Hanover, 24 February 2020

Eliminate, innovate, circulate: TUI Group joins Global Tourism Plastics Initiative

  • Initiative led by United Nations Environment Programme, World Tourism Organisation, in collaboration with Ellen MacArthur Foundation
  • TUI aims to remove 250 million pieces of singleuse plastics by the end of 2020

TUI Group is part of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, which strives to tackle plastic pollution. The initiative unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution. It enables businesses and governments to take concerted action, leading by example in the shift towards a circularity in the use of plastics. It aims to stop plastic ending up as pollution while also reducing the amount of new plastic that needs to be produced. To realise this vision, tourism companies and destinations commit to eliminate the plastic items they don’t need; innovate so all plastics they do need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything they use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment.

As part of its contribution to the global drive to reduce plastic waste, TUI aims to remove 250 million pieces of single-use plastics by the end of 2020 through concerted efforts across its hotels, cruise ships, airlines, destinations and offices. Initiatives include removing 112 million single-use plastic items from hotels, launching ‘plastic reduction guidelines’ for hotels and TUI Cruise’s ambitious wasteless plastic reduction programme. TUI’s independent charitable foundation, TUI Care Foundation, is also working on numerous projects to address the challenge of plastic waste for the marine environment.

“Plastic pollution negatively impacts travel and tourism, particularly near the beaches and oceans so important to destinations. TUI is delighted to be a founding partner of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, recognising the industry’s role to drive change. The sector can make a real difference by working together and sharing best practice. The people and the environment of destinations will benefit from these efforts. TUI is well positioned to continue its leading role in sustainable tourism. We aim to make our holiday offers more sustainable along the entire travel value chain. This will also be an important component of the Group-wide sustainability strategy 2020-2030,“ says Thomas Ellerbeck, Member of the TUI Group Executive Committee and responsible for sustainability.

As a member of the Advisory Committee for the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, TUI is contributing to the co-creation of the initiative, developing a menu of commitments that outlines the expected contributions from the private sector, destinations, associations, and NGO’s in the sector to define concrete roadmaps for implementation of the Initiative by 2025.

Developed by the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the One Planet network, a multi-stakeholder partnership to implement SDG 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organisation, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative acts as the tourism sector interface of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which unites more than 450 businesses, governments, and other organisations behind a common vision and targets to address plastic waste and pollution at its source. As such, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative will implement the New Plastics Economy vision, framework and definitions to mobilise the global tourism industry towards concerted significant action against plastic pollution.

“Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges of our time, and tourism has an important role to play in contributingto the solution,” said UN Environment Programme Economy Division Director, Ligia Noronha. “Through the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, tourism companies and destinations are supported to innovate, eliminate and circulate the way they use plastics, to help achieve circularity in the use of plastics and reduce plastics pollution globally.”

By transitioning to circularity in the use of plastics, the tourism sector can make positive contributions like reducing landfill, pollution, natural resource depletion and greenhouse gas emissions; raising awareness of conservation among staff and guests to avoid single-use plastic products; influencing their suppliers to produce more sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic products; working with governments to improve local waste infrastructure and community facilities; and creating sustainable livelihoods and long-term community prosperity in harmony with nature.

About TUI Group

The TUI Group is the world's leading tourism group and operates worldwide. The Group is headquartered in Germany. The TUI share is listed on the FTSE 250, the leading index of the London Stock Exchange, and on the Regulated Unofficial Market in Germany.

The TUI Group offers integrated services from a single source for its 28 million customers, 21 million of whom are in the European national companies. The entire tourism value chain is represented under one roof. This includes over 400 hotels and resorts with premium brands such as RIU, TUI Blue and Robinson and 15 cruise ships, from the MS Europa and MS Europa 2 in the luxury class and expedition ships to the Mein Schiff fleet of TUI Cruises and cruise ships at Marella Cruises in England. The Group also includes Europe's leading tour operator brands and online marketing platforms, five airlines with more than 100 modern medium and long-haul aircraft and over 1,000 travel agencies. Besides the expansion of its core business with hotels, cruises via successful joint ventures and activities in holiday destinations, TUI is increasingly focusing on the expansion of digital platforms. The Group is transforming itself into a digital company.

Global responsibility for sustainable economic, ecological and social action is at the core of our corporate culture. With projects in 25 countries, the TUI Care Foundation initiated by TUI focuses on the positive effects of tourism, education and training and the strengthening of environmental and social standards. It thus supports the development of holiday destinations. The globally active TUI Care Foundation initiates projects that create new opportunities for the next generation.