Skip to main content

Guest blog: Impact-Travel: A Sustainability Template

Geoffrey Lipman: SUNx Co-founder /President of ICTP

It feels good to be back in Manilla for more fun in the Philippines. Not the usual description of a UN Statistics Conference.
Even worse, I want to make two what I suspect are contrarian points about the proposed declaration. And then offer a suggestion to strengthen it.
First. The past is prologue. As a sector, we are not going far enough fast enough. This declaration needs to be half as wordy: twice as much implementation: four times as fast. And some real multi-stakeholder checks on delivery
Why? Because the scale and speed of change and connectivity is accelerating and if we don’t move at the same pace the decisions will be made outside our sector. By environmental and finance institutions; by business coalitions: by local authorities: by States and regions and by very smart cities.
This is not business as usual. Climate change is existential. Repeat existential.
Second, we need to expand our vision of measurement of sustainable tourism. We are moving into a new age of SDG and Paris targets
Linked Environment and Tourism Satellite Accounts are a good step. But it’s a first step that should have been taken more than a decade ago – when some of us were actively calling for it.
I repeat we need to cover the green part of the equation much faster.
And it needs to have more emphasis on measuring climate resilience. If we don’t fix Climate Change: it will fix us.
How to do this will take as much of a paradigm shift in the use of statistics as in security, product or technology adoption.
We have to cut through the admirable but dangerous, shifting clutter of 17 SDG’s, 169 Targets and 304 indicators with hundreds of national and supra-national groups with their version of the transformation roadmap for the future of everything.
And more so as the real consequences of tourism - good and bad - are ultimately felt at the local level. The money, the jobs, the infrastructure as well as the strain on resources and cultural integrity.
The global figures are great for policy declarations and lobbying and rich companies and consultancies. Implementation is almost always local and SME focused.
We have to act from the bottom up simultaneously with the top down.
We need deadlines for change and we need to engage all key stakeholders in the process by 2020..
Clearly we need to move in the directions set out in the resolution – recognizing, observing, linking, intensifying and expanding collaboratively.
What I believe is missing is a template for a multiyear refocused directional shift that could be useful to countries, communities, companies and consumers Points that anyone, anywhere can easily check seeking sustainability in Tourism and Travel activities.
Our idea at SUNx for such a template is called Impact-Travel. It has three such points of focus.

  1. Are the Impacts measured and managed coherently: the good and the bad ones?
  2. Does it have Green Growth at the core: low carbon, Inclusionary, hyper-connected, bio-diversity sensitive & resource efficient?
  3. Is it Future focused – reflecting Paris 2050 targets, the SDGs, and the World Economic Forum’s Fourth Industrial Revolution – the best tracker of new directions we have found?

Simple questions that give a clear sense of direction for providers and consumers alike. As to where we have to go NOW, to be where we have to be in 2050
As Dr Johnson said “Nothing so concentrates the mind, as the prospect of being hanged in the morning.” And make no mistake existential means being hanged in the morning.


Popular posts from this blog

Guest Blog Mike Barry: 5 things we learnt on Marks and Spencer Plan A journey over last 12 months

Guest Blog by Mike Barry:  Director of Sustainable Business (Plan A) at Marks and Spencer

It’s that time of year, publication of our annual sustainability (Plan A) report. After the harum scarum dash to gather, collate, assure, sign-off and publish a wealth of data we can breathe (for a moment!) and reflect on what it all means.
Here are some quick insights into what we’ve learnt at M&S in the last 12 months on our Plan A journey.
1. Succession – Nine years is a long time in the world of sustainable business. How many corporate plans have come and gone since we launched Plan A in 2007? Too many! The continuity offered by having a single multi-year plan has been incredibly important. It’s allowed us to take long term decisions in a very short term turbulent retail marketplace. It’s allowed us to build the skills and capabilities in our business units to integrate Plan A into their ways of working. It’s allowed us to pick our battles, knowing that occasionally we’ve just got to let a …

Bokova out? Georgieva in for next UN Secretary General

The rumors that have been circulating for the last month have now proven to be true. The Bulgarian government has withdrawn support from Irina Bokova as their candidate for UN Secretary General and replaced her with Kristalina Georgieva, the European commissioner for budget and human resources.
There is some evidence that the right of center parties in European capitals have been behind this with some articles appearing in the last few weeks against Bokova. The Guardian reported on the 26th: “one of her (Kristalina’s) staff members was hacked and emails purporting to be from one of her top aides were sent out to the rest of her office, instructing them to attack Bokova”There is no question that Kristalina has the cv and record to be a very good UN Secretary General. She is a strong supporter of sustainable development issues she will pick up the SDGs and climate agendas with ease. She is dynamic and very personable and was very active around last week’s UN General Assembly High Level se…

Rest in Peace Tania Valerie Raguz 'one of our own'

Photo by IISD/ENB 
It is with deep sadness that I heard of the passing of Tania Valerie Raguz.

Many of us will have worked with her at United Nations meetings over the past ten years when she was the First Secretary of the Mission of Croatia to the UN.

Tania Valerie Raguz was on the Bureau for Rio+20 and a Vice-Chair Of the Bureau of the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and  most recently she had joined the world of NGOs working as the Public Affairs Advisor for the World Animal Protection previously know as World Society for the Protection of Animals. WAP had been very active around Rio+20 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and she helped their work particularly around the SDGs.

Tania played her role in helping to frame the agenda that we are all committed to delivering on. CSD17 was one of the more successful CSD and without Rio+20 there would be no Sustainable Development Goals.

Photo by IISD/ENB I will miss her positive energy, laught…