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How to communicate about plastic and the seas around us

World Oceans Day was first ratified at the UN General Assembly on December 5, 2008 when June 8 was designated as the annual day for this celebration. The theme for this year is ‘Our Oceans – Our future’.

Today, for World Oceans Day, we are highlighting ideas about how to communicate effectively with your colleagues and your customers about the massive dangers associated with the accumulation of plastic waste. Sadly, we still have so much plastic in our oceans.

 

  1. Be inspiring

Inspire customers and business partners by showcasing durable and reusable solutions that are healthier for our communities and oceans. Inspire your community by showing people gathering together to clean up beaches. It’s important to personalise your message in order to stir emotions and inspire reactions to this pressing global problem.

 

  1. Show how animals or communities are hurt by plastic

Explain the linkage between marine well-being and plastic pollution. Plastic in our oceans has serious health and economic consequences

 

  1. Be proactive

Start an initiative such as lobbying for a ban on plastic bottles and containers at your local beach or park. Engage your community and encourage your colleagues, friends and neighbours to consider their individual environmental footprints. Community presence not only builds your brand image but it also helps to boost morale within your organisation. Read more about community involvement and going green here.

Visit the website PlasticOceans to learn more about plastic pollution in the oceans.

 

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Credit: Travindy

 

As part of our recent interview series with the National Geographic World Legacy Awards 2017 winners and finalists, we asked them:

How do you communicate with guests about responsible practices?

This post gathers the key lessons learned from the winners: Cayuga Collection from Costa Rica, Slovenia Tourist Board, The North Island Seychelles, The City of Santa Fe and The Lodge at Chaa Creek.

 

Hans Pfister, Cayuga Collection: The most successful way is to invite them to our “back of the house” tour. We hide nothing. We show them everything. They go on a 2 hour tour of hotel and see the kitchen, laundry, staff areas, storage facilities, treatment plants, etc. We teach them what it means to be a sustainable hotel or lodge. They are usually blown away by this as they never have a chance to see the back of the house of a hotel, nor do they imagine the efforts that go into being sustainable. If they don’t have time for that, we also do evening presentations or they can read about our efforts in our guest book or online.

 

Lucy Flemming, Chaa Creek: More than just communicate to guests, we have always endeavoured to actively involve visitors in our approach to responsible tourism. For example, during tours of onsite attractions like our Belize Natural History Centre, Butterfly Farm, Maya Organic Farm, Medicinal Plant Trail, and guided nature walks, cultural tours, village visits and other nature-based activities, we both explain our efforts, and encourage feedback.

We have found that by involving guests, they are eager to provide their own ideas and experiences, and over the years they have contributed to our efforts in this area. Also, though initiatives such as “Pack-a-Pound”, where guests are encouraged to add a pound or more of school supplies for disadvantaged students to their luggage, or post when they return home, they create an interaction that enhances their travel experience and builds bridges between overseas visitors and local schools and communities.

In short, we strongly believe that, to be effective, sustainable tourism involves a partnership between guests, local communities, and ourselves.

Read more statements from the National Geographic World Legacy Awards 2017 winners and finalists here.

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The slogan “For The Planet” is projected on the Eiffel Tower as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015. Francois Mori/AP

 

Representatives from 196 nations made a historic pact on Dec. 12, 2015, in Paris to adopt green energy sources, cut down on climate change emissions and limit the rise of global temperatures — while also cooperating to cope with the impact of unavoidable climate change.

The agreement acknowledges that the threat of climate change is “urgent and potentially irreversible,” and can only be addressed through “the widest possible cooperation by all countries” and “deep reductions in global emissions.”

But how deep will those reductions be — and how soon, and who’s paying for it?

Here are some key figures from the final agreement.

By Camila Domonoske from The Two Way

 

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Voluntourism. It sounds like a beautiful way to combine service and travel. Indeed, many volunteers are flocking to countries, usually for short periods, to Asia and Africa to help children, to save endangered animals or to build houses and schools.

 

However, this form of tourism arguably does more harm than good. It is suggested that voluntourism perpetuates stereotyping, creates dependence on aid and aggravates symptoms of neo-colonialism.  

