For 20 years, A-ROSA has been offering city trips by ship on the Danube, Douro, Rhine/Main/Moselle, Rhône/Saône and Seine. As the market leader for this type of premium vacation, our company has great responsibility not only towards our destinations, but also towards our guests and employees. We recognise this responsibility and therefore act as an industry pioneer in the field of sustainability. We are committed to ensuring that future generations will be able to experience the cities and landscapes we visit in the most unspoiled way possible and to preserve the fascination of Europe's most stunning places.
An important milestone on the sustainable course of A-ROSA is the A-ROSA SENA. The E-Motion Ship joined the fleet in June 2022 and is symbolic for our future. This unique ship has a hybrid propulsion system, which is composed of diesel and electric engines. A large battery storage unit enables the so-called peak shaving and temporarily purely electric driving. As a result, the A-ROSA SENA can call at ports almost silently and without producing local emissions. The innovative concept of the ship, which among other things further includes a heat recovery system and exhaust gas cleaning, has already earned A-ROSA several sustainability awards.
Sustainability is an important factor in all business sectors. A sustainable course is an ongoing journey that does not involve a single solution, but an interplay of countless small, medium and large measures. To address this complexity, we have established our own sustainability department at the beginning of 2022. Together with our project partner, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), this department is currently developing a well-founded and holistic sustainability strategy, which includes a target-oriented roadmap. A-ROSA plans to publish the results of this project in spring 2023.
For the development of a holistic sustainability strategy, it is important for us to have the support of a skilled, scientific project partner. That is why we work with the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The Fraunhofer ISI is one of the leading institutes for innovation research in Europe. It investigates the many different conditions under which innovations originate and their effects and helps decision-makers set a strategic course.
The first step in developing a well-founded sustainability strategy is a comprehensive assessment of the current position of A-ROSA. For this purpose, we use methods such as stakeholder mapping and environment analysis. When all the necessary information and data has been gathered, we will calculate our sustainability footprint. Once we know this metric, we will create a substantiated roadmap to set concrete goals to reduce our footprint and define measures to achieve them. The Fraunhofer ISI will continue to support us in the coming years in successfully implementing and reviewing these intended steps.
At the beginning of 2022, A-ROSA established its own sustainability department to approach the topic of sustainability holistically and to centralize all relevant points in one department going forward. Sandra Wendland, our Sustainability Manager, is in charge of the department and reports directly to the management of A-ROSA. She is supported by her colleague, the Junior Sustainability Manager Cynthia Hoppe.
Sandra Wendland graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Leisure and Tourism Management and afterwards completed a master's degree in International Business and Sustainability. While studying, she already acquired work experience at a large cruise company. She went on to work as a Corporate Responsibility Specialist for a large retail corporation. She focused on social issues, such as labour and social compliance in the supply chain, as well as environmental issues, in particular sustainable packaging.
Cynthia Hoppe has a master's degree in industrial engineering. While still a student, she worked at the Fraunhofer Institute for Large Structures in Production Engineering (IGP), where she was hired as a research associate after graduation. In the "Production Systems and Logistics" department, she supported regional industrial partners in making their processes more efficient. For example, she worked with a shipping company and a ferry and cruise operator to develop an innovative solution to reduce emissions through optimised workflows.
Wendland and Hoppe are now contributing all their expertise to A-ROSA and are working ambitiously on further advancing the focus on sustainability and developing a profound sustainability strategy with the support of the Fraunhofer ISI.
Forward planning and a considerate approach help us to avoid waste as well as reduce and compensate for water and energy consumption. We have an efficient waste management process on board our ships.
All waste is stored separately and then handed over to certified partner companies in selected ports. This ensures that it is disposed of correctly. Furthermore we have developed a concept for avoiding food waste together with the organisation United Against Waste.
At A-ROSA we aim to preserve the high water quality of the rivers. Waste water undergoes a complex treatment process on board our ships via modern, certified systems.
This protects the rivers from contamination. The sewage sludge produced during treatment is disposed of at ports, by specialist companies.
We’re working on removing non-recyclable plastic from our ships. Single-use plastic products are being replaced with sustainably produced or recyclable alternatives – from the bar areas to the kitchen to the housekeeping department. We already stopped carrying out unnecessary wash cycles some time ago. We also installed recyclable dispensers in the bathrooms and removed ready-portioned products from the buffet. The latest generation of A-ROSA ships is equipped with water dispensers, and the rest of the fleet is being adapted for them step by step – starting with the Rhône ships. This allows us to provide all our guests with refillable water bottles in their cabins instead of disposable plastic bottles.
Our ships meet – and in most cases exceed – the strictest standards for safety and sustainability. All of A-ROSA’s ships are equipped with an onshore power connection, and we use it exclusively at all berths where it is possible. This avoids local exhaust emissions and reduces noise pollution significantly. Our ships are powered by marine gas oil (MGO), which is virtually the same as normal car diesel. It has a sulphur content of around 0.001% – more than complying with the EU rules for operating in European ports – and it doesn’t contain any heavy fuel.
Furthermore the new A-ROSA SENA joined our fleet in June 2022. The innovative E-Motion ship is hybrid powered and has an electric motor, powered by batteries, which enables it to enter and leave the most beautiful cities along the northern Rhine emission-free and almost silently.
Four A-ROSA ships have already received the prestigious Green Award. A-ROSA AQUA, A-ROSA BRAVA, and A-ROSA SILVA were thoroughly inspected and received a certificate in silver – A-ROSA SENA was even certified with Gold. Especially in the safety and environmental protection categories they received very high scores. Since 1994, the Green Award certifies ship owners who are committed to sustainable shipping and whose measures go beyond official standards. For A-ROSA this award is a motivation to further develop and optimize clean technologies, safe processes and social responsibility.
At A-ROSA sustainability is our utmost priority. That’s why, when it came to designing our new ship, relying on existing technology was out of the question. We wanted to develop something new – something better. Matthias Lutter, our Head of New Builds, is an expert in this area. Working with the Concordia Damen shipyard, he developed an E-Motion vessel that’s truly innovative, particularly when it comes to energy efficiency. Thanks to an ingenious energy management system, a battery storage system and an optimised hull design, its exhaust emissions are even lower than those of our diesel-engine ships – which are already low. The new A-ROSA ship is powered by one diesel and one electric engine, as well as a battery. The ship covers some stretches of its route using the diesel engine, and the battery is charged. When approaching a port, the ship then switches over to the electric engine, which is powered by the battery. Like all the other ships in the fleet, the new vessel will also be equipped with an onshore power connection, so that the battery can be charged overnight. This will allow us to come into port and leave again in battery mode: almost silently and without producing any emissions.