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CalMac Environmental Strategy 2021-2023

CalMac Environmental Strategy 2021 - 2023

CalMac Environmental Strategy 2021-2023 [11MB]


Accessible Version | CalMac Environmental strategy 2021-2023

Environmental Strategy - How we protect your world


As an organisation committed to the sustainability, economy and beauty of the communities we serve, I am pleased to present our environmental strategy for 2021 - 2023 which outlines ambitious yet achievable aims to protect the world we live in and enjoy every day.

As well as global environmental and economical threats such as climate change, Scotland continues to face its own environmental challenges, so we all have a role to play in protecting it for future generations to enjoy.

We have already made steps to improve our environmental impact through our existing strategy, including increasing waste recycling rates by more than 15%, and reducing our relative carbon footprint by more than 5%.

To achieve further improvements, this strategy outlines collaborative, accountable actions for colleagues and teams across the organisation, which we will support with strong policies, regular communication and review. I hope that all colleagues will embed this strategy into every aspect of the business as we strive for a better future for all.

Thanks to all those involved in creating this strategy, particularly our Environmental team who will ensure its effective implementation.


Thanks and stay safe,

Robbie Drummond



CalMac Ferries Limited is synonymous with travel in the Clyde and Hebrides Regions and an integral part of life for a resident, tourist or business in western Scotland. Scotland's nature is unique, and we are privileged to operate in one of the most beautiful and diverse regions of the world.

Our environment is changing¹ and biodiversity is being lost at a rapid rate². Climate change poses a significant threat to our remote and island communities, threatening many of the habitats and unique species that live in western Scotland.

We are committed to minimising our impact on the marine and terrestrial environments in which we operate and wherever possible, enhance the quality of Scotland's natural environment for future generations to enjoy. We recognise that in addition to minimising our impact on the environment, we must prepare for environmental change in order to maintain resilient services and support our communities.

Our vision is to "provide a resilient and environmentally sustainable service in a changing climate to support the economic growth of our communities".

To deliver our vision we have four core priorities:

  • An optimally efficient ferry service that has lower Greenhouse gas emissions

  • A reliable ferry and port operation that is resilient to climate change

  • Minimal waste and sustainable use of materials

  • Protected biodiversity on land and in seas

We have already made significant progress towards realising our vision through the implementation of our 2017-2020 Environmental Strategy. This next strategy aims to build on the environmental progress made to date whist prioritising our actions to deliver our vision. Our core priorities align with the outcomes of Scotland's Environment Strategy³, Scottish Government National Outcomes⁴ and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG⁵) in addition to our significant environmental aspects.


Climate Action

Climate change is recognised globally as the greatest environmental and economic threat faced by nations and individuals. Human activities over the last two centuries have already caused 1°C warming of the Earth's atmosphere. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report⁶ is very clear that this will affect water supplies, agriculture, power, transport and infrastructure, as well as human health. Many of these impacts are already becoming apparent across the globe.


Core Priority - We operate an optimally efficient ferry service that has lower Greenhouse gas emissions

Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to acknowledge that there is a global climate emergency back in early 2019⁷. Since then, the Scottish Government has set a 2045 net zero emissions target⁸ and outlined a plan to help deliver the Paris Agreement⁹ of limiting global warming to no more than 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

It is estimated that UK domestic shipping contributes up to 1% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions, this equates to 5.9 Mt CO2¹⁰. In the year 2019 - 2020, our total carbon emissions were in the region of 0.126 Mt CO2 or approximately 2% of the UK's domestic shipping total. We recognise that we have a significant role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our operations to help deliver Scottish Government emission targets. We must ensure that our offices, ports and vessels are operated in the most efficient manner to minimise energy, waste and fuel consumption. We must also work closely with CMAL, Transport Scotland and Scottish Government to ensure that we deliver an effective service that meets or exceeds their emission ambitions.

To deliver this core priority we will set ourselves a target to reduce vessel fuel consumption by 2% year on year during the period of the strategy. We will adopt and embrace technology to support remote working and the reduction of annual business mileage and will create guidance on sustainable working practices to encourage behaviour change. We will improve the quality of our utilities data and accurately report on our quarterly and annual consumption in addition to identifying efficiency savings in our operations and procedures to help reduce energy consumption.

We will measure our performance by monitoring our vessel fuel, electricity, gas and heating oil consumption on a monthly or quarterly basis. We will measure business miles claimed each quarter and will keep records of our fleet vehicle usage. We will calculate our Scope 1, 2 and where possible Scope 3 emissions on a quarterly basis and will calculate our relative carbon footprint (g CO2e per passenger km) monthly.


Core Priority - We provide a reliable ferry and port operation that is resilient to climate change

Scotland's climate is already changing. There is a long-term trend of warming temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns and rising sea levels¹¹. We have been experiencing this as highly variable weather conditions which bring a range of challenges to our operations. Future climate change will bring additional challenges. Impacts from climate change are particularly significant for infrastructure in Scotland, which is critical in supporting ferry operation and providing lifeline services to communities.

To ensure that we can maintain a reliable service in a changing environment, we will commit to fully understanding the risk that climate change poses to our organisation. We will build on our initial Climate Change Risk Assessment and ensure that climate risk is communicated throughout the organisation. We will embed climate risk thinking into our daily operations by amending our Risk Management process and by including climate risk within our Risk Register.

