Towards a circular economy of plastics in tourism – the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative - Side event at G20 India
Find the agenda and programme here.
On the occasion of G20 Tourism Working Group’s meetings under India's Presidency, UNWTO and UNEP host the side event "Towards a circular economy of plastics in tourism – the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative", in association with the Ministry of Tourism of India.
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative provides a common vision for a circular economy of plastics in tourism. The side-event provided delegates and participants with practical guidance to address plastic pollution in tourism operations.
Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges of our time. Rising levels of plastics are accumulating in the environment, with the flow of plastic into the ocean projected to nearly triple by 2040. Mismanaged plastic waste alters habitats, harms wildlife, and can damage ecosystem function and services. Plastic pollution from tourism can easily end up in oceans and waterways. Much of the plastic used in the sector is made to be thrown away and often cannot be recycled and unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic drastically increased the use of single-use plastics. Plastic pollution also contributes to GHG emissions. Research shows that in 2015 greenhouse gas emissions from plastics were 1.7 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) and are projected to increase to approximately 6.5 GtCO2e by 2050, or 15 percent of the global carbon budget.
The shift to a circular economy of plastics is key for tourism destinations which rely on healthy environments to remain internationally competitive. Engaging with tourism stakeholders, including tourists, brings opportunities to export knowledge and best practices and scale-up
change. The One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme launched the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI) to unify the sector behind a common vision for a circular economy of plastics and to collaborate with tourism businesses and destinations to develop concrete solutions to tackle plastic pollution.
Participants included country representatives (India, Indonesia), accommodation (ITC Hotels, Leela Palaces Hotels & Resorts, The Indian Hotels Company Limited) and aviation (International Air Transport Association, IATA).
The Central Nodal Agency for Sustainable Tourism of India, a technical agency of the Ministry of Tourism, became a signatory of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, together with the Government of Punjab and the Responsible Tourism Society of India.
The discussions were in alignment with the Goa Roadmap for Tourism as a Vehicle for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As tourism bounces back close to pre-pandemic levels, it is essential to ensure that recovery is sustainable, inclusive and resilient.
Under the G20 Ministerial Declaration “Greening the tourism sector for a sustainable, responsible and resilient sector”, Global Tourism Plastics Initiative as well as the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism were recognized as voluntary global initiatives to accelerate the sustainable transformation of the tourism sector.