The transition to battery power is reducing ForSea’s emissions and attracting a lot of attention. At the same time, sustainability work is now being done throughout the entire company and directed at everything from energy-savings and waste-management to certified raw ingredients and social responsibility.
It was last autumn when ForSea launched the world’s largest battery-operated ferries. At full battery operation, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by approximately 65 per cent or the equivalent of 23,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
“Of course we’re proud of the battery project, which is helping us to achieve our most important goal of zero emissions from ferry operations,” says Jan Bagger, Head of Safety & Environment at ForSea. “I’m also proud that we have had a great response internally within the company. A lot of people want to make their own contributions to the journey of sustainability that we are on together.”
Shared journey of sustainability
Despite the conversion to battery operation having greatly reduced emissions, the journey towards sustainable operations has taken longer than many people might realise. As early as in 2007 the company was one of the first in the world to use catalytic converters on all engines.
“And since the early 1990s, our ferries have been running on fuel that contains sulphur at lower levels than is required by current new regulations,” explains Anna Prytz, Head of Sustainability at ForSea. Another milestone was ISO certification2016, which helped us to get a strategic grasp of sustainability as a subject.
“Today we have lofty ambitions and we are working on a broad scale, for example by restricting our use of chemicals, reducing food waste in the restaurants, increasing the proportion of certified raw ingredients, but also by taking social responsibility for the 750 employees and their health,” she goes on to add.
In a company that transports millions of passengers and large volumes of goods each year, safety is of course of central importance. It is also why safety and sustainability efforts are closely integrated.
“Just like with emissions, we also have a zero goal for accidents and injuries,” explains Jan Bagger. “Compared with the average for other sectors, we also have very few accidents. During June there was not a single accident in the workplace, which feels really positive.”
In focus in 2019
The work on reduced emissions is continuing in 2019, among other things by further reducing energy consumption and changing over to “Green electricity” throughout the company. The work of reducing energy consumption is being done across all departments and it covers everything from LEDs and frequency-controlled pumps to more fuel-efficient operating strategies, referred to as ECO-driving. A new tool in this sustainability work will also be the new ISO 50001:2011 energy management system, which ForSea decided to introduce in 2018.
“The energy management system will be in place in 2019 while the certification itself will be done in 2020. This system will help us to set our priorities correctly and it will also facilitate follow-up and improvement work. In this way we will be able to further improve our energy performance,” confirms Jan Bagger.
“If we take a look at a number of other areas, this autumn we are planning to certify the use of fish and shellfish according to MSC and ASC,” says Anna Prytz. We have also just starting sorting organic waste from the restaurants on board, and we will also be expending this to our land-based operations in the autumn. Organic waste is then converted into biogas or composted.
“The initiatives we are working on in order to become more sustainable are confirmation that ForSea is an active and modern company in a traditional industry,” says Johan Röstin, CEO of ForSea, to sum up. “It is making us more attractive as an employer, which is also an important future issue for us.”
The Helsingør-Helsingborg ferry service is the region’s floating bridge and consists of five ferries: Aurora, Tycho Brahe, Hamlet, Mercandia IV and Mercandia VIII, all of which are environmentally friendly and equipped with catalytic converters. Aurora and Tycho Brahe have both also been converted to battery-powered operation for a total investment cost of approximately SEK 300 million. INEA, an executive agency for innovation and networks within the EU, has allocated approximately SEK 120 million to support the investment. In 2018 ForSea carried 7 million passengers and 1.3 million cars, 453,000 trucks and 16,600 buses and coaches – 20% of the total number of vehicles crossing Öresund. This traffic promotes integration and growth in the Öresund Region and is managed by a staff of 750 dedicated professionals, working every day to ensure that users have access to safe, efficient connections between Sweden and Denmark that make every journey as convenient and comfortable as possible. The connection also helps to create a further 2,000 job opportunities in the region. Johan Röstin is CEO of ForSea AB, which is owned by investment specialist First State Investments.