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PATA staff spend day at the Foundation for Rehabilitation & Development of Children and Family

Categories: PATA Sustainability & Social Responsibility
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As we are quickly approaching the end of 2018, it was time for another online flea market at PATA. Similar to what we did last year, an online flea market allows our staff members to purge unwanted clothes, toys, books, household items, etc. Our staff members shared photographs of all the items they wanted to get rid of, which could be auctioned, sold, or swapped amongst colleagues. The unclaimed items and proceeds from items sold were donated to the Foundation of Rehabilitation & Development of Children and Family (FORDEC).

FORDEC runs a daycare program to nurture and care for pre-school children aged 2-6. They also help to give the children nutritious food as well as provide a clean and safe environment for the development of the children. At the daycare centre, FORDEC provides lunch meals for 180 children from Monday to Friday. According to K.Maprang, FORDEC’s Program & Family Services Manager, the feeding program is one of the greatest responsibilities of the foundation.

 

In the spirit of Christmas and the giving season, we at PATA wanted to go a little further this year by giving what FOREC currently needs most: raw materials for the kitchen. Apart from the online flea market, some fundraising was also carried out in the office. With the help of one of our staff members who is a self-proclaimed grocery expert (moms know best), the process of acquiring the groceries went smoothly, and we were able to get great value for our money! The lovely team from FORDEC kindly picked up the donation items weighing over 100kgs from the PATA Headquarters on December 24.

 

The team from FORDEC also kindly extended an invitation to all PATA staff members for a visit to their daycare centre and we simply could not pass on the chance to spend some time with the children there. We visited FORDEC on December 26 and we were absolutely overjoyed to spend a few hours with them. Anyone who has spent time with kids knows that they can be an uplifting source of joy and we were lucky enough to be able to experience this. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful team from FORDEC for accommodating us and for giving us guidance during the visit.

If you would like to join FORDEC for a volunteer program, click here.

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BANGKOK, Thailand, December 7, 2018 – The PATA Sustainability & Social Responsibility Department conducted our last PATA staff knowledge development lunch workshop of the year. This time, we dived into learning about food surplus management with the help of good friend and partner, Scholars of Sustenance (SOS) Foundation, better known as Thai-SOS. Thai-SOS is also known as the pioneer of food rescue operations in Thailand.  Representing the foundation as a guest speaker was Mr. Bruce Chen, Community Engagement Coordinator. Bruce is a recognized researcher and speaker on sustainable development programs who is determined to change the general public’s perception of food waste and surplus food as it is still a new concept in Thailand.

The world produces enough nutritional food to feed the whole population, yet there are still so many people who go to bed hungry every night. The objective of this lunch workshop was thus to help PATA staff become more aware of issues surrounding food waste, and empower them to share this new knowledge with others.

After a brief introduction about Thai-SOS, Bruce shared some staggering statistics regarding food waste in Thailand, which made everyone suddenly more conscious about the Subway sandwich they were holding in their hands. Some staff members began replacing the lettuce they had just taken out of their sandwiches!

Did you know?

  • 64% of 27.06 million tonnes (27,060 kg) of Thailand’s municipal waste is made up of food waste.
  • An average Bangkok grocery store can throw away up to 200 kg of edible food a day.
  • An average 5-star hotel buffet throws away up to 50 kgs of edible food during each service period.

Speaking of lunch, this time’s lunch got everyone excited to attend the workshop because it was from Subway. Of course, to provide lunch sustainably, we brought our own containers to pack the sandwiches, plus reusable containers to pack four types of sauces. We are proud to say that zero single-use plastics were used to provide our lunch this time around! Thank you to the staff at Subway for helping us consume consciously!

              

We had plenty of time for Q&A with Bruce so we were able to clear any doubts and make the most out of his time here. When asked what is the ultimate goal that Thai-SOS wish to achieve, Bruce said “our end goal is of course for us to run out of business because then it means people finally know it is the norm to not waste food and it is the norm not to overproduce food. But that will take us a very long time.”

At the end of the workshop, our tummies were full, our minds were filled and our souls were ready to make a change. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Thai-SOS for being such angels – for changing the world one meal at a time. To volunteer with Thai-SOS, please reach out to them here. Alternatively, you can drop us an email at SSR@pata.org.

Extra bites:

Bruce was also a guest speaker at PATA x MUIC workshop touching base about Sustainable Hospitality Businesses. Read about it here.

Read about our previous lunch workshops here.

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On October 5, 2018, PATA hosted a special staff lunch workshop conducted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The purpose of the workshop was to instigate behavioural change among employers, encouraging them to commit to giving decent work to domestic workers as part of the “My Fair Home” campaign. The campaign is a result of collaboration between the International Domestic Worker Federation (IDWF) and the ILO. In place since 25 September 2015 in Bangkok, the campaign is a vehicle for encouraging people and companies to create “a fair home” by following the Thai Law, and international standards regarding domestic work.

Since 1919, the ILO has aimed to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues. The TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme, under which the “My Fair Home” campaign falls, works on improving conditions for migrant domestic workers across the ASEAN region.

          

At the beginning of the session, the speakers; ILO Technical Specialist, Anna Olsen together with Campaign Advisor, Aanas Ali, firstly gathered our attention to be mindful of the language used when addressing these workers:

Domestic workersnot helpers, maids or servants

Migrant workersnot alien or foreign

We learned that the majority of domestic workers are women and girls; tens and millions of women and girls are employed in a private household. They clean, cook, care for children/ elderly and perform other essential tasks for their employers. Despite their important role, they are among the most exploited and abused workers in the world.

Quick facts:

  • 40% of the world’s domestic workers are in Asia-Pacific
  • 83% of these are women.
  • 90% of migrant domestic workers in Thailand earn less than minimum wage (325 THB/day).
  • Migrant domestic workers in Thailand work on average 12 hours daily, while those with care roles work 13 hours

Our lunch again was provided by Lankaow Waan – we just can’t help but support their sustainability practices that align with PATA’s values. Just like the previous workshop the caterer provided our lunch in recyclable packaging and drinks prepared in glass bottles.

    

 

The workshop was wrapped up after an action & reflection session. PATA will continue to strengthen the understanding of human rights and human resource issues among PATA staffs and PATA members in the context of travel and tourism.

     

ILO will be back at the PATA HQ to conduct another insightful workshop exclusively for PATA members & partners. Find out how you can help your employees be responsible employers of domestic workers through this workshop. For more workshop details, please do not hesitate to contact PATA Sustainability and Social Responsibility Specialist, Chi Lo at ­­­Chi@pata.org or ILO Campaign Consultant, Aanas Ali at aanas@iloguest.org.

We encourage all individuals to support the rights of domestic workers in your home and community. Visit “My Fair Home” to take a pledge!

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PATA gathers thought leaders to brainstorm ways to battle single-use plastics in the travel and tourism industry

Categories: PATA Sustainability & Social Responsibility
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Did you know?

  • Nearly 50% of the plastic waste generated globally in 2015 was plastic packaging (UNEP 2018).
  • This waste comes in the form of small plastic-packaged shampoos, conditioner, body wash, lotions, shower cap, etc.
  • 95% of the plastic used in your hotel room ends up in landfill where it takes hundreds of years for it to decompose, and only into fragments called microplastics.

The production of plastics poses a great number of problems in our ecosystem and the world simply cannot cope with the overwhelming amount of plastic waste.

PATA is uniquely positioned to bring the industry together in a collaborative effort. As our mandate is to act as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within Asia Pacific, we welcomed 15 thought leaders and industry experts to our office to discuss how we can work together to tackle this problem. This special brainstorming session involved PATA members and partners from the hotel industry, academia, non-profits, as well as the private sector. During this two-hour session, we learned about the challenges industry is facing, and came up with ways that PATA could potentially help to fill the gap.

PATA will continue to seek public-private partnerships to raise awareness on the single-use plastic issue and to drive positive change in the future. A campaign to tackle single-use plastics in the travel and tourism industry is set to be launched in spring/summer of 2019. Will you be part of the problem or solution?

We encourage any organisations that have the same vision as us to get in touch so we can make a difference together. Please contact: PATA: Chi Lo, Sustainability & Social Responsibility Specialist: chi@pata.org

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BANGKOK, THAILAND, October 18, 2018 – Food waste remains as challenging as ever, and we in the hospitality and tourism industry have a special responsibility to do our part to reduce this wastage.  With sustainable consumption and production practices and the Sustainable Development Goals in mind, PATA Sustainability and Social Responsibility Department gathered partners, members from hotel sectors, private and government sectors for an intimate brainstorming session to see what more we can do collectively to raise awareness and reduce food waste to landfill.

The brainstorming session aimed to build on the momentum of the BUFFET (Building an Understanding for Food Excess in Tourism) Initiative to discuss on the current situation of food waste in hospitality and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific. Chi Lo, PATA Sustainability, and Social Responsibility Specialist kicked off the meeting with an introduction to the campaign. The session then continued with a self-introduction of participants on their personal interest on food waste as well as an introduction on what their organisations are currently pursuing.

Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA as well as Trevor Weltman, PATA Chief of Staff were present in the discussion to engage with our partners and contribute their knowledge on this matter. The brainstorming session took off thanks to everyone’s passion for the issues at hand.

The main activity of this brainstorming session revolved around the discussion of strategies and ideas on how to further raise awareness of food waste in our industry and drive positive change. A state of industry report is set to be released in May 2019 which will showcase the results and findings of the Bangkok Hotels Project. This report will also include valuable case studies of food reduction champions in the hospitality industry.

The next highlight of the BUFFET initiative will be the announcement of the BUFFET for Youth challenge. The winning team will showcase their case study at the PATA Youth Symposium in PATA Annual Summit 2019. PATA extends its gratitude to all the organisations who participated in this brainstorming session. We look forward to working together in a collaborative effort to tackle this global issue.

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“When you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence”
 
In the spirit of sustainability and reducing waste to landfill, staff at PATA Headquarters participated in an online flea market to buy, sell, and trade unwanted items. The staff shared photographs of all the items on Google Drive; after that, a bidding war began. All proceeds were donated to charity, and on the last day of the flea market, everyone at the office brought their stuff to sell or swap. Many items got a second life with their new owners, as after all, one (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure! Items that did not sell were donated to the Baan Nokkamin Foundation, an organization chosen by PATA staff
   
 
Baan Nokkamin Foundation is a Christian organisation that aids orphans, underprivileged children, the elderly and addicts by bringing a positive change into their lives. The Foundation helps to strengthen the community so that they can have a better future.
 
PATA has previously donated to Klong Toey slum via Second Chance Bangkok. For more information about creating an online flea market for your own office, contact ssr@pata.org.
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In our continuing efforts to reduce waste and educate our staff, the PATA Green Team organized a workshop at our Bangkok HQ on August 7, 2018. We invited guest speakers from Tavises – Magic Eyes to conduct the workshop.

“Ah! Ah! Don’t litter. Magic Eyes are watching you” is a merry jingle many Gen X Thais are familiar with, and thanks to the efforts of this organisation, the concept will be passed down to future generations.

The speakers, Pa and Nat, introduced their organisation and their mission. They gave an overview of waste management in Thailand and discussed the 5 Rs – reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and reject – to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Pa and Nat emphasised the idea of refusing to use single-use plastics – especially plastic bags, straws and cups – proposing alternates to single use items such as tote bags instead of plastics bags, reusable tumblers, handkerchiefs instead of tissues/paper towels and reusable cutlery.

To drive the dangers of single-use plastics home, they shared some nerve-wracking facts about plastic pollution:

           

The group shared various ideas about how individuals can manage their waste properly, and how upcycling can be put into practice to give new life to items that would otherwise be thrown away. The speakers concluded their presentation with a poignant video showing humankind’s general exploitative attitude towards the planet.

Today, Lankaow Waan catered our lunch, chosen for not just their delicious food, but also for their recycled and compostable packaging.

     

Efforts made by organisations such as Tavises – Magic Eyes and Lankaow Waan will help educate the world about the benefits and importance of adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. The workshop helped put things into perspective and reminded everyone how important it is to be mindful of the decisions each one of us makes.

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PATA’s Green Team recently organised a week-long competition that challenged PATA staff to take action in the context of Earth Day 2018 which is celebrated on April 22 since 1970. We designed the PATA Earth Week Challenge to support Earth Day 2018’s campaign focusing on ending plastic pollution.

PATA staff teams confronted each other with their use of single-use plastic items with the goal of decreasing PATA’s plastic consumption and improving overall waste management. Each PATA staff could earn or lose points for their team depending on their use of reusable and/or single-use plastic items, as well as by engaging in special activities. The latter included taking quizzes, submitting green tips for the office and downloading the “My Little Plastic Footprint” app to learn about plastic pollution in a fun way. The Sustainability team provided a variety of tools and resources to help PATA staff reduce their plastic footprint at and outside of work while reminding everyone of the many simple and easy tips to go green, keep our earth safe, spend less, and make every day Earth Day.

    
PATA staff sharing good practices while scoring points for their teams
 

Starting from Day One of the challenge, immediate actions were taken. The PATA staff encouraged each other to switch to different types of reusable straws (e.g. bamboo, stainless steel), to replace single-use coffee-to-go cups with their own tumbler, to always carry a tote bag when leaving the office and to adopt other good practices. Everyone shared photos of their daily ‘green’ choices and/or reported cases of their own or other’s rule violation (e.g. using a single-use plastic straw or bag).

    
Choosing the better alternative: Bring your own tumbler; Use silverware instead of use single use chopsticks; Go for a paper straw instead of a disposable plastic one
 

Through self-reporting and online scoring sheets, teams had an overview of the choices they made on a daily basis. After a very successful week and great participation, we decided to extend the challenge for another week. On Stop Food Waste Day! we introduced another special activity challenging PATA staff to show their contribution to the initiative by being a food waste warrior here in Bangkok! If they took a photo of their clean plate after lunch that day, they earned extra points for their teams.

 
Photos taken for #CleanPlate activity on Stop Food Waste Day!
 

Throughout the competition, we encouraged PATA staff to observe their own plastic consumption, to look for and explore alternatives and to also learn about the environmental impact of plastics as well as the importance of tackling plastic pollution.

   
Eco-conscious choices: Choosing natural banana leaf wrapping over plastic; bringing reusable containers to buy fruits from street vendors and meat from the butcher; reusing a drinking cup to get bubble tea
 

The team with the most points won tickets for a fancy movie night. In addition, the Sustainability team selected one staff member who showed outstanding commitment to the challenge and rewarded her with the same prize. Everyone else received a regular movie voucher as a thank you for their commitment to making a difference and helping PATA to walk the talk.

Members of the winning team were leading by example from Day One

Over the course of two weeks, PATA staff saved more than 200 coffee/drinking cups and over 120 plastic bags from landfill. We closed the challenge by celebrating the winning team and acknowledging all teams’ eco-conscious decisions! We are committed to continue making green choices that help end plastic pollution.

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As the year 2017 came to an end, PATA staff went through their belongings and brought unwanted clothes, books and other items in good condition to the office for donation. We wanted to help those less fortunate here in Bangkok and contacted Second Chance Bangkok to let them know about the pile of donations we were able to gather from our homes.

Second Chance Bangkok provides second hand items to residents of Bangkok’s largest slum, Klong Toey. Donated goods are sold to residents for only a few Baht, or given away for free. Second Chance Bangkok also upcycles unwanted clothing by creatively using them to design great bags and gift wares. This innovative program simultaneously creates employment for women in the Klong Toey slum.
The wonderful team from Second Chance Bangkok gratefully picked up the donations from our office on January 18. We intend to repeat this initiative twice a year from now on to help those in need.

Our pile of donations included men and women clothes, books, toys, shoes and toiletries.

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On December 20, 2017, the sustainability team at PATA held a waste management workshop for PATA staff at PATA headquarters. We invited Gili Back, Sustainability Manager at Khiri Travel, as guest speaker to share best practice examples for waste management in a business environment here in Bangkok.

We kicked off the lunch with a delicious lunch from The Lunch Box, initiated and run by Gili Back. To reduce packaging waste from individual servings, we had a buffet-style lunch, served in reusable serving bowls with reusable plates and cutlery. Making a conscious choice about the food we served, we tried three different vegan lunch options, and encouraged PATA staff to try a dietary shift while thinking about the ingredients in our food and the impact eating meat makes on our environment.

   
Gili shared recycling practices and alternatives to single use disposable plastic that are available here in Thailand. She shared helpful tips for how to be more sustainable not only in the office but also at home. Gili then provided insights about how to correctly separate and recycle at the source, such as encouraging everyone to reduce and ultimately avoid plastic use by saying no to single use plastic straws and plastic bags. Gili explained the differences between recycling, composting, and disposal for a better understanding of waste separating practices. She also addressed common misconceptions about bioplastics, such as that bio based plastics are always biodegradable, and fossil-based plastics are never biodegradable or compostable.

Veronika, PATA’s Sustainability & Social Responsibility Associate then shared some astounding facts about waste in Bangkok. Did you know that Bangkokians use 8.1 million plastic bags per day? Learning this, we aim to do our part to improve our sustainability efforts at PATA by introducing new waste separation guidelines.

To put our new knowledge into practice, everyone participated in a fun team activity. Teams raced to correctly separate a bag filled with different types of waste from the office.

   
The winning team explained how they separated their waste to the other teams. We also discussed items that some teams weren’t sure how to categorise. Everyone received a reusable tumbler/water bottle carry bag as prize and was invited to personalise it. We then took our newly separated and repurposed it to create beautiful decorations for this holiday season.

   
   
Following this workshop, we introduced new colour-coded bins that are now in in office pantry to help everyone separate and recycling waste correctly in the future.

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