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CSR in Tourism: Sustainability as an overarching theme at ITB Berlin

CSR in Tourism: Sustainability as an overarching theme at ITB Berlin

Corporate social responsibility has an increas-ingly important role to play in tourism. In the context of CSR the subjects being covered at ITB Berlin are extremely topical. This is evident from the range of fascinating papers on the subject of “CSR in Tourism” in Halls 4.1 and 5.1 and at the ICC Berlin, and from the extent of the involvement of the world’s leading travel trade fair in the ITB Berlin Convention. Various aspects of climate change and sustainable tourism will be dealt with in more than twenty separate events. In addition the ITB CSR Day, which was launched so successfully last year, is being repeated again on 11 March 2010. The highlight of the day will be the presentation of the exclusive GfK study, commissioned by ITB Berlin, on the subject of “The Top CSR Companies from the Customers’ Viewpoint”.

The ITB CSR Day will be opened by Klaus Betz, Study Group for Tourism and Development and there will also be a welcoming address by Andreas Storm, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Prof. Michael Hopkins, Chair & Partner, MHCinternational Ltd. will discuss which aspects of social, ecological and economic sustainability are of particular relevance to the tourism industry, and what are the most appropriate examples of best practice for successfully integrating CSR in corporate strategies. In a second keynote speech the internationally renowned marine researcher and environmental activist Fabien Cousteau will provide some spectacular insights into the world’s oceans.

There are bound to be some lively discussions about “Cruises – booking market: growth at the expense of the environment?”
Prof. Martin Visbeck, Spokesman for the Programme Committee World Climate Conference 3 (WCC-3), Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences at the University of Kiel IFM-GEOMAR, will fuel the debate with his paper. Together with the guests on the panel, Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman & CEO, Costa Crociere S.p.A., Member of the European Cruise Council (ECC) Executive Committee, and
Rüdiger Pallentin, General Manager, Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven, he will examine the negative impact of this expansion, which includes the destruction of marine flora and fauna, and how this development can be rectified through the application of CSR. 

“Is CSR a labelling trick?” This issue will be investigated in depth by the chairman, Volker Angres, Head of the Editorial Department for Environmental Affairs at ZDF and prominent industry representatives including Thomas Bösl, General Manager, Raiffeisen-Tours RT-Reisen GmbH, Dr. Volker Böttcher, Chairman of the Board, TUI Deutschland GmbH, Jens Hulvershorn, 1st Deputy Chairman Futouris, Director of Marketing and Sales Gebeco, and Rolf Pfeifer, Divisional Management CSR, forum anders reisen. Film excerpts from a current empirical study will be used to illustrate the discussions.

This will be followed by a session entitled “Socially Responsible Investing”, dealing with companies that operate in a sustainable way and, according to the findings of various studies, are demonstrably more successful. The guests on the panel are Mila Dahle, Director Group Environmental Management / Sustainable Development,
TUI AG, Andreas Knörzer, Managing Director and Head of the Business Division for Sustainable Investment, Bank Sarasin and Werner Landwehr, Departmental Director, GLS Bank Berlin. In the final panel Dr. Christoph Willers, Senior Consultant, AFC Risk & Crisis Consult GmbH, will focus on the ”CSR-fit Strategy ” vs. ”Greenwashing” CSR as a new paradigm of brand management. One thing is already certain: CSR measures must be seamlessly adapted to corporate and marketing strategies, because otherwise they will not achieve their full effect, or will even be counter-productive.


Apart from the ITB CSR Day there will be a number of other events dealing with the subject of CSR on other days during the Convention, as well as in Halls 4.1, 5.1 and in the ICC. All the events will be listed in a printed programme which will be available at all the information counters on the Exhibition Grounds. All the events at the ITB Berlin Convention which deal with various aspects of climate change and sustainable tourism are marked with the CSR symbol in the convention programme.