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

TUI Group is the world’s leading integrated tourism group operating in more than 100 destinations worldwide. The company is headquartered in Germany. The TUI Group’s share is listed in the FTSE 250 index and in the German open market.

In financial year 2019, TUI Group recorded turnover of around €19bn and an operating result of €893m. The Group employs more than 70,000 people worldwide. TUI offers its 28 million customers, including 21 million customers in European national companies, integrated services from a single source. It covers the entire tourism value chain under one roof. This comprises more than 400 hotels and resorts with premium brands such as RIU, TUI Blue and Robinson as well as 18 cruise ships ranging from the MS Europa and MS Europa 2 luxury class vessels and expedition ships to the Mein Schiff fleet of TUI Cruises and the vessels of Marella Cruises in the UK. The Group also includes leading European tour operator brands, five airlines with 150 modern medium- and long-haul aircraft and 1,600 travel agencies. Apart from the expansion of its core business with hotels, cruises and destination activities, TUI is increasingly investing in digital platforms. The Group is transforming as a digital company.

Global responsibility for sustainable economic, ecological and social activity is a key feature of our corporate culture. TUI Care Foundation, initiated by TUI, promotes the positive effects of tourism, education and training as well as environmental and social standards with projects in 25 countries. It thus contributes to the development of the holiday destinations. TUI Care Foundation, operating around the world, initiates projects creating new opportunities for the next generation.