Efforts to reduce food waste are at the center of Costa's commitment and constitute one of the top priorities on our path towards the integration of food sustainability on board our ships. In what is a global first for the cruise industry, we designed and launched a far-reaching program, unparalleled in terms of scope and complexity, with the aim of halving food wasteon board our ships by 2020.
Thanks to 4GOODFOOD, Costa intends to achieve this challenging objective ten years ahead of the United Nations 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals.
The 4 cornerstones of the program are value, reduction, retrieval and return.The different stages of the project are arranged in collaboration with prestigious Italian and international partners: the Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo Winnow, Cittadinanzattiva and Fondazione Banco Alimentare ONLUS.
The first step, together with the Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche, was a full review of all our internal food service processes and the gradual remodeling of the food experience on board with an approach based on sustainability. The upshot of this was the rigorous selection of quality products and ingredients and the fleetwide introduction of more than 500 dishes and recipes reflecting Italy’s unrivalled culinary heritage, while prioritizing the seasonal availability and local sourcing of produce.
Our partnership with the startup Winnow enabled us to really get the project into full swing by working on the reduction of food waste. The starting point was to analyze and quantify the amount of food thrown away during preparation of meals; this was done using innovative technology enabling the measurement of food wastage and food losses. Mapping of wastage at food processing and preparation level was carried out by placing kitchen scales in each strategic area on the ship, weighing what was put in the bin and keeping a centralized record of the different food categories with the aim of ensuring continuous improvement and sustainability.
A vital part of the program is the training and engagement of our galley staff. So far some 2400 Costa food handlers have received specific sustainability instruction and this has been instrumental in the successful launch of the program and the direct involvement of guests.
In this context in June 2017 we launched a program of shipboard communication called “Taste don’t Waste”, designed to encourage responsible consumption in the buffets across the fleet. The aim of this call to action is to bring about the proactive engagement of guests as socially aware citizens. The campaign addresses values and emotions; it is based on sensitization not imposition, and takes account of the rich multicultural mix of our clientele and the fact that they are holidaymakers. “Taste don’t Waste” was tested by the citizen and consumer rights group Cittadinanzattiva, which helped monitor the pilot project with the objective of determining the guest's level of awareness, understanding and willingness to take an active part.
. An initial contribution of funding was made for the establishment of 50 Food Gardens in Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania. This marked the kick-off of Costa's ongoing involvement with the aim of guaranteeing the future growth of this venture.
Another key phase of the project is the recovery and management of surplus food. For the first time in the history of global shipping, Costa Crociere together with the Italian food bank charity Fondazione Banco Alimentare introduced a surplus food donation scheme involving the retrieval of “ready to eat” meals prepared on board but not served in the ship's restaurants: these "leftovers" are in fact excellent quality food with great nutritional value. At present the initiative is operating in the Ports of Savona, Civitavecchia, Bari, Marsiglia and Palermo. Since the scheme started running in December 2017, some 50,000 portions have been distributed to people in need and, thanks to the Banco Alimentare's network, it is planned to expand the scale of operations to include other Italian and Mediterranean ports.
Costa has won the Seatrade Award in the Corporate Social Responsibility category, confirming the international importance of its groundbreaking 4GOODFOOD program. Now in their 30th year, the coveted Seatrade Awards constitute the global maritime community’s flagship award scheme and provide an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and innovations driving the industry’s future, while rewarding excellence and setting a benchmark for success. This year’s prize-giving ceremony was held in London on Friday, June 29, in the presence of the guest of honor, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.
Through 4GOODFOOD, Costa aims to build a unique model of best practice, designed to be flexible so it can be replicated on other ships or in other contexts as well as shipping, thereby reinforcing the Company’s role of leadership when it comes to innovation both within the industry and beyond.