This year, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection announced a promise to become single-use plastic free by 2022.

The announcement comes on the fifth anniversary of its sustainable river cruising guide. Designed to support all river cruise lines in operating with as little environmental impact as possible, the guide covers everything from profitability to best practices in energy, water, and waste management.

The sustainable river cruising guide was written with The Travel Foundation and its not-for-profit arm, TreadRight. “Five years ago, we set out to lead the industry with recommended best practices,” says Uniworld president and CEO Ellen Bettridge. “We shared this information with the entire river cruise community because as they say, a rising tide lifts all the boats and we knew we had to work collectively as we set out to approach this global problem.”

Since then, Uniworld has seen success through measurable accomplishments such as decreasing chemical waste by 80 percent across all ships; reducing paper waste and initiating the brand’s “One Tree Planted” partnership, which plants a tree for every e-doc issued; and reducing biodegradable waste by 16 percent last year.

Vancouver-based Virtuoso travel advisor Jessica Renshaw says it’s important that hotels and cruises take action regarding their carbon footprint. “Sustainability does factor into our clients’ travel decisions,” she says, “and I definitely would let them know about Uniworld’s steps to be as sustainable as possible.”

While Uniworld has already removed plastic straws and water bottles from its ships, this stronger commitment comes after parent company The Travel Corporation pledged to remove many single-use plastic items at its 40 global offices, and phase them out across all company operations by 2022.

The company is also fully committed to protecting local communities and culture. “While making significant strides to eliminate waste is so important, we are equally conscientious of the role we play in being responsible guests of the communities we visit,” Bettridge says.

The Travel Corporation is family-owned and run by the Tollman family, and they are personally dedicated to every sustainability decision.

“I love the Tollman family,” says Renshaw, who spent time with Brett Tollman, CEO and president of The Travel Corporation, on the first U by Uniworld ship when it launched last year in France. “Family is infused into the business, from Brett’s leadership to [founder and president of Red Carnation Hotels] Beatrice’s influence on decor and cuisine.”

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection sails on 23 rivers in 24 countries; your Virtuoso travel advisor can help you select the best itinerary and ship for your trip.

Photos courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.