As part of the IBEROSTAR GROUP’s CSR plan, we have developed an ambitious action plan with a special focus on actions inspired by environmental conservation with the aim of contributing towards sustainable development goal SDG14 “Life Below Water”. Because most of our hotels and resorts are located on the beachfront, seas and oceans are one of our main assets as a tourist destination and so preserving and caring for them is one of our largest responsibilities as a company in the tourism sector.
We have defined actions inside and outside our hotels in which we involve our employees and suppliers and also engage our clients. We believe that as a responsible company, it is vital that we contribute to environmental awareness raising and education of our different stakeholders. From our perspective, we accept that it is our duty to help make the tourist a responsible tourist.
With the aim of encouraging change in our various stakeholders to create a more responsible tourism sector, we have defined our business model in line with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs), making a special commitment to conserving seas and oceans and the communities in which we are present.
The fact is the data are alarming; according to the most recent reports, it is predicted that in 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans unless people stop using single-use plastic items. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), plastic contamination is found everywhere, from the beaches of Indonesia to the ocean floor at the North Pole. In 1950, with a population of 2.5 billion inhabitants, the world produced 1.5 million tons of plastic; last year, with a population of over 7 billion, 300 million tons were produced with serious consequences for marine plants and animals.
According to Ocean Conservancy (an international environmental NGO founded in 1972) drinking straws make up 4% of all of the rubbish in the oceans and were the fourth most common type of rubbish found on beaches all over the world in a study carried out in 2015.
As part of our Strategic CSR Plan, and in line with our environmental commitment, since July 2017 we have gradually been implementing in all IBEROSTAR hotels the “0 STRAWS” campaign. This aims to reduce use of drinking straws, and ensure any that are used are biodegradable so we can eventually become a “0 STRAWS” company.
Through this campaign, we aim to reduce plastic contamination, protect marine fauna and create environmental awareness among our clients, partners and suppliers. The target we have set ourselves for the end of 2017 is to reduce use of drinking straws in all of our hotels by 75%.
Through this initiative, we also contribute to SDG12 “Responsible Consumption” by acting in a reflective way when purchasing and selecting a sustainable option.
The programme involves 3 phases:
1.- Training and awareness raising.
2.-Reducing and replacing
In this second phase, we set targets for reducing usage and defined procedures by which any employee can give a client a straw if the client asks for one, but it will be a biodegradable straw and the client will be informed of this.
This is the final objective of the initiative: to be able to do without this article, only making them available for drinks that need them as they are thicker.
As implementation of the programme started in July, we do not yet have data from all destinations, but with the data from the hotels where it has already been implemented, we can already compare usage from the month before implementation (June) and the month after implementation (August). According to these, we are comfortably exceeding the targets set for the end of 2017.
|“0 STRAWS” Project 2017 Results|
|Number of plastic drinking straws used in June ‘17||1,650,000|
|Number of BIODEGRADABLE drinking straws used in August ‘17||112,000|
There is no doubt that tourism is one of the main drivers of economic growth and job creation, but it is becoming ever more necessary to focus on a model of sustainable tourism that operates responsibly and provides greater benefits to society.
Like any activity, tourism has major effects on the economy, society and environment of its host countries. If we can manage it sustainably, along with its socio-economic impact, tourism can help to preserve its setting, and promote and appreciate culture and even understanding between peoples.
Our aim is to encourage a change in the different stakeholders to achieve a responsible tourism sector. Businesses involved in the tourism industry play a very important role when we align our strategies with this objective, transforming the sector’s focus, introducing sustainability criteria in our operations and encouraging a change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour to promote a more sustainable tourism sector.
We have the challenge of contributing to the development of this extraordinary planet with a quality offer that is always based on respect and sustainability so that our actions make a positive mark on society and ensure the sustainability of the destination and its businesses. This is a challenge we have already accepted at IBEROSTAR, and to which we must all contribute to make our surroundings into a place of prosperity and well-being.