G Adventures takes the lead on movement to reduce plastics

TORONTO — G Adventures is spearheading what it’s calling the ‘Plastics Partnerships Project’, in an effort to rally travel industry partners in the movement to reduce the use of single-use plastics in tourism.

By asking all suppliers for their support to provide alternative solutions, G Adventures says it hopes to provide clean drinking water for as many travellers on-tour as possible, so they can replace disposable plastic water bottles with reusable vessels.

The more companies come onboard with the project, the more powerful it will be, says G Adventures.

And the strategy is working. After approaching its entire hotel supply chain, 80% of G Adventures’ partner hotels have committed to providing clean drinking water for travellers by January 2020, which equates to up to 3.5 million bottles being saved annually by G Adventures’ 200,000 travellers.

G Adventures’ VP of Responsible Travel and Social Enterprise, Jamie Sweeting, says the company has been making a conscious effort over the past few years to reduce plastics across the business, but realized that to shift the dial further it needed to engage not only its staff, but also suppliers, agency partners, and ultimately its travellers.

“We’re starting in a manageable way, with a focus on reducing the use of single-use plastic water bottles,” says Sweeting. “We already take steps globally to reduce plastic in our offices and on our water-based tours, and we actively participate in beach clean-ups where we can. We know we can do more however, but we can’t do it alone.”

Sweeting added: “The Plastics Partnership Project is an invitation to work together to make small changes that can collectively make a big difference to our planet and its people. More than 350 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year and eight million of those end up in our oceans. Working collaboratively enables us to drive even more change in behaviour.”

Plastics-reduction initiatives that G Adventures already has in place include …

. The Ocean Health Fund – Started by G Adventures’ non-profit partner, Planeterra. A key focus of this fund is plastics reduction and G Adventures’ global marine team fundraises year-round to support ocean clean-up projects.

. Bathroom amenities onboard the G Expedition ship are provided in refillable containers to limit the use of small, single-use plastic containers, and no plastic straws are used.

. There is filtered water available onboard the G Expedition and on the Sri Lanka Sailing catamaran, with no bottled water supplied onboard.

. The G Expedition picks up drifting plastic and fishing lines whenever possible.

. Beach clean ups (for guests and staff) have been organized in Svalbard for the last four years, as well as in Thailand, Cuba and Sri Lanka.

In addition to the launch of the Plastics Partnership Project, G Adventures has partnered with industry travel experts, Travel Without Plastic, to develop tools and resources to help reduce single-use plastic throughout its operations. The small group tour operator is also a member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, which connects like-minded business looking to work together to reduce single-use plastics.

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