We are delighted that our Director of Sustainability, Jane Ashton, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Bedfordshire in the UK.
The graduation ceremony took place on Tuesday 24th July, where the university recognised Jane as one of the first mainstream ambassadors for sustainable tourism in the private sector. In the ceremonial speech, the University explained their decision to highlight Jane’s work to accelerate sustainable tourism:
“For the past 15 years, Jane has led the team that has accelerated the tourism company forward on sustainability to the sector leadership position with its ‘Better Holidays, Better World’ Sustainability Strategy for 2015-2020. Throughout her career Jane has worked tirelessly to engage and influence the industry to understand the importance of sustainability and the need for corporations to commit to working more responsibly. Under her stewardship sustainable tourism has become integral to TUI Group’s daily operations, strategy, product characteristics and risk management.“
The University also highlighted Jane’s achievements as Executive Board member for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and a member of the Advisory Committee to the UN One Planet Programme for Sustainable Tourism as well as establishing Travelife, one of the world’s leading sustainable hotel certifications. “Here at the University of Bedfordshire we enjoy a long tradition of excellence in tourism research as well as a long term commitment to promoting sustainability to our current and future graduates, our staff and our local community. We therefore feel it is particularly fitting for us to recognise Jane’s magnificent achievements and efforts in this special way“, the University added.
In her acceptance speech, Jane thanked colleagues across TUI for their support and dedication to sustainability: “I first discussed proposals for more sustainable business with Senior Management at a time, when it was still a very new concept for the UK travel industry and many other business sectors. So I’d like to also pay tribute for this award to the Directors and many other colleagues at TUI, back then and along the years, who trusted that sustainable development and business success were not mutually exclusive, and agreed to invest time, effort and money into sustainability – recognising that it’s in the business’s interest to do so, because tourism can only ever thrive if it is operating amongst unspoilt environments and welcoming communities.“