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TaxiBot in action at Frankfurt Airport. Driven by electric motors, the tractors are real powerhouses — the narrow-body model has around 500 kilowatts of drive output (approximately 800 hp). Credit: Lufthansa LEOS

 

Until now, airplanes have had to use their own turbines to travel from the gate to the runway. But thanks to drive technology from Siemens, an all-new diesel-electric towing tractor controlled from a plane’s cockpit can now perform this task. Known as TaxiBots, the tractors save fuel, extend maintenance intervals, and cut noise. Already certified for the Airbus 320, TaxiBots will soon be able to safely pull about 70 percent of all the passenger planes worldwide.

Read the full article on this environmentally friendly taxiing solution here.

By Christine Rüth and Sebastian Webel for Siemens’ Pictures of the Future.

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The aviation industry is responsible for two percent of global emissions. If you care about the environment but also love travelling you can help to reduce your impact by utilising your airline loyalty mileage.

 

Buying carbon offsets

Choose an airline that offers carbon offsetting opportunities. The majority of airlines, including major carriers such as United and Thai, offer voluntary carbon offsets when selling tickets so that customers may elect to compensate by supporting a carbon reduction project.

 

More information on carbon emission calculations is provided by the International Air Transport Association’s Carbon Offset Programme. Read more about carbon offset programmes here.

 

Donating mileage and reward points

Donate your air miles to environmental charities such as carbonfund.org which helps people and businesses to reduce and offset climate impact. You may also donate your miles to initiatives such as Cathay Pacific’s FLY greener programme.

 

You can also buy carbon offsets from projects that reduce CO2 emissions. This is an excellent way of utilising your loyalty mileage before the expiration date. Programmes may also be available for businesses and for cargo shipments.  Get ideas as about how you can donate your air miles.

 

Using mileage for eco-friendly products

Look for programmes that enable you to use your air miles for products that are environmentally friendly. For example, Air Canada’s My Planet programme allows customers to use rewards and points to purchase eco-friendly products and services – from electric scooters to organic cotton sheets.

 

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Plastic has dominated the in-flight experience, but airlines including Iberia and Qantas are experimenting with ways to reduce packaging. Photograph: Jeff Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images
Airlines generated 5.2m tonnes of waste in 2016, most of which went to landfill or incineration – and it cost them £400m.

You probably know about the waste problem in our oceans. But how about the one in our skies?

Airline passengers generated 5.2m tonnes of waste in 2016, most of which went to landfill or incineration, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates. That’s the weight of about 2.6m cars. And it’s a figure set to double over the next 15 years.

Toilet waste is included in that statistic. But so are miniature wine bottles, half-eaten lunch trays, unused toothbrushes and other hallmarks of air travel.

Once a plane has landed, huge volumes of disposable items are thrown away, says Matt Rance, chief executive of MNH Sustainable Cabin Services, a company that advises airlines on waste reduction. “It’s almost like taking a tube, tipping it upside down, emptying it out and then saying ‘right, fill it up with new stuff again’.”

The airline industry has taken flak for its growing greenhouse gas emissions as passenger numbers rise. But could its massive waste footprint be solved without affecting the sector’s growth?

 

Read the full article here.

By Olivia Boyd from The Guardian.

 

 

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Sustainability in tourism isn’t just about re-using that hotel towel a second day. It’s thinking deeply about how visitors get in and out of a destination while doing the least harm.

— Jason Clampet

With 2017 being the United Nations’ International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, now is as good a time as ever to take stock of the opportunities and challenges faced by tourism providers trying to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry.

While tourism is important to many local and national economies, overcrowding is changing the perception of the benefits of mass tourism. Spain is a prime example of a country struggling with its popularity.

Barcelona’s relationship with tourism has been shaky for a number of years now. Already in 2014, the documentary “Bye Bye Barcelona” highlighted the negative impact of mass tourism on the city. Locals fear that they will be priced out of the housing market, eventually resulting in Barcelona losing population diversity and character. The local government has stopped issuing licences for new hotels and has banned change-of-use permits required for holiday lets.

And Barcelona is not alone. As of 2017, Santorini is limiting the number of cruise visitors to 8,000 per day. Local activists in Venice have asked government to ban cruise ships stopping in its harbour, as cruise visitors have quintupled in the past 15 years. Cinque Terre on the Italian coast is capping the number of visitors to 1.5 million per year. Popular attractions including Machu Picchu and Mount Everest are capping the number of visitors and require visitors to be accompanied by a recognised guide, and Zion National Park is looking at proposals to limit visitors through a reservation system.

Capping tourists is a drastic measure, and surely not something destinations would like to do. It is often seen as a last resort, and the fact that more and more tourist destinations see no other way to remain sustainable and competitive is telling of the apparent failure of other initiatives.

 

Read more here.

By Wouter Geerts, Euromonitor from Skift

 

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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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Reduce your holiday carbon emissions

 

Did you know that one long haul return flight can produce more carbon dioxide per passenger than the average UK motorist in one year?

You can follow these easy steps to lower your carbon footprint during the holidays. Make the best of your experience and help to save our planet:

 

  1. Before you leave:

Pack light. The more weight that trains, planes and automobiles have to carry, the more fuel they use – and this means that the volume of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere also increases. Before you leave home, remember to unplug all your electronic devices and avoid wasting energy. Unplug your TV sets and turn down the temperature setting in your refrigerator. Check out the PATA Responsible Business Travel Guidelines for more tips.

 

  1. Watch what you eat:

Food transported from somewhere else increases your carbon footprint drastically. Dine at local restaurants or buy locally produced food in supermarkets. There is no need, for example, to consume foodstuffs imported from Europe when you are visiting Japan.

 

  1. Choose a sensible, energy friendly location:

A central location usually means more convenient access to public transport. Using public transport not only saves you time and money but it adds to the authenticity of your experience and allows for spontaneity.

 

  1. Offset your footprint:

Contribute to carbon-offsetting programmes and other energy saving initiatives. A carbon offset is a credit for greenhouse gas. More information about carbon offsets may be found here.

 

  1. Stay at home

The stay-at-home vacation! Explore your own city by visiting museums and other attractions that appeal to out-of-town visitors. Perhaps it’s time to hone your sporting skills or simply spending time with your friends and family in your own environment. Use your holiday budget to reinvest into your local community. Keep your carbon footprint to a minimum – and have lots of fun at home!

 

By: Christoph Wegener / PATA Sustainability & Social Responsibility
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'green' events planning

In line with 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, it is important that we take steps towards implementing sustainability in our day-to-day activities. This includes events – a major component of our industry.


There are many things that event planners, service providers and meeting participants may do as a means of contributing to sustainable and responsible event management.

Here are a few simple ‘green’ meeting tips:

1. Use online registration to reduce paper usage

Forget about archaic paper registration methods. Use an online registration tool. Online registration and ticketing not only eliminates excess printed materials but also saves time. Participants love being able to register from any device at any time. Check out Eventbrite, an example of a low-cost online event registration mobile app that can be used to promote and manage your event events.

2. Use electronic communication and marketing

Save a tree by going digital. Send out invitations, real time information, announcements and updates through online media and other online channels. electronic devicesDraw attention to eco-friendly aspects of your event with digital signage and information.

3. Choose a green venue

The venues, and their facilities, have a huge impact on the sustainability of your event. Consider first whether the building itself is certified, for example, by the US Green Building Council. Select an event site that’s easily accessible by foot, bicycle or public transport. This reduces the carbon footprint of your event. If your event is attracting international delegates, give them ‘green’ hotel options.

4. Encourage sustainable transportation

Choose energy efficient, hybrid or electric vehicles for your event. Encourage delegates to travel by public transportation by making it easy for them to navigate. As an alternative, set up carpool service (e.g. liftshare.com) or shuttle bus service for your attendees. Find out more about how to commute in an eco-friendly way; check out 30 ideas on green event transportation.

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5. Recycle and reduce waste at events

Provide bins for recycling and composting to minimise waste-to-landfill. Make recycling stations highly visible and accessible. Liaise with the venue management team about arrangements for composting food waste and donating any excess food to local charities.

6. Minimise energy use

Using natural light instead of artificial light reduces bills and helps the environment. Where electric lighting is required, make the switch to LED bulbs. Switch off lighting and equipment when it is not being used.

7. Go local

Use local vendors for ancillary services such as food, décor, gift items, and rentals. This reduces emissions and gives important support the local economies. Hire local staff to reduce travel times, costs and pollution.

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8. Inspire sustainable practices

Educate and inspire attendees by making your ‘green’ event practices highly visible to all stakeholders, including the public and the media. Encourage responsible behaviour among all stakeholders and foster understanding and appreciation of sustainability by adapting the PATA Responsible Business Travel Guidelines. Finally, check out our favourite 5 tips to become a responsible green delegate.

 

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wind energy

In the Netherlands all NS’s 1.200.000 train trips per day are now without any CO2 emissions. A world’s first!


As from 1 January 2017 100% of Dutch electric trains are powered by wind energy.  The Dutch railways company NS is the world’s first railway company that gets 100% of its energy from wind energy.

Dutch railways now 100% powered by wind energy. Source: Facebook BrightVibes

Travelling by train has been the most environmentally friendly way of transportation for a long time already. In the Netherlands they have now taken it to the next level using wind turbines to power all of its electric trains.

The Dutch have a long history of using wind energy to advance. They used windmills to drain land covered by water since the 17th century. By Michiel De Gooijer. Find out more on BrightVibes.

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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: