Silversea gains Galápagos sustainability certification

Ultra-luxury expedition operator recognised for environmental management

Silversea Cruises has been recognised as the first tour operator to gain certification in environmental management in the Galapagos Islands. The ultra-luxury and expedition cruise line is the first operator to divert all waste from landfill disposal in the Galapagos.

Silversea classifies and sorts all waste generated aboard its Galapagos-based ship, Silver Origin, before transporting all but organic waste out of the destination to the mainland to be recycled or processed in line with regulatory procedures. The cruise line receives a traceability document that verifies the responsible movement and disposal of all waste.

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Collaborating with a local waste management company, Silversea offloads all waste generated on board Silver Origin in San Cristobal each week. Quantities of cardboard, cartons, plastic, and crushed glass are flown to the mainland for recycling. The remaining refuse is transported to Guayaquil on Ecuador’s mainland by marine transportation. Once in Guayaquil, the refuse is collected and recycled or processed, in line with environmental legislation and the best sustainability practices. Additionally, the waste management company uses refuse oil to fuel its incinerator.

“We are very proud to become the first tour operator to gain this certification in environmental management—a representation of our long-term commitment to sustainability and conservation in the Galapagos Islands,” said Gabriela Naranjo, Vice President and General Manager, Silversea Cruises Ecuador.

“We started this initiative in 2020, entering into a partnership with an airline to transport recyclable waste out of the archipelago to the mainland. We are delighted to have taken the next step on our sustainability journey, diverting all waste from landfill in the Galapagos to dispose of it responsibly — with full traceability.

“This initiative is just one of the many examples of how Silversea is working to safeguard the fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos for future generations,” Naranjo added.

These actions are part of Silversea’s comprehensive Environmental Management Plan, which, approved by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment, is designed to minimise any ecological impact on the Galapagos Islands. This plan builds on Silversea’s commitment to SEA the Future by sustaining the planet, energising communities, and accelerating innovation.

Silversea launched its Silversea Fund for the Galapagos in 2019 to support a diverse selection of education and conservation projects each year. The funds objective is to safeguard the Galapagos Islands’ ecological integrity for future generations.

The fund strengthens the balance between humans and nature in the archipelago, as part of a long-term sustainability strategy. In addition to benefiting regional conservation efforts and enhancing their connection with this unique destination, the fund’s donors enjoy savings on Silversea’s voyages, as the cruise line matches guests’ contributions in the form of a Future Cruise Credit.

Silversea also has a strong commitment when it comes to the culinary offering aboard Silver Origin, utilising local produce grown in the archipelago. Silversea has increased its sourcing of local ingredients in the Galapagos fivefold in recent years, working closely with independent farmers and suppliers on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal to nurture long-term solutions, strengthen the local economy, and support ongoing conservation efforts.

Photos courtesy of Silversea Cruises.

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