A new set of Recommendations published on July 22nd outline how the global tourism sector can fight against plastic pollution while effectively facing the public health and hygiene challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The side effects of the pandemic has put more than 100 million jobs at risk; countries have begun to recover and tourism is restarting in a growing number of destinations. The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, has provided a plan of action for both public and private sector stakeholders to address the root causes of plastic pollution in these challenging times.
The Recommendations for the Tourism Sector to Take Action on Plastic Pollution During Covid-19 Recovery illustrate how reducing the plastic footprint, increasing the engagement of suppliers, working closer with waste service providers, and ensuring transparency on the actions taken, can contribute to the responsible recovery of the tourism sector.
1. Businesses and Governments United
When not properly disposed of, products such as gloves, masks and sanitizer bottles can end up polluting the natural environments around major tourist destinations.
“Not managing the transition into the new reality we are facing, including the strong focus on health and hygiene measures, in a responsible manner may have a significant environmental impact,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “That’s why this renewed commitment is so important. We are proud to announce the first signatories to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative today.”
“We need to take a science-based approach and support governments, business, and local communities to ensure we are taking the most effective measures to protect hygiene and health without creating pollution and causing harm to our natural environment,” said UNEP Economy Division Director, Ligia Noronha. “These recommendations addressing hygiene and disposable plastic can support tourism sector stakeholders in their efforts towards a responsible recovery.
2. Accor, Club Med and Iberostar Group Commit to Initiative
The recommendations come as major global tourism companies Accor, Club Med, and Iberostar Group cement their commitment to figh plastic pollution and become three of the first official signatories to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, along with more than 20 signatories from across all continents, including major industry players and supporting organizations which will act as multipliers.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is also a member of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative Advisory Committee and has informed these latest recommendations.
3. About the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution. It enables businesses and governments to take concerted action, leading by example in the shift towards a circularity in the use of plastics. Developed within the framework of the Sustainable Tourism Program of the One Planet network, a multi-stakeholder partnership to implement SDG 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is led by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Tourism Organization, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
The full list of signatories and their commitments can be found here.