 

When conducted correctly, however, your community, NGO, or business may benefit from voluntourism. Your organisation needs to stand out from the industry that makes profits from the poverty of local communities in order to have a promising future.

 

Here are some suggestions on how to make the best of your voluntourism initiative:

 

  1. Find your match

Balance the motives of the potential volunteer with those of your company. It is not beneficial to employ volunteers who just want to pad their CVs. Give preference to those who are willing to contribute more time, remembering that it takes some time for a person to settle into a role and on that precious resources are often spent training or wasted in high turnover situations.

 

Do not work with young people who are eager to save a whole community but rather those who are willing to learn from a different culture and who are aware that they are not coming as a type of ‘superhero’.

 

  1. Preparation is key

One of the most important success factors is to match the expectations of the volunteers with your standards. To guarantee a successful tenure, consider hosting a preparation meeting. It is not only important to brief the volunteers about risks and expectations but also about the culture and history of the destination. This will help them to understand the community prior to arrival. Follow up on this meeting with regular discussions during their stay.

 

  1. Community involvement

Remember that the community is also a key stakeholder in voluntourism. To create a lasting and positive impact, match the communities’ expectations with that of your organisation and volunteers. Gather ideas on how a volunteer may engage with the community and where a helping hand is needed. Discuss how voluntourism projects may benefit the community in the longer term. It is also helpful to communicate motives and cultural differences of the volunteers.

 

 

Voluntourism is a controversial subject. It is thus imperative to make special considerations for your programming to create a win-win situation for all parties involved: your volunteers, community and organisation. If undertaken correctly, this form of tourism can be very rewarding and make a contribution to world peace and mutual understanding.

 

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Credit: World Economic Forum.

Many urban centers, like Shanghai and Shenzhen, have gone from modest fishing villages to booming megacities.

 

China is rapidly urbanizing. More than half of China’s population now lives in cities, and over 100 Chinese cities have over 1 million people each.

Many urban centers, like Shanghai and Shenzhen, have gone from modest fishing villages to booming megacities. Others have become mega-ghost cities — high-tech (often luxury) urban centers that fail to attract many residents.

Here’s a look at some of China’s largest real estate developments that will change its cities even more.

 

By Leanne Garfield from World Economic Forum

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PATA members are invited to submit entries for the 2017 Skal International Sustainable Tourism Awards. The awards programme features one new category – Tourism Destinations – as meaningful support to the UNWTO’s ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’.

 

Any organisation is invited to submit entries. Membership of Skal is not a required and there is no charge for participating in these prestigious awards. Deadline for entries is 30 June.

 

PATA Chief of Staff Dale Lawrence is also President of Skal International Thailand. He said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for public and private sector organisations to display publicly their support for the principles and objectives of sustainable tourism. I commend this awards programme to all PATA members.”

 

The awards will be presented at the Skal International World Congress in Hyderabad on 6 October.

 

More details at: https://www.skal.org/en/sustainableguidelines

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

With the PATA Annual Summit 2017 in Sri Lanka now under way it’s a timely opportunity to remind you about the importance of implementing sustainable practices at conferences, events and exhibitions. Here are several ways to evaluate your environmental footprint:

 

  1. Focus

Referring to the PATA’s Responsible Business Travel Guidelines, choose one aspect from each phase of your trip – before, during, and after – to focus upon making an impact. Challenge your delegates to do the same. Pack your own reusable bottle for use during your travels, thus allowing you to say ‘no’ to plastic containers. Order seasonally and locally at restaurants.

 

  1. Be a responsible delegate

Do your part! If everybody followed Tip #1, just imagine what an impact we could make. Be a responsible delegate and speak with pride about it because you are setting a fantastic example for our industry. Read more on PATA’s five tips to become a responsible delegate here.

 

  1. Share your best practices

Inspire your attendees and promote your own practices by sharing your work. By setting up code of conducts or requirements for the venue of the event you may inspire your event host to be ‘greener’.

