Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

137 Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, advocates for all his brands to operate as sustainably as possible consequences when it comes to land use, competing with food sources, or social issues associated with the feedstocks. RSB wants to ensure we’re leveraging best practices from other industries like aviation and we’re using those same high standards for our future plans.” All three fuel companies Virgin has partnered with offer a drop-in sustainable fuel solution. Both Argent Energy and GoodFuels are already supplying those fuels in the marine sector. “They have a real product which can be used on cruise ships,” says Stoneberg. “It’s about the infrastructure being in place to support access to those fuels, the right policies being in place and the fuel being affordable in the destinations we’re visiting.” Both companies are active in the Netherlands where the right policies and incentives are already in place, but this is not currently the case elsewhere in the world. Hence Virgin is exploring how this could be extended into Europe, which has recently introduced the Fit for 55 plan, as well as how it could work for similar fuels that would be acceptable in the USA. To achieve this, Stoneberg and her peers are in no doubt that: “We need radical collaboration with all stakeholders – our peers, the ports and the major oil companies – not just sustainable fuel providers. It involves a lot of partnerships, even including the wider shipping industry. A lot of those conversations are taking place, a lot of change needs to happen very quickly.” The types of drop-in fuel being considered include those made from agricultural waste, which could derive from various waste feedstocks, for example the piths of fruit left over from harvesting. It could also come from municipal waste or sewage – in other words, giving a second life to carbon that already exists in the world above ground. Although these fuels are now significantly more expensive than fossil fuels, this will change especially in Europe. “Regulations are coming into place, where you will pay a price for Photo: Virgin Voyages “ It’s about creating positive change for people on the planet”