Sustainability is ‘part of Ponant DNA’

Luxury cruise line Ponant is “well ahead of all of the targets” it has for sustainability, according to its group deputy chief executive, Belinda Hindmarsh.

Last month, the French company became the first maritime cruise line to achieve Green Globe certification, demonstrating how it is reducing its ships’ environmental footprint.

It is also plans to launch a sailing ship in 2030 that will have zero greenhouse gas emissions when sailing, manoeuvring, in port or at anchor.

Hindmarsh took the helm as Ponant group deputy chief executive last year and said its sustainability credentials were very important in her decision to join the cruise line.

She has 25 years of experience in the travel industry, in aviation, business travel and online travel, and said it has been “an absolute delight” finding out about Ponant.

“I truly think Ponant is one of the best-kept secrets out there,” she told a Travel Weekly webcast.

She added: “Sustainability is part of the DNA and part of why I was attracted to the business.

“It is really at the core. The whole company was founded around sustainable expeditions 36 years ago and has continued to be that way.

“We are very lucky. We have very, very supportive shareholders who are absolutely committed to the cause.

“We’ve switched to more sustainable fuels since 2019. We’re well ahead of all of the targets and we are really focused on trying to reduce our emissions.”

She said travellers are aware of the issues and care about sustainability, although “people aren’t really willing to pay for it yet”.

“In that void, someone has to step up; that’s where Ponant is really innovating,” she said.

“Our mission is really to offer as close to carbon-emissions-zero sailings as possible. It is really pushing the boundaries.”

She said the cruise line is also looking at ways the technology being developed for the zero-emissions ship can be used by the existing fleet.

“We can continue to push the envelope forward…it is very close to our hearts,” she added.

She said the fleet has expanded since pre-Covid times, with the addition of luxury icebreaker Le Commandant Charcot (pictured).

The arrival this summer of catamaran Spirit of Ponant will take its fleet to 14 ships.

Ponant is well known for polar cruises but also offers tropical expeditions in destinations such as Australia and Japan.

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