June 8, 2021
The oceans generate most of the oxygen we breathe, feed us and regulate our climate. The value of oceans can hardly be overestimated, and certainly are one of the biggest assets to the tourism industry. Preserving something that is literally twice the size of the earth’s landmass and so crucial to our way of life is challenging, but efforts from the tourism sector should be expected.
The list of (depressing) facts of what currently puts our Oceans at peril is long, and therefore the question “What can we do?” often seems overwhelming. So how about simply making sure we do our best? There are many elements which make up the solution – start with something that best fits your situation and then build on from there.
It is important to acknowledge that not only coastal tourism organisations play a role. In fact, at Considerate, every client sustainability strategy will include actions that help protect the oceans. This can include the food served in restaurants and canteens, what and where things are purchased, plastic use and other polluting products, and raising awareness amongst staff, guests, and the local community.
Food is a topic which connects people. The food we get from our oceans received staggering attention recently through the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy. This may raise questions such as: How much fish do we want to offer in our restaurant and canteen? Where does the fish come from? (Are there more local options that could be offered?) Do we know or have some evidence that the fisheries are operated sustainably?
Plastics is another of the “hot topics” when talking about oceans which no responsible hotelier can ignore. Just a few weeks ago, a ground-breaking report was published which seems to bring us one step closer to the solution. The report, with a direct foreword by Al Gore, revealed that only 20 polymer producing companies create 55% of all global single-use plastic waste. For the first time, a tangible list was published with the names of the production companies and global investors which have failed in making large efforts in moving away from virgin, fossil-fuel-based feedstocks for plastics.
Yet, while this points at one end of the supply chain, each consumer also has a role to play – in considering what you buy and where it will end up. Most plastic waste in the oceans comes from rivers – so we need to play our role even when far from the coast.
On a more personal note, when talking about ocean plastics, most of us will have our own experiences which bring us closer to the issue, and which makes this an easily relatable topic for hotel guests. My own unforgettable moment was when during a research project I found land-crabs amongst plastic samples which were taken from the middle of the Pacific Ocean – they were living on the floating plastic as if it was an island…
If your hotel or tourist organisation is located by the coast, there are many direct actions you can take to help preserve the oceans and their ecosystems. Here is a snapshot of some of our clients activities: only selling non-polluting sunscreen that doesn’t harm aquatic life, supporting or developing their own coral restoration project, raising awareness through various activities like clean-ups with their staff, supporting mangrove forests and finally, working with local conservation organisations. One of our client hotels won an award for its 5-year long collaboration with a neighbouring conservation organisation for sea turtles in the Mediterranean Sea.
Get in touch with Considerate Group if we can help you reduce your impact.