Sustainable Tourism business practices
In 2015, the United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a framework for global peace, prosperity, and sustainability. It includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which urge all countries to collaborate in addressing poverty, inequality, healthcare, education, and climate change while fostering economic growth and preserving natural resources. This integrated approach aims for a sustainable and prosperous future. The recommended practices below are based on the UN’s SDG’s.
Travel & Transportation
The time to act is now. By choosing sustainable transportation, we take a crucial step towards a world where our journeys become synonymous with progress, harmony, and environmental stewardship.
1. Choose flights from airlines with sustainability practices. Many airlines now have opt-in carbon neutral flights. The National Airlines Council of Canada provides a commitment to the environment and is working with the following airlines on sustainability measures:
- Air Canada
- Air Transat
- Jazz Aviation LP
3. Carpool when possible. Utilize carpool options like Kari when traveling.
4. Offer bus passes and bicycle rental vouchers as an incentive to customers who purchase your products and/or services.
The future of travel lies in sustainable waste management. By prioritizing environmental consciousness, the tourism industry is redefining its role as a positive force for change.
1. Create a waste recovery system plan. Ensure Island Waste Management Corporation sorting guides and resources are used for the creation of your plan.
2. Cleary mark all bins with indicators for waste type. Colour coding systems, pictogram posters and physical examples are great ways to direct waste to its proper bin.
3. Train employees and volunteers how to properly manage waste disposal. Ensure the IWMC sorting guide is available to staff to aid in training.
4. Assign a team to be in charge of waste sorting before, during, and after an event.
5. Ensure any hazardous materials are properly disposed of. Refer to the Recycle Coach app when unsure of how to dispose of an item.
6. Donate! Collaborate with local charities and organizations to donate used or excess materials and food. The Second Harvest Food Recovery App is a useful food recovery program tool that helps ensure that surplus food reaches those in need.
7. Use alternatives to plastic bottles and cans. New water dispensers can be installed to track the number of plastic water bottles saved. Provide discounts and incentives to those who bring reusable water bottles and containers.
Energy & Water Management
Implementing sustainable energy management practices paves the way for a greener future, minimizing environmental impact while providing unforgettable experiences for travellers.
1. Ensure electronics are unplugged at the end of events and when not in use.
2. Utilize LED lighting and Energy-Star certified appliances and equipment if available. Source from companies that use energy-efficient equipment.
3. Use social media to raise awareness on energy management tools that you’re using.
5. Ensure water filling stations are available for attendees to encourage the use of reusable bottles/supplies.
Food & Beverage
Embracing sustainable food and beverage practices in the tourism industry not only satisfies the palates of travelers but also nurtures the planet, promoting local sourcing, reducing waste, and supporting the well-being of communities.
1. Switch to a vegan/vegetarian menu with opt-in meat-based meals.
2. Ask participants for any food restrictions (allergies, preferences, dietary restrictions, etc) prior to the event to reduce food waste.
3. Choose your caterer and ingredients carefully. Select ingredients that are locally grown, organic, and/or fair trade when possible.
4. Plan ahead. Allow guests to choose meals ahead of time if possible to plan for exact food amounts.
5. Serve foods with recyclable and compostable packaging. For example, offer zero waste coffee stations with reusable drink containers, sugar cubes, and milk/cream in refillable containers.
6. Serve pre-plated food options over buffets to avoid leftover food waste.
7. Provide reusable, washable napkins and tablecloths.
8. Choose reusable service ware. Provide washable and reusable napkins, tablecloths, place settings, and silverware.
9. Donate surplus food to local charities and organizations. Second Harvest is a Canadian food rescue organization that ensures surplus food reaches people in need.
Responsible Consumption & Purchasing
Incorporating sustainable packaging and purchasing practices in the tourism industry demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship, promoting responsible consumption, reducing waste, and inspiring travelers to make eco-conscious choices throughout their journey.
1. Utilize digital tickets/passes and other paperless options for events and bookings.
2. Provide an internal shared drive online for all necessary documents and resources.
3. Offer locally sourced and/or digital gifts and prizes.
4. Reuse and repurpose decor and materials from past functions. This will also help you save money!