ABTA joins global tourism initiative to take on plastic pollution
ABTA – The Travel Association has today become a signatory of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by the United Nations Environment Programme and World Tourism Organization, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
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.
As a member of the Advisory Committee for the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, ABTA has contributed to its co-creation. Now, as a signatory, the travel association pledges to help eliminate, innovate and ‘circulate’ (i.e. reuse, recover and regenerate) plastics.
Specifically, ABTA commits to continue encouraging Members to tackle plastics as part of a broader approach to waste management through ABTA’s sustainability programme, Better Places. ABTA has been active on waste management for some time, with the launch of ABTA’s plastics guidance in February 2019 and with Travelife, ABTA’s internationally recognised accommodation sustainability company. Among its many functions, Travelife supports hotels in their initiatives to tackle plastic pollution.
Clare Jenkinson, ABTA Head of Sustainability, said:
“As the tourism industry reviews health and safety protocols in light of COVID-19, pressure to use single use plastics has once again increased. We want to support our Members to make the right choices for their business, and to manage waste without compromising the health and safety of customers and staff.
“Our sustainability programmes – Better Places and Travelife– will help us engage with our Members and give them the necessary tools to see this change happen.
“We hope that this will encourage the international collaboration required to tackle plastics.”
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative requires tourism organisations to make a set of concrete and actionable commitments by 2025:
- Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items by 2025.
- Take action to move from single-use to re-use models or reusable alternatives by 2025;
- 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.
- Commit to collaborate and invest to increase the recycling and composting rates for plastics.
- Report publicly and annually on progress made towards these targets.
To accomplish this vision, tourism companies and destinations commit to stop consuming plastic items they don’t need; to innovate, so all plastics they do need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything they use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment.
While transitioning to circularity in the use of this resource, the tourism sector can make positive contributions like reducing landfill, natural resource depletion and greenhouse gas emissions; raising awareness of conservation among staff and guests to avoid single-use plastic products; influencing their suppliers to produce more sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic products; working with governments to improve local waste infrastructure and community facilities; and creating sustainable livelihoods and long-term community prosperity in harmony with nature.
The initiative is developed within the framework of the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the One Planet network, a multi-stakeholder partnership that aims to implement the Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG 12) in relation to sustainable consumption and production, one of the 17 goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The initiative acts as the tourism sector interface of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which unites more than 450 businesses, governments, and other organisations to address plastic waste and pollution at its source.
Notes to editors
ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for 70 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.
The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.
We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.
ABTA has more than 4,300 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.
About the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is developed by the Sustainable Tourism Programme 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 UN Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organisation, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The Global Tourism Plastic Initiative acts as the tourism interface of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. It endorses its common vision and is aligned with its commitments, definitions and framework. www.oneplanetnetwork.org/gtpi
About the One Planet network Sustainable Tourism Programme
The One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme has the overall objective to enhance the sustainable development impacts of the tourism sector by 2030, by developing, promoting and scaling up sustainable consumption and production practices that boost the efficient use of natural resources while producing less waste and addressing the challenges of climate change and biodiversity. The One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme is led by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with the Government of France (Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition) and the Government of Spain (Secretariat of State for Tourism) as co-leads. The Sustainable Tourism Programme is part of the One Planet network, a multi-stakeholder partnership to implement SDG 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production. www.oneplanetnetwork.org/sustainable-tourism
About the United Nations Environment Programme
The United Nations Environment Programme is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. www.unenvironment.org
About the World Tourism Organisation
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As the leading international organisation in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. www.unwto.org
About the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was launched in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to the circular economy. Since its creation, the charity has emerged as a global thought leader, putting the circular economy on the agenda of decision-makers around the world. The charity’s work focuses on seven key areas: insight and analysis; business; institutions, governments, and cities; systemic initiatives; circular design; learning; and communications. www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org
About the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment
The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment unites businesses, governments, and other organisations behind a common vision and targets to address plastic waste and pollution at its source. Signatories include companies representing 20% of all plastic packaging produced globally, as well as governments, NGOs, universities, industry associations, investors, and other organisations. The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme. www.newplasticseconomy.org/projects/global-commitment