Hotel managers from Mauritius and Saint Lucia have been sharing their experiences and the challenges involved in sustainability this month in our ‘Hotels taking action’ webinars. The webinars are part of an ambitious project from UN Environment, aiming to reduce carbon emissions and improve resource efficiency in tourism businesses, that we are delivering in these two countries. The project, called ‘Transforming tourism value chains’ is focused on small island developing states, where tourism is vitally important to the economy, but which are likely to be among the first to suffer when it comes to environmental impacts. Without introducing greener practices, by 2050 tourism’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are set to double, with even greater increases in water use and waste disposal. So there is a real need in these countries to enable tourism businesses to reduce their impact on the environment to ensure the suitability of the sector and their national economies.
Earlier this year, we launched action plans for each destination that set out two programmes of activities around reducing energy consumption and waste generation which were identified as the main environmental hotspots. The action plans include recommendations for government and public bodies; such as policy formulation, incentives and infrastructure changes; as well as recommendations for hotels and their suppliers to improve energy efficiency, reduce fossil fuel consumption and for sustainable procurement. The plan emphasises the importance of collaboration between and within the public and private sectors. We have also run training workshops for accommodation providers, giving expert advice on sustainable energy and waste reduction, covering how to engage staff in sustainability, communicate with customers about sustainability and monitor progress.