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‘Recycle for Plants’ workshop with SIG Combibloc

Categories: PATA Sustainability & Social Responsibility
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WithPATA HQ achieving Silver-level Sustainability Certification for our sustainability practices for the second year in a row in 2017 , it is now more important than ever to find creative ways to decrease our footprint. That is why, on July 12, 2017, we invited Mr. Sinchai Thiensir, Director of the Thailand Institute of Packaging and Recycling Management for Sustainable Environment to talk about the green office concept. He joined Ms. Prangtip Chaisawat from SIG Combiloc, who conduced a workshop showing us how to recycle our UHT package waste, popularly used for food packaging. Together, we crafted pots and and planted flowers in them to give our office a boost of fresh air.

Ms. Chaisawat’s wonderful workshop has helped us to keep thinking differently about the items we use on a daily basis and make our practices more sustainable.

For more pictures, see our Facebook post from the event!

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On October 4th 2017, BIGTrees Project Co-founder Anunta Intra-aksorn and Madeleine Recknagel, of The Sustainable Self initiative, visited the PATA office to share their knowledge on the importance of tree planting, sustainable living, as well as their past and current projects around Bangkok.

Anunta and her colleagues from BIGTrees provided PATA with interesting insights in their engagement in protecting and improving the endangered green spaces in Bangkok, focusing particularly on the protection and planting of trees. Past and current campaigns hosted by BIGTrees, including Urban Tree Care, Save Bangkachao and Mangrove Palm Seeding, have been set up to raise awareness, reconnect people and nature, and call for change. Communal learning has proven to be beneficial to the success of BIGTrees projects. Possibilities to combine leisure activities, such as bicycling, and engaging in environmental activities (e.g. planting) were presented to highlight the importance of ensuring a sustainable environment in the future.

 

Anunta Intra-aksorn speaking for BIGTrees Project

Madeleine encouraged PATA to rethink what is good soil by showing staff the difference between dead and living soil through touch and smell. Good (living) soil allows the healthy growth of produce. Sharing her own experiences, Madeleine emphasized that it doesn’t require a lot of effort and time to produce soil through composting – even when living in a small apartment or condo. Simple actions and rethinking diet towards healthier eating can lead to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Sharing knowledge

Using recycled plant pots, workshop participants were given the opportunity to seed and plant using homemade soil provided by Anunta and Madeleine.

PATA staff learning about planting

 

Getting dirty!

 

PATA staff seeded cucumber in a recycled egg container

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PATA acknowledges that elephants in Asia are indeed working animals, and that owning an elephant is an investment. Recognising that there is a growing rift between stakeholders regarding animal welfare, The Elephant Camp Animal Welfare and Sustainability Standard and Assessment Initiative has been developed.

The purpose of this initiative is to ensure that activities and experiences at elephant camps are conducted in a responsible way, understanding the increasing concerns from both informed travellers and animal rights groups.

 

The challenge:

  • Growing concern of tourism industry stakeholders (Western travellers and operators) regarding animal welfare
  • Elephant camps in Asia lack set standards and an accompanying evaluation system
  • Some tour operators are evaluating camps based on self-developed checklists, an inefficient use of resources and a source of confusion on acceptable and responsible management practices amongst camps

 

Until now, there has been no widely accepted set of criteria for evaluation systems present for elephant camps in Asia.

 

The solution

Recognising the above issues, the PATA Tour Operator Sustainability Working Group, under the Chairmanship of Travelife for Tour Operators, developed a first draft of the standard on the basis of the ABTA Animal Welfare Guidance. Stakeholders and experts were given the opportunity to comment the standard. The draft has been revised several times following testing at elephant camps in Phuket and Northern Thailand. A final draft of the standard was ratified in February 2017. The standard includes in total, 166 criteria divided over 7 themes and 24 subthemes (see table). Specific implementation and auditor guidance and tools are presently being developed for the relevant criteria, with an auditors training to be conducted later this summer.

 

The Elephant Camp Animal Welfare and Sustainability Standard and Assessment Initiative is an answer to the growing concern of tourism industry stakeholders regarding animal welfare.

 

Who is involved

The Elephant Camp Welfare and Sustainability Standard is an initiative of Travelife for Tour Operators and the PATA Sustainable Tour Operators Working Group (TOWG), a subdivision of the PATA Sustainability & Social Responsibility Committee, the aim of the TOWG is to develop common standards and tools in order to jointly evaluate suppliers (e.g. accommodations, transport, excursions and attractions).

Present key members of the working group include: EXO Travel, Khiri Travel, Buffalo Tours, Go Vacation, Destination Services, Diethelm Travel, Destination Asia. The initiative is endorsed by PATA, World Animal Protection (WAP), ABTA and the Asian Captive Elephant Working Group (ACEWG), an informal network of elephant welfare experts and veterinarians, who are working to improving welfare standards of elephants in captivity on the basis of a scientific consensus.

 

Get involved

The key objective of the standard and evaluation system will be to support in- and outbound tour operators in their objectives to better select camps and to motivate camps towards improved animal welfare and sustainability standards. The initiative is open for other in- and outbound tour operators in Asia and its source markets that are PATA members in good standing.

Participating TOs will have the following benefits:

  • Receive annual updates on the performance of their camps
  • Opportunity to propose camps for an onsite audit
  • Receive information on camps not yet in your portfolio
  • Ability to share and access information between in- and outbound partners
  • Ability to provide clients a specific choice in compliance with their expectations

 

Be a part of the solution

For more information or to participate, please contact PATA Sustainability & Social Responsibility Specialist, Chi Lo: chi@pata.org or Travelife for Tour Operators General Manager, Naut Kusters: n.kusters@travelife.info.

Elephant Camp Animal Welfare and Sustainability Standard

 

Note: PATA aims to support, endorse, and provide education about this issue; however, we are not responsible for enforcing how elephant camps and tour operators perform.

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PATA launches new thematic ‘How Far Will You Go?’ video in collaboration with GLP Films, at #PAS2017.

Take a moment to reflect on your inspirations for travel as well as aspirations for the Asia Pacific tourism industry.

 

 

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BANGKOK, May 20, 2017 – A pioneering publication designed to help the travel and tourism industry meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been launched at the PATA Annual Summit in Sri Lanka.

Sponsored by Jetwing Hotels of Sri Lanka this new publication ‘The Olive Tree’ is a joint effort between the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and Bangkok-based Travel Impact Newswire.

It features a compilation of announcements, news releases and initiatives by United Nations agencies and other multilateral groupings such as the Asian Development Bank on a broad range of SDG-related themes and topics including ‘messengers of peace’, ‘infrastructure investment’, ‘illegal fishing’ and ‘rice farming’.

Each article is accompanied by a sidebar explaining its importance and relevance to travel and tourism. This ‘ideas bank’ allows industry executives to envisage the linkage and to then decide how to get involved in advancing the cause.

PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy said, “The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a global vision for humanity and one that we all should work to fulfil. The industry has an important and influential active role to play in achieving these goals but this may only be achieved through concerted efforts from the public and private sectors.

“The publication’s title reflects the concept and thinking of peace and understanding. We must remember that travel and tourism provide the perfect opportunity for people from various backgrounds to share their stories with each other in the hope that they may better understand each other as human beings regardless of race, faith or religious beliefs.”

Jetwing Hotels Chairman Hiran Cooray said, “This pioneering publication is a perfect collaboration between the public and private sectors and the media to help make our world a much better place. Sri Lanka has overcome the challenges of a long and bloody war and is now pursuing a path to nation-building. Travel and tourism is a critical contributor to this task and the private sector has a major role to play. As one of the country’s largest private sector players in the travel and tourism sector Jetwing is proud to be contributing to job creation, cultural preservation, poverty alleviation in an environmentally friendly way. We hope that this publication will rally the entire PATA fraternity to forge stronger links with the UN system and other multilateral agencies in pursuit of a common objective, namely the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals, well before the target of 2030.”

Travel Impact Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil, who initiated the project, said, “Travel and tourism is a unique global industry. It can rightfully claim to be the only one that can positively advance all 17 UN SDGs. Globally, travel and tourism is awakening to this powerful potential. So is the UN system. Behind the internal politics, the UN system and many other global multilateral agencies do a lot of great work. Their meetings, activities, reports and research can help the industry to make a robust contribution to the fulfilment of the SDGs.”

Muqbil added, “The Olive Tree publication will help industry decision-makers to explore the treasure trove of UN events, activities, campaigns, statistics and free reports that boost awareness of how the SDGs and the industry are intertwined. In turn, the UN agencies may better appreciate and respect the importance and value of travel and tourism in meeting their goals.”

The publication is available free of charge. Click here to download.

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

June is a popular month in western countries for getting married. Couples who are approaching the final preparations for their big day have many things on their minds and therefore sustainability may be the least of their worries.

 

However, here are some tips to help wedding planners and venue operators show leadership in sustainable practices, making sure that newlyweds begin their lives together in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner.

 

  1. Flowers

Choose flowers that are VeriFlora certified and grown without chemicals. Seasonally available and locally purchased flowers also mean a lower footprint. Flowers can also serve double duty – for the ceremony decorations as well as table centrepieces to help cut costs. Couples may also consider eco alternatives to flowers such as potted plants and EcoFlower, which often offers discounts for brides. After the wedding, consider working with organisations such as Rebloom to make sure the flower arrangements are reused.

 

  1. Catering

Food is a major element in every wedding celebration so consider purchasing organic and sustainable food or sourcing quality excess food from organisations such as Oz Harvest. Suggest vegetarian alternatives, seasonal and locally grown food, and sustainable options such as sustainable seafood which may reduce drastically the carbon footprint of the wedding. Read more on how to reduce carbon emission with the right catering.

 

  1. Decorations

Whether the wedding is on a beach or in an hotel or other indoor venue the decorations always play an important role. Consider purchasing decorations from a party rental service, – helping to trim costs and reduce waste. Look for high-quality equipment from a garage sale that gives a trendy ‘vintage look’ for the wedding. Make sure to save any purchased decor for other events.

 

  1. Create an eco-friendly wedding package

Assess activities that are successful and combine them into a beautiful eco-friendly package that is sure to catch the eye. Meeting the demands of young couples keeps you on track to market your services to an even wider audience.

 

 

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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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Credit: Shutterstock

 

Sunday May 14th is Mother’s Day in many parts of the world. It’s our chance to celebrate the special mothers in our lives. Mothers form a large part of the global workforce. Did you know, for example, that tourism employs twice as many women than other business sectors?

 

Mother Nature must also be celebrated on this special day and here are ideas about how to give responsibly:

 

  1. Plants instead of flowers:

One estimate suggests that a massive US$ 2.6 billion is spent on flowers for Mother’s Day. However, potted plants are an eco-friendly alternative to flowers. Buy locally if possible to support local community commerce. Check this plant-delivery- service to get some inspiration.

 

  1. Get inspired – make a gift by yourself:

A home-made present is often the most thoughtful and sentimental. Start painting, knitting, and scrapbooking. Even making a coupon book out of recycled paper can make every Mom happy. Crafting gifts can be enjoyed by everyone, can be especially fun in a group, and will bring out the artist in you. Here are some craft ideas and inspiration to get you started!

 

  1. Choose the right packaging:

Wrapping gifts usually means an extensive use of unnecessary paper. Opt for used newspapers or fabric. Think about making a gift box that can be decorated with paintings or personal messages. The box can easily be reused for storage. Read more about alternatives to gift paper.

 

When celebrating Mother’s Day, remember that it’s the thought that counts. Putting real effort into choosing an appropriate may take some time – but it can make all mothers feel happy and appreciated whilst also making an important contribution to the protection of our environment.

 

Read more on eco-friendly gifts here.

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Since this year’s Earth Day falls on a weekend, PATA decided to celebrate a little early. For this year’s Earth Day, our Green Team invited Mr Poonyos Kumpolkunjana, founder of Paper Ranger a local Bangkok non-profit, to give our team a workshop, titled, “Everyone can be a hero.”

 

On Tuesday, 18 April, Mr. Kumpolkunjana came to the PATA Engagement Hub and spoke to our team about how easy it is to make something useful out of paper waste, then showed us how to make notebooks using our office’s used paper! Our team had a lot of fun crafting notebooks out of paper waste.

 

Mr. Kumpolkunjana from Paper Ranger showing how its done

 

Everyone joined in, including Dr. Mario Hardy, the CEO of PATA

 

Proud participants presenting their work

 

His foundation arranges workshops with various groups, and donates the handcrafted notebooks that result from these workshops to schools throughout Thailand. Learn more about Paper Ranger here, and to book your own workshop, contact paperranger@live.com.

 

Recycling is a crucial concept in sustainable management, especially in an office environment. For more information check our green tips of this week here.

 

 

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Photocredits: Shutterstock

Unhappy with the amount of money Google is making off of your searches? How about a search engine that promises to plant trees every time you search

That’s the idea behind Ecosia, an eco-friendly search engine that has vowed to spend its extra revenue on planting trees in Africa and elsewhere. It’s no small amount either: about 80 percent of the search engine’s revenue ends up being donated (about $50,000-80,000 per month) and the company has planted over three million trees since it launched six years ago — or about one tree every 12 seconds.

“The good cause we support could be something other than tree planting, but we’ve determined planting trees as a way of helping the environment and the people,” founder and CEO Christian Kroll told Digital Trends in an interview.

Read more on how Ecosia is planting trees for every search here.

 

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