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Leveraging sustainable procurement practices to transform tourism: workshop

45 corporate procurement professionals gathered in Paris to discuss how best to leverage procurement practices in order to reduce GHG emissions and improve resource efficiency in the tourism sector.
©UN Environment

The interactive workshop “Leveraging sustainable procurement practices to transform tourism value chains” took place in the UN Environment office in Paris on 30th October. It aimed to engage a dialogue with purchasing and sustainability professionals from the tourism industry on how to leverage sustainable procurement to reduce GHG emissions and improve resource efficiency. Throughout the day, procurement practitioners from all regions exchanged on their purchasing practices, shared lessons learned, and discussed how best to address common challenges and issues.

The event was organized within the framework of the UN Environment-led project “Transforming tourism value chains in developing countries and Small Island Developing States to accelerate more resource efficient, low carbon development”, funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, and the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme, with the financial support of the French Government.

The role of sustainable procurement

Sustainable procurement can play a leading role in helping to better manage resources and improving resource efficiency throughout the tourism value chain. By buying more sustainable products and services, corporate buyers can convey a strong market signal and help scale the market for these products and services; and hence drive markets towards more sustainability.

The workshop

Discussions focused on four action areas, i.e. procurement of food, refrigeration and cooling equipment, the reduction of single-use plastics and circular procurement practices. Following expert interventions and case studies presentations, participants discussed in smaller groups their procurement practices in these four areas, highlighting their successes and encountered challenges. The groups brainstormed on initiatives and innovative solutions to advance the adoption of sustainable procurement practices.

©UN Environment

Going forward          

The following recommendations emerged from the workshop discussions as being the most impactful actions to further embed sustainable procurement in the tourism industry:

  1. Education and raising awareness among stakeholders on the potential impacts of sustainable procurement is critical to embark all relevant stakeholders. Knowledge sharing initiatives shall not only address governments, corporate buyers and suppliers but also the guests – in order to engage them in more sustainable behaviours;
  2. Engaging suppliers at an early stage, and other value chain actors is key to identify innovative solutions and business models and stimulate the market to offer more sustainable products and services;
  3. Measuring and reporting on the benefits and impacts of sustainable procurement will enable all value chain actors understand how such practices can benefit businesses throughout the value chain;
  4. The role of certifications and consumer information tools was highlighted, as they streamline available information, guide consumers and procurers to make better choices and acknowledge progress made in offering more sustainable options.

 ©UN Environment

The workshop served as a springboard to create of a community of practice of procurement professionals in the tourism industry and offer an exchange platform for the practitioners to share lessons learned and solutions to further advance the uptake of sustainable procurement – and accelerate the shift towards a more resilient, resource efficient development of the tourism sector.



Associate Programme Management Officer
Consumption and Production Unit - Resources and Markets Branch
UN Environment
Programme Officer
Consumption and Production Unit  - Resources and Markets Branch
UN Environment


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