Responsible Consumption and Production

Global consumption of materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, metals and minerals are expected to double in the next forty years, while annual waste generation is projected to increase by 70% by 2050¹². Single use items are commonplace and provide short term convenience to consumers and businesses but create long-term damage to the environment and society¹³.


Core priority - We generate minimal waste and sustainable use of materials

The Scottish Government aim to make Scotland a zero-waste society with a circular economy. By 2025 the Scottish Government aim to reduce total waste arisings by 15% against 2011 levels, reduce food waste by 33% against 2013 levels, recycle 70% and send no more than 5% of remaining waste to landfill¹⁴.

To achieve the Scottish Government recycling and landfill targets, we will apply the waste hierarchy to all areas of the business and prioritise the prevention of waste. We will replace paper-based processes and communications with electronic. We will reduce the amount of plastic packaging we sell through our retail outlets and will implement a deposit return scheme across our network to divert packaging waste from landfill. We will use technology to better understand the source of our food waste and actively work to minimise it.

We will measure our total waste arisings, the amount of food waste we generate, and the amount of waste we recycle and send to landfill on a monthly basis. We will measure the amount of packaging, including plastic, that we sell and will monitor the amount of packaging that we take back as part of a deposit return scheme.

Life Below Water

Scotland's natural environment and wildlife are some of the most unique and beautiful in the World. It is estimated that Wildlife Tourism, such as visiting nature reserves and watching wildlife, accounts for 7% of Scotland's Tourism income¹⁵. Biodiversity is in decline in Scotland and the 2019 State of Nature Report indicates that breeding seabird populations have decreased by 38% since 1986¹⁶.


Core priority - We have protected biodiversity on land and in seas

The seas of the West of Scotland are some of the most diverse in Europe and many of our remote islands are home to significant populations of breeding seabirds. Species distributions are changing, as seen in common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) who are displacing white-beaked dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) for once colder waters that are now warmer¹⁷ ,¹⁸. Populations are declining, like the West Coast Community of orca (Orcinus orca) who are now down to eight individuals with a calf not being seen in over two decades.

We have a duty to protect biodiversity on land in the ports that we operate and in the seas within which we sail and it is vital that we keep surveying and monitoring the waters to enable effective protection to be implemented before it is too late.

We will protect wildlife in our ports and on the remote islands that we serve by ensuring that we carefully manage biosecurity, including management of Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) and implementing a proactively managed pest control contract. We will continue to work in partnership with ORCA and JNCC to facilitate the collection of wildlife monitoring data and will actively promote their conservation work through our external digital channels. We will develop and implement an effective communication plan and will use our reach to raise awareness of conservation issues across the West of Scotland through the CalMac Ferries Marine Awareness Programme.

We will measure the reach of our ORCA Wildlife Officer and external communications and will actively maintain our digital channels to report the results of wildlife monitoring surveys on a monthly basis.


Delivery, Monitoring and Evaluation 

The strategy will be delivered across the organisation with key performance indicators and progress against the Environmental Strategy Action Plan monitored on a quarterly basis by the HSQE Team and reported to the Executive Committee and Board though the Quarterly Environmental Performance Report. An Annual Environmental Performance Report will be submitted to the Board at the end of each contract year. The strategy will be reviewed, as a minimum, on an annual basis at the start of each financial year to take account of any significant changes in our business and external influences.


This strategy will be communicated to all employees via our internal communication channels and will be published on our intranet as part of our Company Management System. We will also publish a version of this strategy on our external website to demonstrate our commitment to its delivery. We will develop and implement an Environmental Communication Content Plan, tailored for each stakeholder group, which will promote key elements of the strategy and provide regular updates on progress, achievements and key milestones.

1. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report: https://

2. State of Nature Report Scotland 2019: files/2019-10/State-of-nature-Report-2019-Scotland-full-report.pdf

3. The Environment Strategy for Scotland: vision and outcomes 2020: scot/publications/environment-strategy-scotland-vision-outcomes/

4. National Performance Framework. National Outcomes - Environment:

5. UN Sustainable Development Goals:

6. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report: https://




10. Department from Transport. Clean Maritime Plan 2019:

11. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report: https://

12. EC Green Deal Circular Economy Action Plan: circular-economy/pdf/new_circular_economy_action_plan.pdf

13. Expert Panel on Environmental Charging and Other Measures: Ending the Throwaway Culture: Five Principles for Tackling Single-use Items, September 2020. https://www.

14. Scottish Government - Managing Waste:

15. Visit Scotland - Insight Department: Wildlife Tourism: binaries/content/assets/dot-org/pdf/research-papers-2/wildlife-topic-paper-2017.pdf

16. State of Nature Scotland Report 2019: 17. MacLeod, C., Bannon, S., Pierce, G., Schweder, C., Learmonth, J., Herman, J. and Reid, R., 2005. Climate change and the cetacean community of north-west Scotland. Biological Conservation, 124(4), pp.477-483

18. MacLeod, C., Weir, C., Santos, M. and Dunn, T., 2008. Temperature-based summer habitat partitioning between white-beaked and common dolphins around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 88(6), pp.1193-1198

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