We protect best what we know best

Jean-Emmanuel SAUVÉE, PONANT President and Co-Founder

For more than 30 years, PONANT has been taking passengers to the planet's most secret places where nature reigns supreme. Making this choice means we have responsibilities towards the ecosystems and communities that live there.

Manifesto for sustainable tourism

The environment

Stopping the use of heavy fuel oil, removing single-use plastics, carrying out environmental impact studies... we have implemented a series of measures designed to decrease our environmental footprint in the regions that we visit.

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For 30 years, we have taken passengers to discover rare destinations and to meet the populations that have lived there for centuries. So, our itineraries are planned out in consultation with the local authorities and we make our crew, naturalist guides and passengers aware of good practices to adopt in the communities in which they will be staying.

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Our 2023 objectives

With responsible commitment in mind, we are aware that we need to take research further and develop even cleaner technology. Thus, we have set concrete goals for 2023.

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Established in 2018, the PONANT Foundation's goal is to conserve the oceans and poles and to promote exchanges between populations. In order to do this, we commit to supporting innovative initiatives led by researches, NGO, start-ups or businesses working to preserve oceans, build scientific knowledge about the polar regions and interact with indigenous populations.

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The environment

The main sustainable development focus, environmental conservation, is one of our priorities. Therefore we have already undertaken specific actions relating to the design of our ships and our itineraries.

PONANT is the only company to have, as of 2019, disused heavy fuel oil in favour of Low Sulfur Marine Gasoil (LS MGO) with 0.1% sulphur content. We have therefore exceeded current legislation which stipulates a 0.5% threshold from 2020 onwards.

The technology at the heart of the Commandant-Charcot design

Planned for 2021, the hybrid electric polar exploration ship, which runs on liquefied natural gas (LNG), will be fitted with the most advanced environmental technology. The Commandant-Charcot is designed to optimise energy consumption, water treatment and waste management.

Benefits of LNG:

-25% reduction in carbon emissions
-85% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions
-95% reduction in fine particle emissions

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We have eliminated 80% of single-use plastics: straws, stirrers, washing bags, wrapping, plastic glasses...
Unavoidable plastic waste is sorted and handed over to companies that specialise in recycling reusable materials and traceability monitoring until ultimate disposal.

With each new itinerary, we carry out environmental impact studies.
This protocol means we can analyse the potential impact on the ecosystem we are visiting and keep it to a minimum: historical inventory, flora and fauna study, meetings with local people, selecting possible passenger activities while ensuring they are environmentally respectful.

This approach also revolves around a thorough itinerary selection process, the drafting of a specific environmental brief for each of the sensitive areas, a code of conduct for passengers and of course zero tolerance towards the impact of our visit.

Our ships are clean ship certified and our operations and supply chains conform with, if not pre-empt, environmental legislation (recycling, waste and sewage treatment, sustainable sourcing policy, gas emission reduction...)

Carbon-free travel

All of the CO2 emissions incurred by our cruises are now 150% offset. In order to do this, we contribute towards specific projects:
• The Amazon reforestation in Pará, northern Brazil
Wind power production in Maharashtra, western India
Pholtovoltaic power generation in several Indian regions
These projects are certified by Verra Standards for a sustainable future, one of the two most substantial standards in the world.

In addition to environmental concerns, these projects also aim to provide responsible support to local communities by setting up sustainable employment in these areas and developing access to healthcare and education.


Committing to sustainable tourism involves paying the utmost consideration to the human dimension of our work as well as environmental considerations. For each cruise, we take into account the local population and authorities and ensure our crew members are trained and that we have raised awareness among passengers.

We plan out itineraries in consultation with local stakeholders: politics, authorities, national parks and nature reserves, Aboriginal councils, NGOs, scientific teams, rescue teams, etc. We therefore ensure that we avoid mistakes relating to local habits and customs and that we fully respect the places we visit.

Our Expedition cruises

We design each of our Expedition cruises in close consultation with local people. We consult specialist ethnologists so that we can work to ensure communities are key players in developing touristic practices. They are the ones that decide what they want to share about their customs and their environment. Because they are involved, local people are no longer seen to play a passive role in tourism.

One of our greatest wishes is to contribute towards the social and economic development of the regions we visit. In order to increase our commitment towards local communities, we are building useful partnerships with them.

FabLab organisation

In particular, we are supporting FabLab, an organisation based in Upernavik in Greenland. Its objective is to train Inuit craftspeople to reproduce traditional items so that they can then be sold in European museums.
We make a financial contribution towards FabLab's equipment, with an annual donation and we also involve our passengers. Since May 2014, every time we send out an electronic version of our travel booklet, rather than a hard copy, we donate 10€ to the organisation.

All of our passengers and crew members agree to respect a Code of Conduct which is put together following our research and is specific to each location.
During our Expedition cruises, our passengers are accompanied by our expert naturalist guides who have been trained to respect the places we visit.

Our 2023 objectives

We take a long term approach to our sustainable development aspirations and commitments. Thus, we have set concrete goals that can be achieved between now and 2023.

Putting an Environmental and Energy Management System (EMS) in place at PONANT's head office in accordance with ISO 14001 et 50001*. EMS is a business management system that leads to improvements in environmental performance. Management, planning, resources and policy services will all be involved in this process, including boat design, brochure production and itinerary planning.

*ISO 14001 certification ensures that the business pays sufficient attention to implementing production, management and operations systems that monitor environmental impact. ISO 50001 certification aims to optimise energy management.

Greenhouse gas emissions reductions per passenger:



Carbon dioxide



Nitrogen oxides



Sulphur oxides


Fine particulate matter


Waste weight reductions per passenger


waste recovery

Progression from the current Cleanship notation to the upper level, Cleanship Super, for 80% of our ships. This notation, awarded by Bureau Veritas, ensures that ships are adhering to a sufficient number of very specific criteria relating to emissions, waste recovery and sewage.


Energy consumption reductions per passenger

Further involving passengers in our sustainable development process. This will include being able to take part in researcher led scientific experiments backed by the PONANT Foundation.