The tourism industry must “act together” and “speak with one voice” to create a green future.
That is the message from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) at the Rio+20 summit in Brazil.
WTTC, which runs the industry-leading Tourism for Tomorrow Awards each year, recognises that the business imperative for sustainability is no longer deniable; that companies are moving beyond focusing on cost-saving efficiencies to adopting a new sustainable business equation which balances ‘people, planet and profits’.
Helen Marano, WTTC vice president, government and industry affairs, recently told the UN Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum more needs to be done across sectors and across borders.
He said: “Although the industry has gone quite a long way in moving towards more sustainable approaches, we still need to work on mainstreaming sustainability.
“And as a leading global industry, we are well placed to raise the bar further.
“The industry’s core products are substantially linked to the preservation of natural resources, cultural heritage and people.
“Tourism, as one of the world’s fastest growing industries generates more than nine per cent of global GDP, supports 255 million jobs, and continues to grow by around four per cent a year.
“The industry therefore has the global opportunity but also the responsibility to show leadership – and steer green growth.
“We need to focus on a sustainable long term future and facilitate transparency and accountability within the industry by developing common industry approaches to common problems such as the WTTC/International Tourism Partnership Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative launched last week,” continued Marano.
“This initiative is a powerful example of industry collaboration where the 23 leading hotels worked together to develop a common methodology to measure and communicate carbon emissions for a meeting and hotel stay.
“The industry needs to encourage innovative partnerships like this as well as foster entrepreneurship opportunities and innovative thinking which promote sustainable solutions.”