• Carbon Emissions
  • GHG emissions
  • Corporate Sustainability
  • Climate Change

Tackling the Emissions Battle by Land, Sea, and Air

Vincent Hoen
Jan 04, 2019


This blog was coauthored by Matthew Banks

Guidehouse shares actions of Alaska Air, McCormick, and Royal Caribbean in the Magic City

At Companies vs Climate Change in Miami, Florida, Guidehouse showcased the actions of three companies during a panel discussion that assessed how they attack emissions by land, sea, and air. The efforts of these three companies—Alaska Air (Kirk Myers), McCormick (Bill Schildt), and Royal Caribbean (Anshul Tuteja)—invoke images of the Marines or Navy SEALs, and infantry forces capable of operating in all types of environments. Royal Caribbean is working hard to decarbonize its emissions while at sea, McCormick is reducing its emissions close to land where it sources ingredients, and Alaska Air is taking a leadership position by decarbonizing its emissions in the skies.

Royal Caribbean

In the panel discussion, Royal Caribbean was quick to mention that the company refers to its sustainability program as “Seastainability.” Its portfolio of cruise vessels is among the cleanest at sea, and its efficiency journey was described as a continuous process. The company focuses on shifting to cleaner fuels, such as liquefied natural gas, and is considering the use of fuel cells. Royal Caribbean likes to work with industry peers because “there is no competition regarding safety and the environment.”

Royal Caribbean also leverages technological options including data and analytics to optimize routes, leading to further emissions reductions. On top of that, Royal Caribbean operates floating hotels, which require looking at several other conservation options. 


McCormick, a spices and flavorings business, is also on an important sustainability journey. The company has publicly communicated a climate goal. McCormick assesses any investments related to greenhouse gas reduction measures using financial metrics like those used for other types of investment; however, the senior financial team has been more flexible on the internal rate of return of energy projects. By being more generous in this area, the company is putting an implicit price on carbon. This is a trend Guidehouse sees across the market, where company actions range from this type of implicit carbon pricing to putting an explicit internal price on carbon and then reinvesting the price/cost into the company’s climate program. 

Alaska Air

Alaska Air was excited to report that it operates the most efficient aviation fleet in the world. Even though its emissions take place in the sky, the company collaborates closely with the communities it flies to. For Alaska Air, sustainability is integrated directly into its core business because of the fuel bill it pays to operate its fleet of planes. Another big factor for the company’s success is its personnel. Air crews are intrinsically motivated to make recycling, for instance. 

Addressing Emissions Across the Value Chain 

Jan Vrins, leader of Guidehouse’s global Energy practice, concluded the panel by asserting that more and more cost-attractive technologies are available to help companies achieve their energy and greenhouse gas emissions goals. Ultimately, leveraging these technologies and the accompanying business case is leading to energy and climate strategies supported by CEOs and investors. 

When emissions are embedded in the way companies source supplies—reducing the embedded cost of carbon—companies see cost reductions and climate solutions at the same time. Some see this as the next frontier, or the holy grail, but more and more, it’s a standard best practice. Now is the time to join forces on climate protection, and to scale up our infantry, marines, and SEALs, to confront the pressing issues of climate protection in the sprint toward 2030 targets.