Sustainable Maritime Interiors

A movement for change

The maritime interiors community is uniting in action for a better future together – dedicated to designing, building and maintaining more sustainable maritime interiors.

the declaration

Our story

The passenger shipping industry is making giant strides towards greater sustainability, with big wins recorded for fuel, emissions, energy efficiency and other projects. Until now, there has been no coordinated cross-industry action plan for ship interiors, with progress in this field made primarily from isolated islands of activity.

There are a significant number of passionate interior designers, specifiers, outfitters, suppliers and others who are individually taking steps to improve the sustainability of their professional output, sometimes alone but often with the support of their business. However, there has been little industry-wide guidance or regulation to direct priorities. Future shipping passengers and crew must be assured that the maritime interiors they inhabit are built to impeccably high environmental standards. We have a commitment to them, a duty to ourselves and an obligation to the planet.

Now, with the launch of the Sustainable Maritime Interiors initiative, we can look forward to industry-specific guidance, focus and collaboration on a sustainable future. This new initiative is spearheaded by a group of like-minded designers, specifiers and other maritime experts, and is based around a declaration of advocacy and action for the environment.

The Sustainable Maritime Interiors declaration was conceived while conducting the research for the Sustainable Maritime Interiors report, published in June 2022, and was inspired by the Montreal Design Declaration and Our Common Future. It will not solve the challenges that we face but it will give us a starting point from which to move forward more positively. It will guide owners, designers and specifiers and it will inspire other stakeholders to contribute the missing elements that are needed to build and maintain more sustainable ship interior life cycles.

The declaration aims to make a meaningful contribution to sustainability performance improvement throughout the ship interior life cycle via informed stakeholder guidance and in full support of the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact. The environmental sustainability focus of the declaration is necessarily considerate of other sustainability objectives and is intended to work in unison with corporate commitments to the social and economic sustainability pillars.

This is just the beginning – the Sustainable Maritime Interiors initiative will grow, and others will join our cause to advance the sustainability of maritime interiors through associated guidance, best practice and, ultimately, through a formal framework. We welcome your support!

"The Declaration is a great opportunity to demonstrate our field’s commitment to sustainability and to make a contribution to improving the sustainability of maritime interior spaces. It will play an important part in ensuring that vessels are designed with the environment in mind, with sustainable materials and it will help to ensure that the industry is environmental responsible, competitive and future-proofed. The written declaration can help designers in their work to ensure they make informed choices in their creative work to meet higher environmental standards. It will also play a crucial role in promoting environmentally responsible practices."

Anne Mari Gullikstad, CEO & Partner, YSA Design
"For us to make the most responsible product choices for our cruise ships we have to work towards a situation whereby sustainability sits effortlessly alongside quality and durability. The Sustainable Maritime Interiors Declaration embraces this approach and rightfully acts as a conduit for designers and ship owners to work collaboratively with the same set of principles to facilitate an innovative approach, smart decision making and ambitious targets. Cruising in many ways is leading the way in responsible travel and the declaration is another step forward is making it an essential industry."

Trevor Young, VP New Building, MSC Cruises
"IFI applauds and staunchly supports the SMI Declaration as a living guideline for imaginative and responsible maritime Interior architecture and design. We endorse its accountable, life quality-affirming stewardship for wellbeing driven by design innovation for the betterment of our planet and all life."

Shashi Caan, CEO, International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers
"The Sustainable Maritime Interiors Declaration is a really powerful industry self-starting initiative that could lead to significant sustainability gains for the maritime industries. We applaud the ambitions of the declaration and we are happy to contribute to accelerating its uptake and advancing the programme of activities that may follow"

Erik Giercksky, Business Action Programme for Ocean, United Nations Global Compact
"The Sustainable Maritime Interiors Declaration is just the beginning, the first step on a journey to a more sustainable future. Our sustainability journey is going to be tough because we have so few precedents to follow. And so we must create our own path, starting with small actions that will protect our natural resources, conserve energy and reduce waste. In time we will build a best-practice sustainable maritime interiors framework that will guide our work, enable good decision-making and deliver interior environments that fulfil our sustainability vision and meets our passenger’s values."

Andrea Bartoli, Principal Manager – Outfitting, Carnival Corporation
"The Declaration is an excellent initiative to inspire, inform and guide designers and specifiers of cruise and ferry vessel interiors in advancing sustainability. The Declaration highlights the need and opportunity for all components of all maritime sectors to identify how they can develop and deliver leadership and collaboration for Corporate Ocean Responsibility, the core mission of the World Ocean Council."

Paul Holthus, Founding President and CEO, World Ocean Council
"Sustainability is necessarily becoming the new normal, but we can only achieve truly circular maritime interior goals through purposeful collaboration with all stakeholders. The SMI Declaration is an excellent example of the innovation and commitment that is synonymous with the passenger shipping industries as we seek to create responsible solutions for a better and more sustainable future. Sustainability needs to be a design requirement, not an afterthought, it needs to have the same weight in decision-making as safety, aesthetics, price and function."

Helena Sawelin, Partner & Business Director, Tillberg Design of Sweden
"The Declaration clearly lays out an ambition to be advocates for change and progress and tells people how to do it, it inspires people to champion, share and collaborate which are all key ingredients for progress on the sustainability agenda – it talks about doing this right across the value chain which is critical."

Caroline Bates, Citizen Good Consulting
"The whole marine industry needs to work together in order to bring sustainability to the fore. The Declaration is a fantastic opportunity to promote and inspire this effort, and as marine interior outfitters we wholeheartedly endorse and support the initiative. We commit to help our clients make more sustainable choices with the materials specified for refits, and to encourage our supply-chain to support us in doing so, to promote a more sustainable future for all."

Nick Farrell, Owner, Trimline
"Sustainability is not a trend or a topic. It is the world’s most pressing challenge, and we need to unite around embracing positive action. This Sustainable Maritime Interior Declaration will be a powerful platform where we, as a united industry, can drive sustainable change and create responsible solutions for maritime interiors and help assist shipowners in making conscientious choices for their vessels´ interiors. I believe that no matter how difficult it might be, it is not impossible, and I hope to encourage more supporters to join and contribute to this common cause."

Bente Medelbye Hansen, Design Director at OSK Design
"This Declaration shows the cruise industry’s commitment to make sustainability a part of its DNA. The sector’s consciousness of the necessity of collaboration for making lasting and meaningful impact is very special and understanding it needs consensus to obtain a system's change is an essential basis for transitioning into a sustainable reality."

Siu Lie Tan, Founder, Circular Symbiosis
"UN Global Compact has a significant focus on ocean programmes and the ambition of the Sustainable Maritime Interiors Declaration is entirely complimentary to these activities. It is incumbent upon us to both start and support a range of initiatives and we have an obligation to make sure they are rigorously tested so that we can be confident that we can achieve a positive impact and outcome. We are working through this process with the SMI Declaration and hope that the maritime interiors community embraces its commitments with enthusiasm and effective endeavour."

Rebecca Alcolea Krauss, Ocean Project Manager, United Nations Global Compact
"The Sustainable Maritime Interiors Declaration is a big step towards bringing together this community of designers, specifiers, outfitters and suppliers to focus our attention on reachable, consistent and impactful actions. For me, this declaration will be a north star to help with my design process, and it will connect me with a likeminded community that shares the same priorities. Our efforts will help the industry design, build and refurbish ships in a way that improves the cruising environment for generations to come."

My Nguyen, Director of Interior Design, Holland America Group
"The Declaration recognises how important it is for the design community to collaborate. What's needed is transparency, communication and, perhaps most importantly, knowledge sharing. Those at the forefront need to share any lessons in the interests of more sustainable outcomes for all. Community conversations, collaboration and deep-dive learning are key activities during the cross-sector Sustainable Design Summit and we applaud the emphasis given to these actions within the Declaration’s ambitions."

Helen Blantz, Conference Director, Sustainable Design Summit
"Together, the maritime interiors community has the skills to create environmental value for our products and services thinking about sustainability as an opportunity, rather than a constraint. The Declaration sends out a clear signal to all of our partners that we are determined to drive positive change. Collaboration, creativity, and responsible thinking are the foundations of sustainable design-led innovation. I am confident that this collective action for systematic improvements will motivate our whole community, and I can already see how it is influencing my working daily choices, from material selection, to products’ life extension and strategic partnering for circularity."

Francesca Panatta, Interior Manager Special Projects, Holland America Group
"In order to make its future fleet more environmentally friendly, Ponant has chosen to make eco-design the cornerstone of its research. This declaration on the eco-design of maritime interiors is an essential framework to help our suppliers better understand our needs and improve their products for a more sustainable economy. We are convinced that this approach will contribute to reducing the environmental impact of our ships, as well as that of the global fleet, and to ensuring a greener future for the maritime industry."

Antoine Bergeron, Eco-design Engineer – Newbuilding department, PONANT