement, which brings about a significant reduction in emissions. We highlight the following initiatives:
During our long-term stopovers, we connect our vessels to shore-side power supplies. This consists of a ship-grounding system that is developed with a low voltage connection point. It leads to a reduction in the use of fossil fuels in liner vessels (marine gas oil) and has a number of benefits for both the shipping company and the public. Noise pollution and direct CO2 emissions into the atmosphere are eliminated while vibrations are reduced, thus improving the quality of life of the surrounding communities.
All our vessels are prepared from their construction with technical adaptations that allow our engines to benefit from this form of supply. The first effective connection was made with the Bocayna Express in 2006. In 2023, we also connected our Bañaderos Express and Bajamar Express ships in the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. We are currently awaiting the preparation of new supply opportunities to expand this measure.
We have replaced all the lighting in our fleet with low-energy light bulbs (LED); we have installed self-consumption solar spotlights (solar panels) on the stairs leading to the ramps and we have implemented the use of AA and AAA rechargeable batteries for wireless equipment, reducing consumption and waste generation.
In addition, we have installed air curtains at the entrances to our ships to prevent cold losses during boarding. We install vinyl stickers on all our windows and skylights, to provide shade, minimise solar radiation and thus reduce the use of air conditioning.
In our machine rooms, which require frequent cooling from high to low temperatures, we have also optimised ventilation and energy consumption by installing regulators that control the speed of the motors that generate energy.
Since the company was first established, and as part of our company philosophy, we have sought to reduce the consumption of resources in all our processes, by continuously establishing improvements and reviews. In recent years we have implemented the following measures:
We are committed to more sustainable materials in everyday use items, such as the napkins on board or in our offices, which are eco-friendly and made from recycled paper. We have also prioritised the use of cleaning products and chemicals with ECOLABEL-certified brands. This has helped us to increase our consumption of certified products by 14%. Our next target is to reach 25% by extending this measure to products in machine rooms and garages.
Our warehouses and cleaning products are equipped with chemical spill prevention kits to prevent water contamination. With the same objective, we use dry connections with anti-drip system for the fuel supply of our entire fleet, to eliminate any risk of fuel spillage.
And, additionally, in 2023, we have launched a new marine water pollution prevention project with the installation of wastewater treatment plants on board our ships. The purpose of these treatment plants is to treat wastewater and they are capable of eliminating possible pollutants present in the water through a series of chemical processes. It is an additional, voluntary and preventive system that we implement to take care of our environment as much as possible.
We work to improve waste segregation and encourage awareness of better use of natural resources. For this reason, all our facilities are equipped with recycling stations, they have information panels to encourage correct segregation and bins for individual use have been removed from the work stations of our staff to encourage recycling.
We decided to make our facilities smoke-free to prevent cigarette butts from falling into the sea. Similarly, we remind our clients that it is absolutely forbidden to throw any element into the sea on on-board information media.
In our quest to improve the overall utilisation of the resources we employ, we have implemented special offers in our cafeterias whereby, on the last voyages of the day, we offer fresh produce, in perfect condition, at cost price.
Act in Armonía con el Mar
Check our schedule of coastal cleaning
COLLABORATION AND AWARENESS-RAISING
The best travelling companions help us to work for nature and marine wildlife. Together with them, we create synergies with the most committed organisations, train our crew and raise awareness among our passengers.
Since the 1990s we have been collaborating with the CetAvist initiative, which allows the free transport of whale watchers to carry out research on the whale population on the islands from our fleet.
Also, in 2020 we created an official alliance with the University of La Laguna and its biology faculty, to participate in scientific studies on the marine fauna of the Canary Islands, raise awareness about the abundance of our waters and review, together with specialised researchers, our collision prevention protocols.
We are sponsors of initiatives such as Fénix Canarias, a project that aims to document and create activities for the recovery of the islands' forests, while at the same time raising awareness among the local population.
Through this collaboration we offer environmental education workshops for children on board (24 carried out in 2023), we disseminate good practices to care for the environment to travellers, and we carry out awareness-raising activities with our employees, supported by recognised professionals from the archipelago.
In the framework of the CanBio-CanOA project, we collaborate with the Loro Parque Foundation and the Institute of Oceanography - Global Change of the ULPGC, investigating ocean acidification in the Northeast Atlantic.
Our Benchijigua Express ship is equipped with specialised instruments and collects samples during voyages to measure CO2 exchanges between the atmosphere and the ocean. This project has shown that some areas function as CO2 sinks and others as a direct lift to the atmosphere.
In addition to collaborating with the University of La Laguna, we support the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and its Veterinary Faculty, facilitating their research on marine fauna.
We cannot make this journey without our employees, so we dedicate part of our resources to providing tools that enable them to gain knowledge and reduce their own environmental footprint. These are some of our initiatives:
We use our communications media, where we can potentially reach more than 3 million people, to support environmental protection and sustainability campaigns. Thus, we have collaborated with SEO Birdlife in their work to raise awareness of shearwater habits and rescue, or with Telesforo Bravo in his "Pasa sin Huella" campaign.
We have also created the first underwater guide of the Canary Islands to raise awareness of the abundance of our waters and we hold environmental workshops in our facilities for children, as mentioned in previous sections.
Also, in 2023 we launched for the first time a guide for suppliers, customers and travellers on good environmental practices in everyday life, which we recommend to have at hand at all times.
We work to disseminate the Fred. Olsen Express environmental measures among suppliers to raise awareness of good practices and improve the use of natural resources.
Also, in 2023 we launched for the first time a guide for suppliers, customers and travellers on good environmental practices in everyday life, which we recommend to have at hand at all times.
Together with the Fundación Canaria Parque Científico Tecnológico de la Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, we sponsored the first urban electromobility event on the islands to raise awareness of energy sustainability.
The Canary archipelago hides great treasures, both on land and under the sea. We want to show you some of these incredible landscapes and, for this reason, we have created the first underwater guide to the islands. Dive into our YouTube channel and see it for yourself!
VOLUNTEERING AND PARTICIPATION
We raise awareness of the importance of caring for the environment and promote the conservation of the natural environment of our islands through workshops and awareness programmes.
We have set ourselves the goal of becoming a benchmark in fund and coastline clean-up actions. With this objective, together with Terramare Medioambiente and IDECO, in 2023 we carried out three volunteer actions, with more than 550 participants and nearly 1000 kilos of waste collected. In 2024, our commitment continues. If you want to take part, you can sign up here.
We actively participate in forums on marine litter and circular economy, in meetings on the Special Area of Conservation to improve the protection of marine fauna and in conferences on renewable energies in the maritime sector (Mid Atlantic Ship Repairs & Supply Summit).
In environmental emergency situations, such as fires, we work in coordination with the Canary Islands 112 services, placing our fleet and human resources at their disposal to facilitate the transfer of troops and service units required in the shortest possible time.
Together with various organisations, we organise environmental volunteer days to raise awareness among our employees of the need to protect our environment.
We have carried out reforestation activities, conferences on Canary flora, seabed abd shore clean-ups and reincorporation of rescued marine fauna into their habitat, such as the release of turtles. All accompanied by authorised entities such as the Cabildo de Tenerife, forestry agents or Fénix Canarias.
In recent years we have received the following certificates and awards:
Carbon footprint registration and verification (2017)
Adherence to the Poseidon principles (2021)
Adherence to the Glasgow Declaration (2022)
Adhesion to the Canary Islands Agenda 2030
ISO 14001 certification (2019)
Sustainable construction award (2022)
Sustainable Tourism Practices Award (2023)
Recognition for Sustainable Development (2023)
This registration evidences compliance with the CO2 measurement and management system proposed by the company, according to the standard of the Ministry of Ecological Transition, and certifies our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This certification certifies that we carry out our activity in compliance with the necessary ecological requirements to generate the minimum impact with our activity, and that we have an effective environmental management system in place that allows for continuous improvement.
In 2022, the Bañaderos Express trimaran was internationally recognised with the 'Shippax Fast Ferry Award' for its sustainable construction and for being a respectful and clear alternative to consolidate the maritime transport of the future.
The Cabildo of Tenerife recognised Fred. Olsen Express with the 'Sustainable Tourism Practices 2022' award for the 'Fred. Olsen Vigía', a pioneering system designed to help care for and preserve the life of our oceans.
More information and other certifications can be found here.
Your ideas and suggestions are welcome and can contribute to designing the transport model we all want for the Canary Islands. Please use the form below to send us your contributions.
These actions and projects allow us to contribute to the achievement of the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: