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March 8 and Every Day is Women’s Day

Categories: Green Tips
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Every year on March 8, we celebrate women. This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) theme is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” with the hashtag #BalanceforBetter.

SOURCE: UN

Here are some ways in which you can celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against gender bias, and take action for equality.

  • Become a partner of the International Women’s Day 2019 Flagship Event by filling out their submission form.
  • Share a group picture through your social media accounts with a selfie card and a “hands out” pose. Be sure to use the hashtag #BalanceforBetter.
  • Join the “Women Speakers Register” as diverse groups worldwide are looking to find empowering speakers to increase female visibility and participation.
  • Download “Lean In’s” presentations to educate, encourage and commit.
  • Find ways to #BalanceforBetter and share your success.
  • Share stories of prosperous women in the industry or far beyond within your team and your social media accounts.
  • Make sure to involve men in this initiative- we are talking about equality after all!

Women share this planet 50/50 and they are underrepresented- their potential astonishingly untapped.”- Emma Watson

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Chef sautèing vegetables in a commercial kitchen.

Buffets are highly appealing to guests, but they are also one of the top generators of food waste. Food waste is a costly and serious environmental issue. If food waste was a country it would be the third largest generator of greenhouse gases, just behind the U.S. and China.

But, food waste also provides great opportunities for the hotel sector. A research found that for every $1 hotel invested in programs to reduce kitchen food waste, on average they saved $7 in operating costs. With simple changes, hotels can minimize the problem, help the environment and contribute to their margin at the same time.

Winnow develops digital tools to help chefs run a more sustainable, profitable kitchen by cutting food waste in half. Together, chefs and teams using Winnow in 39 countries are saving over 18 million meals and $25,000 per year. From our experience we have learned simple tips to help hotel operators strike a balance between reducing waste and ensuring guest satisfaction:

Estimate the number of daily guests – By using this information, kitchens can forecast production volumes more realistically.

Find out who your guests are – Learn about your guest’s demographics to help you adjust your offering. When there are fewer Asian guests, for example, production of commonly-wasted foods such as rice and congee can be reduced.

Make your buffets look full – Consider reducing the size or depth of your serving dishes, and invest in table decorations rather than displaying more food.

Add live stations to your buffet – Cook dishes with more perishable ingredients, such as omelet and pasta, at live stations during the services.

Encourage guests to waste less – Giving your guests smaller plates sends a subtle message to take less food at one go and to return for seconds if desired.

Invest in technology – Digital tools, such as Winnow, inform where, when and why food waste occurs helping chefs manage their food waste more effectively.

The buffet is here to stay, but we would encourage every hotel operator to look for ways to reduce food waste. It helps the hotels` bottom line and reduces their environmental footprint at the same time. If you’d like to learn more tips to make your kitchen profitable and sustainable, download this free guide with 14 easy and essential steps.

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Being a sustainable traveller means also making a conscious decision about your fashion choices. Your sustainable fashion statement will surely leave a positive impact on the places you visit.

Studies have shown that people are willing to pay more in the name of sustainability and ethical fashion; therefore, it would be wise for companies to think in terms of the triple bottom line. Here are some tips on how you can make a difference by engaging in sustainable fashion.

  1. Get yourself an experience:

When visiting culturally rich countries with exquisite local crafts, why not go one step further and visit the artisans themselves. This way, you gain an authentic experience with the locals and some great memories too.

  1. Demand transparency:

Many big-name brands may claim to be sustainable, but it might be a facade to attract more customers. One of the ways you can check whether a company is serious about sustainability or not, is by visiting their website and having a look at their policies.

A transparent supply-chain is another good sign. If a company does not explicitly list its suppliers, you can send them an inquiry yourself. Getting a response is an indicator that, at the very least, they care about their customers. The complexity of supply-chains makes it difficult to assess companies and their ethical sourcing practices.

You can browse The Good Shopping Guide and Oxfam’s Naughty or Nice List to see where certain brands lie in terms of transparency and sustainability.

  1. Look for accreditation

Look for these certifications and labels to induce whether or not your item of clothing qualifies as ethical fashion.

  1. Don’t fall so fast:

Fast fashion is a phenomenon sweeping the globe. Many brands produce clothes that are meant to be discarded quickly. This is adding to the problem of pollution, not just due to clothing that ends up in landfill, but also because of the wasted resources used to make these clothes. In fact, the fashion industry is the second largest contributor to our planet’s pollution plight. Clothes should be a long-term investment. Support companies and brands that understand and address the issue of fast fashion.

So it all boils down to this: go the extra mile, do the research and make an effort to choose what’s right because your decisions have the power to instigate change.

Further reading:

Factory Girls, by Leslie T. Chang

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, by Elizabeth L. Cline

Read more on how you can be a sustainable traveller by packing eco-friendly travel essentials.

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Have you done your part to #beatplasticpollution?

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Credit: Shutterstock

Did you know that 50% of the plastic we use is single-use or disposable? Or that nearly 40% of the plastic we use is used for packaging? On World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5, communities around the world showed their commitment to #beatplasticpollution. Organisations around the world announced new pledges.  Have you done your part to join the fight against plastic pollution?

Here are three simple tips and tricks to get you started:

  1. Refuse what you can´t reuse: No matter if someone is offering it to you, if you are running errands or you are consuming any goods and services, remember to refuse the plastic that you can’t reuse. Look and ask for a reusable option and if unavailable, simply refuse it. Check out these 8 alternatives to plastic wrap for a zero waste win.
  2. Calculate your plastic consumption and make a plan to reduce, refuse or reuse specific plastic items using this ready to use template. Browse books, blogs and other resources to help you reach your goal step-by-step.
  3. Do it yourself: Rather than relying on the industry to cut down plastic packaging or offering inexpensive eco-friendly alternatives, start making things your own. You will cut down plastic consumption and produce less waste in general. Here are 60 things you can start making yourself instead of buying – from skin and beauty products, household cleaners and necessities, food and condiments, to shoes and clothing. Pick one out of each category to get started.

Remember that at the end of the day, you are responsible and in charge of the choices you make. Opt for earth-friendly alternatives over plastic products for everyday living starting now to do your part to protect the environment.

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10 ways to celebrate International Women’s Day at work

Categories: Green Tips
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Credit: Shutterstock

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year, IWD is focusing on the theme, “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.” Social media campaigns this year will be characterised by the hashtag #PressforProgress.

Here are some ways to make this year’s International Women’s Day a successful and fun event at work:

  1. Share stories about women in tourism by featuring female entrepreneurs and leaders in the travel industry via social media
  2. Take a picture of everyone wearing purple, the official IWD colour, and share on social media
  3. Fill the office with purple decorations; share photos on social media
  4. Have everyone share their ideas for #PressforProgress and share the top picks on social media
  5. Conduct a “Women in [name of your organisation]” portrait session. Set up a professional photoshoot session for women working at your organisaton
  6. Provide 30-minute massages for women in the office
  7. Have the male staff serve coffee and tea to female for the day
  8. Showcase your resolution to making a change and pressing for progress creatively by pressing lemons and adding the juice to butterfly pea flower tea which will change its colour from blue to purple – capture a video clip and share on social media
  9. Have all staff commit to an action and share the commitments
  10. Allow female staff to work 80% of a day, the equivalent of the pay gap

 

Let’s also think about the long-term impact we can have by making a pledge and celebrating International Women’s Day. Think about what you can do throughout the year to show your support and choose actions that matter.

 

Watch out for PATA’s social media activity this International Women’s Day and join in the celebration of women in our industry.

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Measure for measure: It’s time to offset your global travels

Categories: Green Tips
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In the tourism industry we are constantly inundated with feelings of guilt about our travels. A recent headline in the New York reminded us as much. It read ’Flying Is Bad For The Planet. You Can Help Make It Better’.

Because prevention, rather than treatment, is always a better path to follow the airline suggests measures to take such as flying in economy class rather than in the much more comfortable seats in front of the curtain. For some travellers, however, a reservation in either business or first class is a prerequisite to boarding any commercial aircraft.

The article also suggests, more sensibly, that we should offset our carbon emissions. Some airlines offer ways for travellers to offset flights when purchasing tickets. (IATA also provides guidelines for offsetting for its airline members.)

PATA partner EarthCheck has provided a carbon calculator that helps to calculate the amount of carbon your activities have emitted into the atmosphere.

Companies are encouraged to offset staff travel and other business activities. Hotels, in particular, must do more to create opportunities for guests to offset their stays. Offsetting is not only good for the environment but it also builds a brand’s image and reputation.

There are many organisations that offer carbon offsetting as a service such as Conservation International, CarbonFund.org and Sustainable Travel International. There are also organisations such as myclimate or Nexus that take funds for offsetting and put them into projects that help to reduce carbon emissions in other ways – such as investing in clean cooking stoves in marginalised communities.

Costs may either be absorbed by the company through fundraising, passed on to guests/clients by opting in, or by building this cost element into the overall price. Choose your path to sustainability – and remember to share this commitment by communicating your sustainability efforts to your guests

Carbon offsetting isn’t just about planting trees and it’s certainly not a solution to climate change and global warming. It’s not a perfect system by any means but it is a socially responsible action that reduces the negative environmental impact caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

 

* Share your carbon offset commitments with PATA members and the wider global travel community. Send details to: communications@pata.org and ssr@pata.org

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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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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: 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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