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Solar panels at the Googleplex, headquarters of Google in Mountain View, Calif. Its data centers worldwide will run entirely on renewable energy by the end of this year, the technology giant announced in December. Credit Smith Collection/Gado, via Getty Images

 

The Trump administration may be pondering a retreat from the United States’ climate commitments, but corporate America is moving ahead with its own emissions goals.

Nearly half of the Fortune 500 biggest companies in the United States have now set targets to shrink their carbon footprints, according to a report published Tuesday by environmental organizations that monitor corporate emissions pledges. Twenty-five more companies adopted climate targets over the last two years, the groups said.

Almost two dozen companies, including Google, Walmart and Bank of America, have pledged to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy, with varying deadlines, compared with just a handful in 2015. Google’s data centers worldwide will run entirely on renewable energy by the end of this year, the technology giant announced in December.

Read the full article on how companies step up on emissions here.

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Recent research found 70% of people in middle- and high-income countries believe overconsumption is putting our planet and society at risk. Photograph: Seth Wenig/Reuters

 

This week, heads of state are gathering in New York to sign the UN’s new sustainable development goals (SDGs). The main objective is to eradicate poverty by 2030. Beyoncé, One Direction and Malala are on board. It’s set to be a monumental international celebration.

Given all the fanfare, one might think the SDGs are about to offer a fresh plan for how to save the world, but beneath all the hype, it’s business as usual. The main strategy for eradicating poverty is the same: growth.

Growth has been the main object of development for the past 70 years, despite the fact that it’s not working. Since 1980, the global economy has grown by 380%, but the number of people living in poverty on less than $5 (£3.20) a day has increased by more than 1.1 billion. That’s 17 times the population of Britain. So much for the trickle-down effect.

Orthodox economists insist that all we need is yet more growth. More progressive types tell us that we need to shift some of the yields of growth from the richer segments of the population to the poorer ones, evening things out a bit. Neither approach is adequate. Why? Because even at current levels of average global consumption, we’re overshooting our planet’s bio-capacity by more than 50% each year.

 

Read the full article here.

By Jason Hickel from The Guardian

 

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Photocredit: Shutterstock

 

Earth Day, Saturday, 22 April, is all about environmental protection.

 

We’ve all heard about the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), which help to reduce pollution caused by waste, conserve natural resources, save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Many industries, including the tourism sector, are big contributors to environmental pollution; however, with proper waste management, a business can improve its business reputation, reduce waste costs and save energy. Reducing the amount of used paper in the offices can make a considerable positive impact.

 

Here are some ideas on how to reduce your paper waste in the office, even after Earth Day:

 

  1. Share files internally:

With Google Docs you can work simultaneously with colleagues on a document or spreadsheet. That means you do not need to share printed papers anymore. Other programmes that offering interactive document editing features include Microsoft Office 365 and Basecamp. For file storage and sharing, Dropbox or WeTransfer are popular options.

 

  1. Multitask:

Consider to invest in a dual or multi-monitor setup. According to the CIO Magazine and the Kyocera Environmental Survey 2011 employees print documents for cross-referencing them with another document. Giving employees more screens can also boost productivity at the same time. LCD monitors typically outlast computer upgrades, so this is one cost you’ll only need to pay once.

 

  1. Communicate with staff:

Explain to staff why it is important to minimise paper use and encourage them to join in the movement. Perhaps a competition that tracks the number of pages printed per person and shared with the team can be implemented and can incentivise staff to use less paper. Of course, this works best if staff are supported with paper saving facilities (online document stores, dual monitors, etc.).

 

  1. Make printing inconvenient:

An easy but effective way to save paper may be to reduce the number printers or paper available. Without fewer available printers in the office, employees are more likely to print less. This tactic can also help to save printer costs.

 

Sometimes, printing is absolutely necessary. Follow these rules for eco-friendly printing.

 

Successfully reducing the use of paper is a not done overnight. It takes effort and continuous education to move away from paper and establish a culture that shuns waste. Adopting the right tools can go a long way toward creating an environment to support a paperless office.

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Photograph by Josh Haner

In the Pearl River Delta, breakneck development is colliding with the effects of climate change.

GUANGZHOU, China — The rains brought torrents, pouring into basements and malls, the water swiftly rising a foot and a half.

The city of Dongguan, a manufacturing center here in the world’s most dynamic industrial region, was hit especially hard by the downpour in May 2014. More than 100 factories and shops were inundated. Water climbed knee-high in 20 minutes, wiping out inventory for dozens of businesses.

Next door in Guangzhou, an ancient, mammoth port city of 13 million, helicopters and a fleet of 80 boats had to be sent to rescue trapped residents. Tens of thousands lost their homes, and 53 square miles of nearby farmland were ruined. The cost of repairs topped $100 million.

Chen Rongbo, who lived in the city, saw the flood coming. He tried to scramble to safety on the second floor of his house, carrying his 6-year-old granddaughter. He slipped. The flood swept both of them away.

Flooding has been a plague for centuries in southern China’s Pearl River Delta. So even the rains that May, the worst in the area in years, soon drifted from the headlines. People complained and made jokes on social media about wading through streets that had become canals and riding on half-submerged buses through lakes that used to be streets. But there was no official hand-wringing about what caused the floods or how climate change might bring more extreme storms and make the problems worse.

Read the full article about the threat of rising waters for Chinese cities here.

By  from The New York Times

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Mario-Hardy-PATAMario Hardy, CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), speaks with Anula Galewska about the organisation’s commitment to sustainable tourism and what Asia needs to take sustainability to the next level.

Dr. Mario Hardy is Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Dr. Hardy has close to 30 years of combined leadership, corporate development and change management experience. Prior to PATA, Mario worked 14 years for UBM/OAG a business with a focus on data analytics and events for the aviation sector and occupied several leadership roles in London, Beijing and Singapore.

ANULA: PATA actively advocates for sustainable tourism. What is your goal?

MARIO: Our aim is to educate, train and create awareness. We want to educate people from the tourism industry on practical ways of being more environmentally friendly, how they can engage with local communities, and also to inspire people to think about sustainability differently than they were thinking before.

People usually link sustainability with the environment, which of course is very important but shouldn’t be limited to it. Sustainability includes social, economic and cultural aspects, and my feeling is that we don’t address these issues enough. For example, we should educate people as to how tourism can improve the wealth of local communities.

People usually link sustainability with the environment, which of course is very important but shouldn’t be limited to it. Sustainability includes social, economic and cultural aspects, and my feeling is that we don’t address these issues enough.

By  Read the original article here.

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IYSTD LogoThe United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (A/RES/70/193).

This is a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the public, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.

In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the SDGs.

The #IY2017 will promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas:

 (1)        Inclusive and sustainable economic growth

(2)        Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction

(3)        Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change

(4)        Cultural values, diversity and heritage

(5)        Mutual understanding, peace and security.

Find out more about the five pillars.

 

 

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Specialized Agency for Tourism, has been mandated to facilitate the organization and implementation of the International Year, in collaboration with governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, international and regional organizations and other relevant stakeholders.

 

Join us in celebrating 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development!


LATEST NEWS

The presentation of the International Year will take place in Madrid on 18 January 2017 on the occasion of the Spanish Tourism Fair, FITUR.

Watch the live stream! (in English) January 18, 2017 6:30 PM  

 

UNWTO invites all partners to join the celebrations by sharing their activities and initiatives to advance sustainable tourism for development at www.tourism4development2017.org

More information:

Webportal of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017

Join the Celebrations

Become a Partner of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017

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by Yuvadee Nirattakun, Director, Marketing Research Division, Tourism Authority of Thailand

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author(s) and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters on our blogs and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

 

Tourism Authority of Thailand's Sustainability

The ultimate goal of economic and social development is an attempt to establish security, improvement, to have a better quality of life and society, and to maintain peace and safety, while all suffering is relieved. To achieve that goal, it is necessary to create sustainable development.

