Dr Megan Morikawa (left) at Iberostar's first coral nursery. A second nursery is due to open this year.

Science and storytelling: How Iberostar is engaging staff and guests with ocean issues beyond plastics

In the wake of 'Blue Planet 2', hospitality and leisure companies found themselves at the sharp end of the so-called war on plastics. But now that the sector's plastic phase-out is underway, how can it use its many touch-points to drive engagement across a broader range of environmental issues?

That is what edie asked Iberostar’s sustainability director Dr Megan Morikawa shortly after the launch of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative. Co-founded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Tourism Organisation and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Initiative aims to join up plastics pledges and actions across the tourism sector over the next five years.  

Iberostar has signed onto the Initiative along with the likes of Accor, TUI and Radisson Hotel Group but, unlike many of the signatories, already had time-bound numerical targets around reducing plastics in its own operations. Specifically, the hotelier is aiming to eliminate all single-use plastics from its hotels by the end of 2020. To date, 500 tonnes of plastic waste has been mitigated by the hotelier, mainly through switching products offered in guests rooms. Plastics in common areas and across the supply chain have proven slower to change, Morikawa explained.

For Morikawa, it’s crucial that the plastics target exists not in isolation, but as part of Iberostar’s wider ocean conservation and restoration initiative, Wave of Change. The three-pronged initiative also sets Iberostar a 2025 deadline to achieve 100% responsibly sourced seafood and a 2030 ambition to improve ecosystem health surrounding all properties – the majority of which are coastal.

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