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, governments and other tourism stakeholders to lead by example in the shift towards a circular economy of plastics.
Can we continue tackling plastic pollution in times of COVID-19?
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increased demand for disposable plastic items making it more complex to use plastics sustainably. It is nevertheless possible to continue tackling plastic pollution while preserving health, as plastic items are not sanitization measures in themselves.
The Recommendations for the Tourism Sector to Continue Taking 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 of the actions taken, can significantly contribute to a responsible and sustainable recovery of the tourism sector.
How does the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative operate?
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative requires tourism organizations to make a set of concrete and actionable commitments by 2025:
- Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items;
- Take action to move from single-use to reuse models or reusable alternatives;
- (Engage the value chain to) move towards 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable;
- Take action to increase the amount of recycled content across all plastic packaging and items used;
- Collaborate and invest to increase the recycling and composting rates for plastics; and
- Report publicly and annually on progress made towards these targets.
UNWTO and UNEP are leading the implementation of the Initiative in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and with the support from an Advisory Group. The Initiative is developed within the framework of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme.
Who can become a signatory of the Initiative?
The problem of plastic pollution in tourism is too big for any single organization to fix on its own. To match the scale of the problem, changes need to take place across the whole tourism value chain.
Destinations (national and local governments), businesses (accommodation providers, tour operators, suppliers, etc.) and supporting organizations (NGOs, business associations, academia, etc.) can become signatories of the Initiative.
Which organizations are already signatories?
As of December 2020, 46 leading tourism companies, suppliers, business associations, NGOs, consultancies and certification schemes have announced their signature of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative and disclosed their ambitious commitments with regards to the elimination of unnecessary single-use plastics, transition to reuse models and use of reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging and items.
How does the Initiative support its signatories?
The Initiative supports destinations, businesses, associations and NGOs by:
- Sharing knowledge resources and solutions being implemented across the sector to tackle plastic pollution;
- Fostering collaboration across stakeholders in the value chain to advance towards a circular economy for plastics;
- Consolidating the progress reported by all signatories and establishing a performance benchmark;
- Bringing visibility to the actions taken by signatories and showcasing the leadership of the sector.
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative has welcomed 26 new signatories, including businesses and organizations from every part of the global tourism value chain.
A new set of Recommendations published today outline how the global tourism sector can continue in its fight against plastic pollution while effectively facing the public health and hygiene challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This initiative unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to tackle the root causes of plastic pollution, enabling businesses and governments to take joint action.