CalMac beats carbon reduction targets, says report

© Philip Hatfield

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A new report released by CalMac says it has exceeded targets to reduce its carbon footprint off Scotland’s west coast.

In the recently-published report covering the period 2018-20, it reveals a carbon reduction of 6.5 per cent – beating its target of five per cent, the company announced.

It exceeded the five per cent carbon footprint reduction target ahead of the September 2019 deadline.

The figures were recorded before the first nationwide lockdown in March 2020 and are contained in its official 19-page ‘biodiversity duty report,’ required by law.

Its last report covered 2015-17.

The Calmac biodiversity report covering the period 2018-20.

In a statement, Klare Chamberlain, CalMac’s environmental manager, said protecting the environment in which it sailed was a ‘key priority’ for the company which had set a number of commitments and targets.

She said: ‘We have worked hard over the reporting period to normalise and embed biodiversity thinking across our organisation – setting key targets, actions and performance indicators within our business plan and environmental strategy.

‘This report details our commitment to preserving the diverse surroundings in which we operate a lifeline transport service for future generations to enjoy.’

The biodiversity report for 2018-20

Other achievements highlighted include significantly reduced single-use plastics with plans to eliminate them altogether.

The company has also expanded its CalMac Ferries Marine Awareness Programme to include citizen science-led seabird surveys.

It has recruited a waste manager and a fuel manager to minimise waste and maximise fuel efficiency to reduce emissions.

Of the coronavirus, it said the pandemic had had a ‘major impact’ on all aspects of operations leading to reduced staff, passenger numbers, and changing procedures.

But it added: ‘Despite the impacts of Covid-19 in 2020, the 2018 to 2020 reporting period has seen significant positive environmental developments within the company.

‘Biodiversity and general environmental awareness are becoming increasingly more mainstream with improvements embedded in everyday operations.’

The report is available at



Through a public service contract with Transport Scotland, CalMac operates 34 vessels, leased from the Scottish Government.

It serves 30 routes between 56 ports throughout the West Coast of Scotland.

During the reporting period 2018-20, CalMac shipped

Over 3.5 million cars, 23,175 coaches, 211,998 commercial vehicles, 1,191 tonnes of freight and 13.2 million passengers.

It is the largest ferry operator in the UK in terms of number of routes and vessels operated.

The MV Isle of Mull slips out of Oban. Picture © Philip Hatfield.