 

  1. Make it a must

If you are planning an event, make it your policy to select ‘sustainable’ venues with proven ‘green’ credentials. Event organisers increasingly are demanding green events because the demands of stakeholders and investors. Green events are quickly becoming the norm and venues that do not comply risk being edged out by their more responsible counterparts. PATA is able to help you to craft essential green requirements for your next event. Contact ssr@pata.org.

 

 

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CC BY-NC 2.0 Clive Derra

 

UK supermarket giant Tesco is not exactly popular with the deeper green environmentalist crowd. In fact, when they planned on opening one of their Tesco Express convenience stores in my hometown of Bristol, it literally resulted in riots.

But while there’s legitimate concern around the oversized power that Tesco wields to transform our high streets, it’s hard to deny that the company has also made some substantial and important commitments to sustainability. Whether it’s tackling food waste, deploying electric vans for deliveries or housing employees on the roofs of its stores, many of its initiatives reach beyond the ubiquitous promotion of reusable bags or selling organic produce.

Now Business Green reports that the company is making a firm, long-term commitment to the fight against climate change. Specifically, that commitment includes a promise to slash its own operational greenhouse emissions 60% by 2025, and by 100% by 2050. It has also promised to run on 100% renewable energy by 2030. In the process, it became the first UK supermarket to have its climate change plans approved by the Science Based Targets (SBT) initiative.

 

Read the full article here.

By Sami Grover from The Treehugger

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Credit: Shutterstock

Did you know?

Our planet cannot digest plastic

Plastic makes up about 90% of ocean pollution in the world

In China, 3 billion single-use plastic bags are used every day

The average plastic bag is only used for less than 15 minutes

 

The problem with plastic is that it’s inexpensive and therefore disposable. And when it’s so disposable, there is a lot of it, and a lot of litter, creating unsightly cities, and clogged and polluted waters.

 

We, the tourism industry, are dependent on clean oceans, pristine beaches, and ecological diversity. Local communities are dependent on fresh water and clean cities. It is time to take leadership and proactively reduce the use of plastic in the travel industry.

 

Here are some ways we can tackle plastic pollution in the tourism industry:

 

  1. Charge for it:

It can be difficult to change the legislation on plastic bans, but it isn’t impossible. Charging the customer an additional fee can be an incentive to reduce the demand for plastic products. Read more one the example of Ireland, who was able to reduce the plastic bag consumption by approximately 98 per cent within a week in 2007 by increasing the price for plastic bags.

 

  1. Replace your plastic products

 

  • Use only reusable glasses, mugs, and water bottles at conferences instead of plastic bottles
  • Simply do not allow plastic straws at your hotel or venue, or replace with biodegradable, paper, or bamboo straws
  • Replace single use toiletries with large pump bottles that can be refilled; replace plastic toothbrushes for giveaways with wooden ones
  • Initiate green meeting policies: check out this example

 

  1. Educate stakeholders, staff and travellers

Because everyone uses plastic, it is important to engage with every person involved in the business to educate them about the negative impacts of plastic use and how to make a positive, plastic-free change.

 

What to tell stakeholders:

Reducing plastic means reducing costs! Unnecessary material usage can be avoided, saving a lot of money in production and in waste management. Uptake of environmental management methods may attract new customers or partners who are seeking more environmental friendly businesses. Read more about the benefits of an environmental friendly business.

 

What to tell staff:

Employees play a very important role in doing the right thing with your business. It is important to understand that waste separation and the time and labour involved can not only be costly for the employer, but also very mundane for the worker. It is by no means a glamourous task, so actively reducing plastic means less work in the end. Often, particularly in an office environment, out of sight is out of mind. Once a person puts a piece of plastic is in the trash, they will never see it again. Help staff understand plastic’s lifecycle, and that reducing plastic can make an enormous impact on our planet and communities. Read more on how to engage employees in CSR.

 

What to tell my guests:

Empower your staff to teach guests about your company’s sustainability policy, as it relates to plastic. Explain why you are not using plastic straws or bags, and actively tell your story! Read more on communicating sustainability to guests.

 

Plastic is a global problem, but one that is being tackled all over the world. See how some African countries governments even banned the use of plastic, and consider how we can learn from this example. It is important to move proactive and be the change you wish to see in the Asia Pacific region.

 

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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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