There is an equivalent of more than five plastic grocery bags full of plastic for every foot of coastline in the world, threatening the ocean and all it provides.
Iberostar has committed to eliminate all single-use plastics in its global operations by 2020.
Through unique experiences, it’s enticing guests to join its #WaveofChange movement to help nourish the ocean, the communities that depend on it, and themselves.
About 8 million metric tons of plastic winds up in the ocean every year. Some of it even ends up in our bodies: The average person ingests about 5 grams of microplastics per week, the equivalent of a credit card.
On September 27, Iberostar celebrates World Tourism Day and its goal of building a better future for everyone by inviting guests to take a vacation from plastics. Eliminating plastic waste is part of Iberostar’s #WaveOfChange movement, its commitment to help protect and nurture the ocean and the surrounding communities and help guests and their families take better care of themselves. Through #WaveOfChange, Iberostar is striving to elevate its guests experiences while helping create a circular economy within the tourism industry, one that aims to reuse and recycle materials such as plastics and prevent their release into the environment.
More travelers are seeking these responsible tourism options. According to Ibetostar’s own survey, 85% of guests said they valued the changes Iberostar has made to remove plastics, and 68% said they consider sustainability when choosing a hotel.
Iberostar officially began its program to reduce plastic use in 2017. It has eliminated about 300 metric tons of plastic waste a year only in Spain ever since. By the end of 2019, all of Iberostar’s 120 hotels globally will have rooms that are free of single-use plastics. (In Spain, entire hotels will be single-use plastic free this year.) By 2020, Iberostar is doing away with single-use plastics altogether (except where laws require it) in its entire global operations. Already, changes have included:
Adding multi-use recyclables to remove 2,700 kg of plastic a year
Switching to plant-based bags for room trash cans and for exterior, kitchen, and other bins to remove 134,619 kg of plastics a year
Swapping pens for pencils in rooms to save 3,240 kg a year
Switching to environmentally conscious laundry bags to save 3,000 kg of plastic a year
Replacing plastic minibar products (and encouraging suppliers to move away from plastics) to save 900 kg of plastics a year
Using plant-based bags for shoes to save 420 kg of plastics a year.
Creating ecological guest ID wristbands to save 1,226 kg of plastics a year.
Installing water refilling stations around its hotels to save 85,000 bottles a year.
“Interestingly, guests don’t often miss plastics when we remove them from their experience,” says Dr. Megan Morikawa, a marine biologist and Global Sustainability Officer, Iberostar Group. “And once they’ve stayed with us, they can’t help but notice opportunities to get rid of plastic waste that go unrecognized at other hotels or even in their own day-to-day lives. It opens them up to making changes that last beyond their vacation.”
While embracing other hotels and tourism businesses that have recently announced efforts to curb their plastic use, Iberostar believes that responsible tourism and a circular economy must go beyond plastics and involve all parts of the experience for guests and their families.
To invite guests to be part of the #WaveofChange movement during their stay, Iberostar has installed water refilling stations at some of its hotels in Majorca and the Dominican Republic. The project will prevent the use of 85,000 plastic water bottles per year in both destinations. The initiative will expand to all of the brand’s properties around the globe to fulfill the goal to be single-use plastics free, in all hotel areas, by the end of 2020.
In addition to its Honest Food commitment, Iberostar has created a model for transitioning to responsibly-sourced seafood at its restaurants while relying on gastronomic excellence to revolutionize the path towards responsible consumption. It involves not only purchasing but creating client awareness and supporting local fisheries in their journey toward sustainable operations.
To foster coastal health, Dr. Morikawa and her team and partners from Stanford University and UC Santa Barbara have developed an ambitious project to research and restore coral reefs, including the opening of Iberostar’s first of several planned coral reef labs at Iberostar’s Bavaro Complex in the Dominican Republic, where Iberostar has also hired local fisherman to act as full-time coral gardners.
Iberostar partners in all of these efforts with established and accredited organizations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, sustainable waste management company Tirme in Mallorca, and the European Strategy for Plastics in its circular economy efforts; with the Marine Stewardship Council, FishWise, and the WWF in its responsible seafood commitment; and with University of the Balearic Islands, Fundemar and others coastal health and reef protection. Iberostar shares its #WaveOfChange efforts with communities through programs, such as “A coral is an animal,” which Iberostar leverages to provide educational sessions to families of the brand’s employees and their communities to raise awareness about the coastal ecosystems where Iberostar operates, and with its youngest guests through its Star Camp for kids.
Iberostar Group is a 100% family-owned Spanish multinational company with more than 60 years history. Hospitality is the company’s core business, with a portfolio of more than 120 four- and five-star hotels located in 19 countries worldwide and a workforce of more than 32,000 employees. We based our quality on innovation and refurbishment of our product, through new concepts that promote an authentic wellbeing culture and propose a healthy gastronomy that bet local product.
Iberostar Group leads with purpose in its pursuit to set the standard for responsible tourism. Its commitment to preserving the environment and protecting the oceans surrounding its properties is consolidated through Wave of Change, Iberostar’s pioneering initiative to move beyond plastics, promote the responsible consumption of seafood and improve coastal health.
For more information, visit www.WaveofChange.com