DELRAY BEACH, FLA.—In order to continue to ensure that the environment remains vibrant for generations to come, The Travel Corporation (TTC) announced for World Environment Day (June 5) that over the next five years it will phase out all single-use plastics from its extensive collection of award-winning travel and tourism companies.
Under the guidance of its not-for-profit TreadRight Foundation, TTC created a “Multi-Year Plastics Elimination Strategy” that kicks off with an immediate ban of more than 60 types of single-use plastic items such as straws, stir sticks, water bottles, plastic bags, and cutlery from TTC’s 40 global offices across its portfolio of brands.
The single-use plastic ban at TTC offices is the first step in the group’s journey toward complete elimination of single-use plastics across all operations, which will also include the phasing out of single-use plastics across its Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and U by Uniworld cruise ships, all Red Carnation Hotels, and all travel experiences. With 1.9 million travelers annually across the group, it is estimated that TTC’s efforts have the potential to help eliminate the use of millions of plastic water bottles annually.
Effort Began in Toronto
The group began working towards the elimination of avoidable plastic waste more than a year ago, when its Toronto, Canada office took the first important step of banning single-use plastics and replacing them with viable alternatives. That action was soon followed by Red Carnation and Uniworld, which soon eliminated the purchase of all plastic straws and related single-use plastic items from their 17 properties and 20 ships.
“We are absolutely committed to doing our part to eliminate avoidable plastic waste and making a positive impact in the communities that we live in and visit,” says Brett Tollman, Chief Executive, TTC and Co-founder of The TreadRight Foundation. “As a group with offices in more than 15 countries and operating in 70 countries around the world, we recognize the need to do our part to ensure that we do not further contribute to this planetary crisis. We are also encouraging our more than 10,000 team members to join us in this fight by reducing the use and consumption of products contained or served in plastic in their daily lives as well. We hope this sets a meaningful example to other businesses to join the movement in working to stop the scourge of plastics on a global scale.”
It is estimated that 8.8 million tons of plastic pour into our oceans every year, in addition to the more than five trillion pieces of plastic estimated to already be littering the oceans at this moment. The larger pieces of plastic injure, impair, and kill wildlife, while the disintegration of plastic debris and the manufacturing of microbeads are wholly poisoning marine ecosystems. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, if nothing is done to push back against the deluge of plastics currently overwhelming our oceans, there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish by the year 2050.
“Plastics are a clear and present danger to the future of our planet,” says Céline Cousteau, TreadRight ambassador. “TTC’s commitment to the elimination of single-use plastics across the group inspires hope in the face of a massive adversary and signals to the industry the important role travel and tourism organizations must play in combatting the problem of plastics.”
Measurement Efforts Began in 2013
The new plastics elimination initiative furthers TTC’s continuing sustainability journey, which includes the founding and support of The TreadRight Foundation, led by sustainability luminaries including Costas Christ and Céline Cousteau, and its 50-plus sustainability projects around the world. TTC’s commitment to measure and monitor its environmental impact began with the development and adoption of a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy in 2013. Since then, TTC employees have logged more than 20,000 volunteer hours on projects that include beach cleanups of plastic waste.
The company also invested heavily in and introduced an e-document system to replace paper forms in plastic packaging for guests, while committing to plant a tree for each guest that opts for e-documents. This is in addition to initiatives that improve the offices’ environmental commitment, including the use of smart technology such as geothermal energy systems, smart cooling for data centers, and numerous other efforts.
In 2017, TTC was a Diamond Sponsor of the UN International Year of Sustainable Development for Tourism in support of their Sustainable Development Goals. TreadRight’s award-winning sustainability efforts have included wildlife-friendly tourism initiatives, working tirelessly to stem wildlife crime, providing support for social enterprises in Peru, Canada, Italy, Laos, Greece and Jordan, and supporting cleanups from Auckland to Anaheim. TTC continues to be an engaged associate member of the UNWTO and an active member of WTTC so it can continue to learn and share best practices across the travel industry.