 

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As the tourist industry is looking for new attractions, and with tourists’ growing awareness of environmental issues of tourists, new kind of attractions are popping up: landfills and cleantech facilities.

Hiriya -Turning Landfills and Cleantech Facilities into a Tourist AttractionA few places around the world have transformed former landfills into nature parks. The Hiriya Center for Environmental Education in Israel, for example, attracts domestic and international tourists as well as professional visitors. Another example is the former landfill in Hangzhou, China, where tourists can visit its trash-to-gas power plant, play environmental video games, and hike in an eco-park the size of 10 football fields.

Cleantech facilities also serve as a tourist attraction that educate and offer experiential activities. The Solar Garden in Binyamina, Israel, is one such an educational initiative designed to promote awareness and use of green energy sources and environmental technologies (CleanTech) amongst the Israeli public. It was intentionally built in a place easily accessible with public transportation.

Another example is the Singapore National Water Agency’s NEWater Visitor Centre that promises a fun-filled and enriching time for all its guests with its free daily tours and educational workshops. There, one can learn of the water treatment and water planning of technological Singapore.

One particularly innovative attraction is the Pool+ project in Manhattan, which will be a floating pool in the Hudson River that would filter the river’s water through the pool walls, making it possible for New Yorkers and visitors to swim in clean river water, with pool fees helping to clean the river. This unique pool is thus a water filtration plant and a visitor attraction.

So what can you do? In addition to visiting and spreading the word about such attractions, if you have cleantech facilities in your hotel/lodge, share this information with the guests and make it an educational experience for them.

Remember to share it with us, too!

Waste disposal is expensive – for your pocket and for our planet, our only home.

ed_DSC0499_lowAccording to Green Hotelier’s “Waste Management,” a hotel guest generates about 1kg (2lb) of waste per night, more than half of it in paper, plastic and cardboard. In addition to negative environmental impact, minimizing the amount of waste a business produces is important because waste has rising cost implications in both disposal and initial purchase, if the materials are not used. As described by Green Hotelier, in the UK, for example, landfilling costs are now £48 per tonne (1.1 tons) compared to £18 a tonne in 2005.

Tourism operators generate a range of different wastes. The size and type of operation will influence how much waste is produced. The location of the tourism operation will also affect the impact its waste has on the surrounding community and environment. By considering the availability of possible reuse and recycling options, we help reduce waste to landfills.

Reducing the amount of waste is one of the simplest and most effective ways for tourism operators to both reduce their environmental impact and improve their bottom line. Here are some more resources to help you start:

UNEP CBD - Tourism Supporting Biodiversity

A healthy natural environment is one of the world’s most important tourism attractions, and that visiting nature serves to heighten awareness of its intrinsic value for us all, a new manual launched by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) presents guidelines on sustainable tourism and management.

Geared towards being both practical and accessible, Tourism Supporting Biodiversity: A Manual on applying the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development, highlights the important role tourism plays for biodiversity and aims to improve knowledge and materials to better integrate biodiversity into sustainable tourism development.

“The manual is a reference tool for planners, developers, managers and decision makers involved with tourism development and resource management in areas of sensitive biodiversity,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary. “The purpose is to help them to mainstream biodiversity concerns and ecosystem services within sustainable tourism development.”

With its emphasis on management and governance, the manual, prepared as a result of experiences compiled by the Secretariat and decisions taken by countries at the eleventh and twelfth meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, reflects a wider perspective on approaches and experiences in sustainable tourism development and management. It serves to complement the more technical User’s Manual on the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development, published in 2007.

The manual is the result of a collaboration between the CBD Secretariat, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and some 140 experts from around the world to identify current trends and upcoming issues and opportunities on the links between sustainable tourism development and the CBD agenda, and is meant to be used as a transformative tool for sustainable consumption.

 

 

Download PDF here