Global Tourism Plastics Initiative Releases First Progress Report and Welcomes More Signatories

The total number of signatories has reached over 100 with the addition of 21 new ones. The launch of a first annual report makes clear the significant progress made in tackling plastic pollution in tourism over the past year.

Accor, Club Med, Hong-Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Iberostar, Melco, Six Senses have all reported continuous efforts to implement their commitments to tackle plastic pollution despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, they have eliminated over 100 million plastic items and packaging.

The UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said that the Global Tourism Plastic Initiative has made a real impact. The signatories have cut their use of plastic by 800 metric tons, equivalent to 27 large shipping containers full of plastic. I welcome the 21 newest signatories to the Initiative and congratulate all those businesses and destinations for their commitment, which is a sign that tourism is working hard to become more sustainable even in times of crisis.

Plastic progress reported by signatories.

deSter, a member of Gate Group and the leading supplier to the aviation, hospitality and foodservice industries has discontinued the launch of new products with non-recyclable materials, as well as working on fiber-based technologies and closed loop recycling pilots with customers.

Club Med has already removed on a global scale disposable plastic items such as cups, straws, cutlery, plates, as well as individual plastic packaging from shower gel, shampoo and lotion and from other in-room. Club Med is aiming to remove single use plastic accessories from its rooms and festive events as well as reducing the use of plastic water bottles by 50% by the year 2024.

The goals and progress of the Global Tourism Plastic Initiative report have been formally established. We can demonstrate our commitment to developing more sustainable solutions. Philippe De Naeyer, Director of Sustainability at deSter, said that being part of a coordinated action plan with other signatories can be sure that we are moving the needle to stop plastic pollution.

The full report is available online and is linked to the annual report of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. A reporting mechanism that would allow additional stakeholders to report progress on the implementation of their commitments will soon be made available.

More sector-wide commitment.

The Global Tourism Plastic Initiative has welcomed 21 new organizations since the last announcement in July of 2021, bringing the total of organizations that have committed to implement a circular economy of plastic in the tourism sector to 113.

The Initiative welcomed 4 accommodation companies and 7 tour operators. The elimination of unnecessary and problematic plastics, the introduction of reuse models and work on value chain level to improve recyclability are some of the targets set by these signatories.

A common goal for tourism.

The tourism sector is behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution. The World Tourism Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme are involved in the project. The Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization endorsed the Global Tourism Plastic Initiative at its 114th meeting held in December of 2021.

There are other links.

The UNWTO is a specialized agency that fosters tourism as a vehicle for equal, inclusive and sustainable development. UNWTO works with Member States, international organizations and the private sector to promote safe and seamless travel. The UNWTO works to make tourism the foundation of trust and international cooperation. The UNWTO is at the forefront of global efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, including through its ability to create decent jobs, promote equality and preserve natural and cultural heritage.

Follow UNWTO on social media.

The UNWTO Communications Department is part of the UNWTO.