Brittany Ferries says Green Marine Europe eco-label will drive best practice in sustainability

8th October 2020
  • Fleet renewal - Brittany Ferries Galicia enters service Dec 20

Brittany Ferries says Green Marine Europe eco-label will drive best practice in sustainability

Brittany Ferries is proud to be one of the first companies accredited by the Green Marine ‘green label’ initiative in Europe.

The company was audited in August and awarded its first accreditation certificate at a ceremony in Paris on 8 October 2020.  Brittany Ferries believes the Green Marine standard will become a benchmark, raising standards throughout the shipping industry.

The green label is a key strand in the company’s sustainability strategy.  It will encourage all staff to play their part across a range of eco-criteria and will enable the business to track progress year-on-year, pushing it to achieve higher standards more quickly.

“It is important for Brittany Ferries to highlight the work it continues to do to improve sustainability, but also to drive industry best practice,” said Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries.

“For us, eco-responsibility and fleet renewal go hand in hand. We have three new ships on the horizon, two of which will be powered by cleaner liquefied natural gas (LNG). A more sustainable future is central to our post-Covid recovery and that’s why I am delighted to put the weight of our company behind this important project today.”

The Green Marine label has been driven by Surfrider, an NGO with a mission to protect, safeguard and enhance the oceans. They partnered with Green Marine, a North American industry-led accreditation scheme which has been running for more than ten years. Surfrider licences now licenses the scheme in Europe.

There are two important elements for shipping companies. Firstly, the criteria on which each company is measured. In Europe, these target the same environmental priorities as the North American program, namely: greenhouse gases, polluting atmospheric emissions, underwater noise, aquatic invasive species, waste management and oily discharges. Each criteria goes way beyond international legal obligations.

Results will be published in a way that makes comparisons easy. Each company will be awarded a mark on a scale of 1 to 5 for each of the green label’s seven criteria. Third parties can be confident results are robust thanks to independent verification, undertaken on an annual basis. Every accredited company will be subject to inspection to ensure that data used is accurate and complete.

Green Marine is a powerful tool that could mobilise the shipping sector across Europe. Brittany Ferries will therefore support its adoption beyond France and will encourage others to sign up, when accreditation applications open again in March 2021.



About Brittany Ferries

In 1967 a farmer from Finistère in Brittany, Alexis Gourvennec, succeeded in bringing together a variety of organisations from the region to embark on an ambitious project: the aim was to open up the region, to improve its infrastructure and to enrich its people by turning to traditional partners such as Ireland and the UK.

In 1972 BAI (Brittany-England-Ireland) was born. The first cross-Channel link was inaugurated in January 1973, when a converted Israeli tank-carrier called Kerisnel left the port of Roscoff for Plymouth carrying trucks loaded with Breton vegetables such as cauliflowers and artichokes. The story therefore begins on 2 January 1973, 24 hours after Great Britain’s entry into the Common Market (EEC). From these humble beginnings however Brittany Ferries as the company was re-named quickly opened up to passenger transport, then became a tour operator.

Today, Brittany Ferries has established itself as the national leader in French maritime transport: an atypical leader, under private ownership, still owned by a Breton agricultural cooperative. Eighty five percent of the company’s passengers are British. Around 210,000 freight units are carried each year.

Key figures:

  • Turnover: Approximately €444.2m per year
  • Multi-million Euro investment in three new ships, including two powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas)
  • Employment – Between 2400 and 3100 employees (including 1,700 seafarers), depending on the season. 360 in the UK.
  • Passengers: Between 2.5 and 2.7 million each year travelling in approximately 900,000 cars
  • Freight: 205,400 units transported annually, and one freight-only route linking Bilbao and Poole
  • Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain
  • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
  • Tourism in Europe: There were 854,000 unique visitors, staying 9.2 million bed-nights in France.


Christopher Jones on 02392 152 291 or 07917 540 878 or [email protected]
Nigel Wonnacott on 02392 152 273 or 07833 446 729 or [email protected]



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