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Cruise companies have been encouraged to improve their environmental policies and introduce more clean technology. Photograph: Enrique Calvo/Reuters

 

Environmental standards for shipping are so low, cruise companies have a huge opportunity to improve their policies

Not many of the 25 million people enjoying the sea breeze on a cruise ship this year are likely to think about the air pollutants being emitted from the vessel.

Mostly running on heavy fuel oil, a medium-sized cruise ship produces around the same volume of air pollutants – including greenhouse gases, sulphur, nitric oxides and particulate matter – as 5m cars going the same distance, estimates the German environmental NGO Nabu.

“The standards for the shipping industry are really low compared to what we can see in road transport,” says Dietmar Oeliger, head of environmental policy at Nabu. “For a long time, politics served it well. People didn’t care about emissions on open water.”

Most countries devolve responsibility for regulating the industry to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), says Tristan Smith, shipping and climate change expert at University College London. He adds that many smaller countries do not have the resources to regulate it themselves and some choose not to restrict it – after all, the industry is a boon to local economies, bringing in tourists and providing jobs.

 

Read more about sustainable sea travel by following this link. By Sarah Shearman.

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How to influence supply chains to effect change at scale: interview with WWF’s Jim Sano

Categories: Americas, Cruise, Featured Post, Private Sector, Tour Operator, Wildlife
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James Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF at GSTC Conference in Suwon, Korea presenting the partnership between WWF, Royal Caribbean Cruises and GSTC.

James Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF at GSTC Conference in Suwon, Korea presenting the partnership between WWF, Royal Caribbean Cruises and GSTC.

For this interview Anula Galewska spoke with Jim Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF, about the partnership between WWF and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Jim serves as the senior advisor on sustainable tourism programs and develops new initiatives to engage WWF’s most committed supporters. He was formerly President of Geographic Expeditions, a San Francisco-based adventure travel company that offers educational travel, location management, and sustainable travel consulting services.
Prior to joining Geographic Expeditions, Jim served as a ranger and special assistant to the Superintendent at Yosemite National Park in California. Jim was on WWF’s National Council for 10 years and is an Emeritus Board Member of the Trust for Public Land.

This article is part of the interview series with Speakers of the GSTC Conferences in Suwon, Korea and Athens, Greece held in October and November 2016.

Anula: How did WWF come to be partnering with Royal Caribbean Cruises?

Jim: Earlier this year, WWF and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd entered into a five-year partnership that focuses on ensuring the long-term health of the oceans. Over the next five years, our global partnership will work to achieve several ambitious and measurable sustainability targets that will reduce the company’s environmental footprint, support WWF’s global oceans conservation work, and raise awareness among the company’s more than 5 million passengers about the importance of ocean conservation.

The targets include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, responsibly sourcing food, including seafood, and promoting more sustainable tourism operations and destinations. For example in sustainable tourism, Royal Caribbean will offer guests at least 1,000 shore excursions by operators certified to the GSTC standard by 2020. Learn more about all of Royal Caribbean’s 2020 environmental sustainability targets on our website.

Anula: How is this partnership encouraging suppliers to improve their sustainability standards?

Jim: Improving sustainable tour operations through the company’s suppliers is one of the primary goals of the partnership. RCL has worked with many of their tour operators to improve sustainability over the years, and as a great first step, these operators have conducted internal assessments and some have been certified or recognized against international sustainability standards. Getting GSTC-recognized certification is the next step in this process.

One of the strategies we are working on with Royal Caribbean is to add a sustainability preference into their responsible tour sourcing policy. RCL will give preference to tour operators who have made progress towards certification or have been certified against a GSTC standard. Not everyone will be certified by 2020, but the new sourcing policy will be in place by 2018, encouraging tour operators to begin the certification process.

Of course we need to be realistic as it is not always possible to get 100% of suppliers certified, especially in places where there is only one company capable of delivering the service.

Through this commitment, Royal Caribbean is be sending an important signal about the importance of GSTC. And, more and more, we’re seeing a shift towards sustainability in the tourism market. Having a large company like Royal Caribbean endorse the GSTC standard will hopefully spur others to follow suit.

Sano

Dirk Glaesser (Director, Sustainable Development of Tourism, UNWTO), Jim Sano (Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF) and Randy Durband (GSTC CEO)

Anula: So another aim has to be educate the customer about conservation issues and the project itself?

Jim: We want to increase consumer awareness of GSTC as the leading tourism sustainability standard. In the future we hope that all certified suppliers will be able to use the GSTC logo. By increasing awareness of the GSTC logo, we hope to create a brand like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and reduce the confusion caused by the proliferation of ecotourism labels in the marketplace.

As part of this partnership, we’re actively working to educate Royal Caribbean’s guests about ocean conservation. We’re developing educational content across three brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. There’s a special edition of WWF’s magazine, “WWF At Sea,” in every stateroom across these brands. We also have dedicated oceans-focused programming on the stateroom tv channel.

In April 2016 Royal Caribbean committed to combatting wildlife crime, through an event organized by the White House and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. To support this commitment, WWF is developing educational materials on smart shopping while in port – advising Royal Caribbean’s guests what to look out for and what not to buy. WWF is also developing a special guide about sharks and rays, to provide best practices on how to conduct tours in an ecologically-sensitive manner. We hope this will provide needed guidance to the industry as a whole, and not just Royal Caribbean.

Anula: Do you also have any special education programs for the staff?

Jim: Yes. We know that educating the crew is going to be critical in building awareness with guests. The staff, whether its cruise directors or waiters, are allies in helping spread our message on board the ships. We are in the process of developing trainings and content on a variety of topics – from sustainable seafood to wildlife crime.

We plan to leverage the experience of the tour operator Natural Habitat Adventures. Their training programs have proved to be a success, so we want to do a similar thing with the Royal Caribbean.

Anula: Why did WWF decide to work with Royal Caribbean?

Jim: Our oceans under threat. According to WWF’s Living Blue Planet Report, in the last four decades populations of some marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have declined on average by half. The loss of mangroves—perhaps one of the most valuable habitats on the planet—is estimated to be occurring at a rate three to five times that of the loss of rainforest. If we are going to reverse the downward trends, we must take bold steps to repair, restore and protect the oceans.

We believe it is important to harness the power of the global marketplace as a force for conservation. Our objective in partnering with Royal Caribbean is to contribute to the conservation of important ocean ecosystems and safeguard vital natural marine resources for generations to come. And, we hope to inspire other companies in the tourism sector to become more sustainable.

So one of the reasons why we work with big travel companies is to create a certain amount of critical mass, which has a profound influence on smaller companies to behave more sustainably. If you want to know more about why WWF works with these big players, watch this TED Talk by Jason Clay. In tourism we followed the same principle, and this is how we started working with Royal Caribbean.

Jim Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF

Jim Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF

Anula: But big players are very often frightened to commit to sustainability. Why is that?

Jim: The travel industry, unlike other industries such as clothing, has very low margins. On top of that, tourism is a highly competitive market. The big barrier is how much money it will cost a company to raise the bar and be more sustainable.

At my former tour company, Geographic Expeditions, when we first offered tours to Nepal it was very difficult for the end customer to make a connection with a tour company. Now everyone has a nice website, and someone from customer service can answer all your questions online.

But big companies have a competitive advantage, which small ones don’t have – years of experience and a good insurance. At Geographic Expeditions our value proposition was the peace of mind. If a customer cares about sustainability and also health and safety, we offered them a customizable travel experience and the comforting feeling that all the issues had been taken care of.

We need to show these companies that sustainability and strong business fundamentals are not mutually exclusive.

Anula: How important is tourism for WWF?

Jim: This project with Royal Caribbean is our first large project in the travel and hospitality sector.

There’s a growing realization that tourism, when done right, offers a financial opportunity for countries to develop their economies responsibly and protect nature.

According to the studies we made at The Trust for Public Land, 400 national parks can create 14 million dollars in economic activity, and that offers conservation returns worth from $4 to $10 for every dollar invested.

We should be developing more case studies that present the economic benefits, and reports that showcase the compelling case for economic development and jobs creation thanks to tourism activity.

If we want governments to take tourism more seriously, we have to be able to document these numbers. Evidence and money talks, it is the only way to convince big businesses to choose sustainability as their development path.


GSTC Global Sustainable Tourism Conference took place in Suwon, Korea in October 2016. To view presentations from the past conference and learn about upcoming GSTC events, visit GSTC website.

Click here for the original article by Travindy.

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How Italy Stopped Venice Being Put on UNESCO’s Heritage In Danger List

Categories: Cruise, Europe, Private Sector, Recommended Reading
Comments Off on How Italy Stopped Venice Being Put on UNESCO’s Heritage In Danger List

The government lobbied the director of the World Heritage Centre, diplomats and national delegates.

heritage venice

Uncontrolled tourism is killing the city. Wolfgang Moroder/lusenberg.com

UNESCO’s World Heritage Site Committee meeting in Istanbul this July voted not to put Venice on its list of World Heritage in Danger sites, but instead to postpone the decision until the 2017 meeting. This was despite the highly critical conclusions of Unesco’s own recent State of Conservation report on Venice, and appeals by the lobby group Europa Nostra and other civil society organisations. By by Anna Somers CocksRead more.

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Clean, accessible water is vital to tourism, used in most of the tourism businesses, from hotels and restaurants to leisure facilities and transportation. Hotels also depend upon their supply industries, such as agriculture and the food and drink industries, none of which would function without sufficient water.

Thinking about how to conserve water is important. Water conservation can save a significant amount of money by using less: fewer water treatment costs, less labor costs, and less energy use. Using less water also strengthens the local economy as more economic resources are available for the local area. Water conservation also helps protect ecosystems that include tourist attractions that depend on natural resources. Learn more about it from Kuoni’s Water Management Manual for Hotels.

There are many ways to reduce water usage that are more efficient than taking shorter showers, like eating less meat. Here are some useful tips for water conservation that you can easily apply:

 

October 19 2015 – Next week Travindy will be attending the inaugural Whale Heritage Sites Summit in the Azores. We’ve written about it before here – in essence the idea is to create a network of locations around the world that are the leaders when it comes to conservation of whales and offering great whale watching experiences. Jeremy Smith Read more.

balearics-eco-tax-blog

 

October 15 2015 – Last month Biel Barceló, the vice-president and tourism minister for the Balearics,  told a parliamentary hearing in the islands that the government would once again apply a tourist tax in 2016.

The tax – termed an ‘eco-tax’ – will be spent on “environmental protection, sustainable tourism, the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage, improvement of infrastructure in tourist areas as well as in research, training and development in the tourism sector,” according to Travel Weekly. Jeremy Smith Read more.

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Nohbo, a water soluble ball containing shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, is in the final stages of development and is anticipating a launch to major hotel chains.

Founded by a Florida-based 16-year-old entrepreneur named Benjamin Stern, the Nohbo ball can help the hospitality industry significantly reduce the millions of plastic bottled amenities that fill landfills when not recycled. Steven William Read more.

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October 13 2015 – The film ‘Giving Hope to Survivors of Human Trafficking – a short film by YCI’ tells the stories of survivors who are graduating from a six month training programme in hotels around the world, and are embarking on new careers and more promising futures. Siobhan O’Neill Read more.

 

September 3 2015 – The hotel industry will be able to compare energy and water use, as well as carbon footprint, using a new tool from the Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research (CHR).

Developed by researchers Howard Chong and Eric Ricaurte, the Hotel Sustainability Tool 2015 is available from the CHR at no charge. Environmental Leader Read more.