The sustainable commitment of the tourism sector with the Glasgow Declaration at COP26

3 min reading time

Published on 09/11/21 - Updated on 17/03/22

déclaration Glasgow COP26

On the occasion of the COP26 held this year in Glasgow, Scotland, the major players in the tourism industry have made their voices heard and committed themselves to a more sustainable tourism.

This commitment to a more sustainable tourism sector is reflected in the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, presented at this major international event, COP26, by UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili.

This text is based on two strong commitments, which are the reduction of emissions by half by 2030 and the prospect of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. According to Zurab Pololikashvili, this declaration "is an instrument to ensure that good intentions are translated into effective climate action. Thus, the 300 or so signatories of the declaration are obliged to "present a concrete climate action plan, or an updated plan, within 12 months of signing".

Among the 300 signatories are big names in the tourism industry, destinations and associations :

  • Accor 
  • World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) 
  • Iberostar Group
  • Panama
  • Netherlands Board of Tourism & Convetions 
  • VisitScotland
  • Pacific Tourism Organization
  • AITO
  • ETOA

The Glasgow Declaration is a collaborative effort between UNWTO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Visit Scotland, the Travel Foundation and Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency. The project is part of the One Planet Network's sustainable tourism programme, which aims to accelerate sustainable consumption and production patterns. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the largest companies in the sector, wanted to contribute to this initiative. 

The WTTC is pleased to support and join in the launch of the Glasgow Declaration, bringing its voice, that of the global private sector, to this important collective call to raise ambition levels in the travel and tourism sector. The Glasgow Declaration is truly an opportunity for the travel and tourism sector to join forces and spearhead action to reduce emissions to zero.

Julia Simpson, Chairman and CEO of WTTC

Nevertheless, tourism stakeholders have not waited for this declaration to take action for a more sustainable future. Viparis and GL events, two major stakeholders in the events industry, have joined forces to implement a joint low-carbon approach. Both are well aware of the environmental impact of setting up an event and in particular of the problem of transporting equipment to the site.

Viparis has therefore decided to rent 8,000 m² of Hall 8 at its Paris Nord Villepinte site to GL events to enable them to store the equipment needed to set up the stands at Première Vision Paris. Even though Première Vision equips its exhibition spaces with 100% modular materials that can be reused from one edition to the next, transporting them from the Paris region required nearly 500 truck rotations per edition. The provision of these storage facilities will thus make it possible to avoid CO2 emissions linked to transport, with a total saving of 82 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Storing part of the materials needed for the next editions of Première Vision Paris is excellent news for the environment ! Limiting freight is the link that our industry has been missing to ensure services with a reduced carbon impact. This is the first step in an approach that we hope to perpetuate and extend to other assets.

Olivier Ferraton, COO of GL events

Both entities have already been committed to a sustainable approach for many years. The GL Events Group has been implementing a comprehensive corporate social responsibility approach for over 10 years. It is also developing its expertise in the circular economy, reconditioning and reuse of assets to ensure that its customers receive services with a reduced environmental impact. The recycling of non-reusable materials is at the heart of GL Events' efforts at the event sites it manages.

As for Viparis, with its CSR strategy called Better Events 2030, the group is deploying actions at all of its sites aimed at reducing its impact and offering venues and services for responsible events that create value. The ambition is to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% for all its assets and 33% for freight by 2030. In order to operate its sites in a sustainable manner, Viparis is focusing on optimising energy and resource consumption through the implementation of actions that promote mobility, by strengthening sorting and the fight against food waste, and by developing committed partnerships with its service providers.

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