Industry News

Red Funnel’s ‘Red Goes Green’ Environment Strategy Update

The UK’s Red Funnel launched its new three-year environment strategy ‘Red Goes Green’ in September 2018, when it announced a raft of new initiatives to help improve and conserve the environment. Nine months on, it has already implemented many of the changes set out in its strategy, and the cross-Solent ferry company is committed to continuing to reduce its environmental impact.

Reduced plastics on-board

Red Funnel has significantly reduced the amount of single-use plastic items used on-board its fleet. Condiment sauce sachets have been replaced with pump bottles and paper cups, while milk sachet cups have been changed for milk chillers and dispensers. Plastic cutlery has been replaced with wooden cutlery and more eco-friendly plates and napkins are now used. Greener packaging is being introduced across the business, with plant-based products from Vegware™, made from renewable, lower carbon or recycled materials, now in use.

Waste and recycling

Through a carbon offset programme with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery, Red Funnel has increased its proportion of dry mixed recycling with one-third (33%) of its waste now made up of dry mixed recycling, compared to 12% in 2017. All remaining waste is converted into refuse derived fuel (RDF), which is then shipped to the Netherlands. The final product is used to generate heat and electricity, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and the need for landfill.

Anti-idling and air pollution

In conjunction with the Environment Centre and Southampton’s Clean Air Network, Red Funnel has amplified its anti-idling campaign to encourage more private and commercial customers not to idle their engines, particularly when waiting to board or disembark from the ferries. Red Funnel has introduced more banners at terminals in Southampton and East Cowes, with updated information to increase awareness and help improve air quality for customers and staff, as well as those living and working in the local areas.

The company also maintains three pure-electric vehicles (one transport van and two freight tugs) and has recently purchased two brand-new Euro 6 diesel tug units for hauling freight trailers.

Efficiency and emissions

New power management systems have been fitted to the electrical generation machinery on Red Funnel’s Ro-Ro ferries, improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions by more than 50 per cent, allowing more efficient use of only one generator rather than two.


Red Funnel has completed the switch of refrigerants used in its fleet to R449A refrigerant, which has zero Ozone Depletion Potential and low Global Warming Potential, in addition to providing improved energy efficiency and environmental properties.

Head Office facilities

In a move to encourage more employees to swap four wheels for two, Red Funnel has installed cycle racks at its Head Office in Southampton. The company is also reviewing ways to encourage staff to make greener commuting choices.

Beach cleans

Red Funnel staff took part in an Island-wide beach clean in September 2018. Taking place over one weekend as part of Isle of Wight Day, Red Funnel pledged £15,000 to support the clean-up of the Island’s entire coastline, while more than 30 members from the Red Funnel team rolled-up their sleeves to help remove plastic and litter from the beach at Ventnor and Steephill Cove. The Red Funnel team will be out in force again this year and will be calling on customers and residents to join in to help rid the Island’s beautiful beaches of unwanted plastic waste.

Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel, said: “Our environmental strategy, Red Goes Green, continues to be an important focus for us as a company. We’ve already made big strides with our initiatives over the last nine months, but there is much more to be done as part of our three-year plan, from continuing to reduce our total waste and energy consumption, to simply incorporating our green ethos into our day-to-day decision making.

“Some recent wins include the continued rollout of LED lighting across the business, and we’ve just completed replacing the double glazing at our Head Office in Southampton to improve our energy efficiency.

“Over the coming months we will also be continuing to investigate alternative ways of reducing fuel emissions. Since October 2018, we have been trialing the use of biofuel and whilst we proved that operationally the fuel can be burnt, supply and legislation issues mean that the fuel is not currently viable for us. We will continue to explore alternative fuel and future developments in propulsion in order to shift our fleet away from traditional fuels.

“It’s a cultural shift to “go green” and it doesn’t happen overnight. It will take time and we’re going to keep doing the best we can bit-by-bit, because it all adds up. We’d also love to hear of other initiatives that we may not yet have considered.”

For more information about Red Funnel’s Red Goes Green environment strategy, click here.

Story by Red Funnel

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