08 NOVEMBER 2019

MSC Group launches the MSC Foundation to protect the blue planet and its most vulnerable communities

Official presentation on board the new MSC Grandiosa with partners UNICEF, Mercy Ships, The Elbe Habitat Foundation and Marevivo


The MSC Group publicly launched the MSC Foundation in Hamburg, Germany, on 8 November. The official presentation took place on board MSC Grandiosa, the Group’s newest, largest and most environmentally-advanced cruise ship, the day before its eagerly-awaited christening.

MSC has established the new non-profit organisation to advance and extend its environmental, humanitarian and social programmes and initiatives worldwide, acting both independently and together with trusted, expert partners.

Touching on this commitment in his introductory address, Captain Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group Founder and Chair of the MSC Foundation, explained: “My family and I are proud of having created this Foundation, since we feel very strongly that we have a duty to contribute to improving the environment of our planet. I am confident that the ambitious actions of our Foundation and partners will achieve significant results.


The MSC Group, including MSC Cargo - the world’s second largest container shipping line, and MSC Cruises - the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company, has been actively promoting and supporting impactful environmental conservation and humanitarian initiatives for over a decade, for example through programmes with UNICEF to combat severe acute malnutrition that have saved over 100,000 young lives.

The MSC Foundation was established to enhance these commitments and develop new ones, driven by a strong sense of responsibility for the planet, its people and resources - particularly the oceans - believing that we all have a duty to leave a better world for future generations.


Leveraging MSC’s global reach and unique knowledge of the sea, the Foundation strives to make a concrete difference in areas of difficulty, both independently and in partnership with leading international bodies, NGOs and scientific experts. The MSC Foundation identifies which programmes to launch and support by analysing the most pressing problems and areas of greatest need, then assessing the feasibility of making a concrete difference, either through direct action in the field or economic support. Its aim is to act as a catalyst, supporting the development of effective partnerships and innovative solutions, which depends on constant data collection to monitor the achievement of programme goals and continuous dialogue with programme beneficiaries and partners.


Matthew McKinnon, Chair of the Advisory Board of MSC Foundation, Pierfrancesco Vago, Chair of the Executive Committee of MSC Foundation, Daniela Picco, Executive Director of MSC Foundation and Marco Massa, Captain of MSC Grandiosa


The MSC Foundation is active in three main focus areas: environmental protection - in particular of aquatic and marine ecosystems, support for the most vulnerable communities around the world through education and medical care, and emergency support for populations impacted by natural disasters.


With the advent of the MSC Foundation, a special “donation match pledge” has been introduced on all MSC Cruises ships: each €1 per cruise donation made by guests on board sees the MSC Foundation automatically donating another €1. So, giving together, even the smallest donations make a big difference.

The MSC Foundation raises funds through donations by MSC Cruises guests, grants, onboard events, retail sales, individual donations, fundraising campaigns and charity galas.

Donald Stephens, Founder & President of Mercy Ships, addresses the dignitaries, scientists, media and NGO representatives present at the official launch of the MSC Foundation


The Foundation is initially supporting 7 programmes, several of which were represented by high-level speakers on the day:

In Ivory Coast with UNICEF to foster a women-empowering recycling market that makes plastic waste into safe, low-cost bricks to build much-needed classrooms.

In Haiti with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation’s Mobile Clinic to benefit the communities in 5 of the island’s poorest areas, providing medical care, treatments, vaccines and training.

In Senegal with Mercy Ships, supporting hospital ships with volunteer crews and staff that provide lifesaving operations in remote areas without access to health care facilities.

Mercy Ships’ Founder Don Stephens, one of the speakers on the day, explained: “Through MSC’s support, we are able to provide thousands of free life-changing surgeries to the poorest of the poor in each nation we serve. This is made possible by MSC’s logistical and financial support for which we are so grateful.

In Genoa, funding the innovative “Parco del Mare” community park to regenerate the Valpolcevera area struck by the Morandi Bridge collapse.

In the Mediterranean with Marevivo, supporting youth-focused educational activities to raise kids’ awareness of the importance of marine protection and of combating sea pollution.

Marevivo President Rosalba Giugni, who also took the podium, affirmed: “Thanks to MSC's support and partnership, we are bringing up a younger generation who are more aware of the immense value that the oceans have for the survival of the human species.

In the Bahamas, with a Marine Restoration Programme for 64 sq. km of marine waters and ecosystems around Ocean Cay, including vulnerable coral species.

In the Hamburg region with the Elbe Habitat Foundation to improve the ecological status of the River Elbe, restoring the unique habitats and natural diversity of its river landscape.

Dr Elisabeth Klocke, Managing Director of the Elbe Habitat Foundation, who took part in the presentation, commented: “The outstanding commitment of the MSC Foundation supports us in our work to preserve natural diversity and strengthen the valuable habitats of this unique riverscape.

Bringing the day to a close and celebrating the Group’s longstanding relationship with Hamburg as one of its major ports, a Grand Gala Concert financed and organised by the MSC Foundation was held in the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall, featuring the Felix Mendelssohn Youth Orchestra conducted by Maestros Clemens Malich and Carlo Ponti. The entire proceeds from all ticket sales and donations, totalling over €250,000, funded an Elbe Habitat Foundation programme to restore the unique habitats and biodiversity in the Kirchwerder dike foreland of the River Elbe in Hamburg.

You can read the Press Release here.