The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative welcomes 26 new signatories

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The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative welcomes 26 new signatories
Wed November 25, 2020

With a total of 46 members, the common goal is to tackle the root causes of pollution and work on new actions


The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative has welcomed 26 new signatories, including companies and organizations from all parts of the global tourism value chain. Led by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Initiative unites the tourism sector with the common goal of addressing the root causes of pollution plastic.

New signatories include Booking.com, G Adventures, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Inkaterra, TUI Care Foundation, deSter part of the gategroup, and the International Aviation Waste Management Platform, among others. They have providers of guest services, take away packaging and waste management platforms, as well as accommodation providers (both large groups and SMEs), leading online tourism platforms, tour operators and associations working at the destination level.

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative was launched in January 2020 and now has 46 signatories, illustrating how reducing plastic pollution in tourism remains a priority despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. . The diversity of the signatories highlights the potential of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative to promote systemic solutions that can be implemented locally and scaled up globally.

Addressing plastic pollution remains a priority for the sector

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative can lead to the reduction of pollution and waste in all parts of the tourism sector and support a responsible recovery from COVID-19 that leads to greater sustainability and resilience.

In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, a circular approach to the management of plastic items and packaging can prevent any increase in the use of single-use plastics for hygiene purposes. It can also ease pressure on waste management infrastructures and promote a more sustainable supply chain. In this sense, a circular economy for plastics is essential for the tourism sector to conserve and protect destinations and to recover responsibly from the current crisis.

UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Moving towards the circular economy is a strategic approach for the tourism sector. The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative can lead to the reduction of pollution and waste in all parts of the tourism sector and support a responsible recovery from COVID-19 that leads to greater sustainability and resilience. "

Elisa Tonda, head of UNEP's consumption and production unit, adds: “The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for urgent action on climate, nature, and pollution and waste crises that are driven by consumption and unsustainable production, but it has also provided a window of opportunity to prioritize sustainability as part of a green recovery. This new group of signatories to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative reflects the continued commitment of the tourism value chain to increase circularity in the plastic system and maintain its ambition to tackle plastic pollution, moving forward in a post-COVID world ”.

Recommendations that inform recovery plans

Earlier this year, a series of recommendations were published for the tourism sector to continue taking action against plastic pollution during the pandemic. These serve as the basis for developing COVID-19 recovery plans, reviewing standard operating procedures, and defining plastic handling strategies. The recommendations are now available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.

Gerald Naber, Program Manager, New Plastic Economy Global Engagement, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, adds: “The Global Engagement signatories are making encouraging initial progress in meeting their goals towards a circular economy, but acceleration will be needed. substantial progress towards it. the 2025 targets".

The Global Initiative on Plastics for Tourism is part of the broader framework of the New Plastics Economy Global Engagement. Specifically, the Initiative acts as a sectoral interface for the Global Engagement of the New Plastic Economy, which recently published its Progress Report for 2020.

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