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With sustainable supply chain management, tourism businesses help to make the whole sector more sustainable by motivating suppliers and buyers, who jointly make up the supply chain, to implement corporate social responsibility in their organisations. The essence of sustainable supply chain management the is to influence regular business contracting processes to take account of sustainability through three important steps: establishing a sustainable supply chain policy and management system; supporting suppliers in reaching sustainability goals; and integrating sustainability criteria into suppliers’ contracts.
Tour operators are particularly influential as they are at the heart of the tourism supply chain which runs from the consumer via travel agents, tour operators, and local agents to the eventual product: accommodations, attractions and transport.
Adequately implemented sustainable supply chain management is one of the best ways to green an entire industry. Rather that relying on businesses to adopt CSR because it is fashionable or socially accepted as the ‘right’ thing to do, it is based on real market-driven requirements that entrepreneurs use in decision making.
An example of sustainable supply chain management is the Travelife initiative. Participating tour operators (currently all major tour operators from the UK, The Netherlands and Germany such as TUI, Thomas Cook, Virgin, KUONI) are implementing the Travelife Management System, which includes the engagement and motivation of their suppliers (accommodations, destination management companies, transport and activity providers) to adopt sustainable tourism best practices.
A key feature of this approach is an efficient methodology of communicating with suppliers. Tour operators upload their suppliers in a central database, which will automatically, and on behalf of the relevant tour operators, start communicating with accommodations about CSR related demands of their business partners.
As a result, important achievements have been made. For example, contracts between participating tour operators and accommodation providers now include clauses that prohibit child abuse and child labour and require business partners to report any incidents to local authorities. The first tour operators have actually started to include entire sustainability certification in their contracts as prerequisite to engage in business with them.
Although the implementation of sustainable supply chain management is essentially an action that involves the private sector, it won’t materialise unless stakeholders cooperate and the sector jointly commits to requiring sustainable practices from their business partners. Such joint commitment often requires help and support from additional stakeholder groups, who are interested in being involved and lending their support.
Successful supply chain initiatives are helped by support from government bodies and agencies, not only in financial terms, but also in order to provide a supportive context, official recognition and encouragement to these initiatives.
NGOs are of vital importance as ‘facilitators’ of sustainable supply chain management. They can help the tourism industry to select and assess sustainable business partners by developing and establishing sustainability standards for different tourism related activities, assessing performance of actors in the industry, providing marketing platforms and facilitating business to business match making.
Research institutes and consultancy firms are often involved in sustainable supply chain management by contributing to development and validation of the standards and by monitoring and analysing the nature and progress of sustainable supply chain management in the tourism sector.
Destinations often control the external factors that enable local businesses in the supply chain to meet sustainability criteria, such as through providing adequate local infrastructure for water and waste management. They can also assist with providing information and linkages between businesses.
Private sector businesses, including tour operators and service providers, lie at the heart of sustainable supply chain management. A joint approach is vital – both horizontally (collaboration between operators) and vertically (between operators and suppliers), sharing experience of the challenges of integrating sustainability into supplier selection and contracting.
Supply chain management means that travellers can be clear not only about the sustainable performance of tour operators but also their suppliers. Travellers should play their part in observing, supporting, and providing feedback on the various providers of the products and services they encounter.
Who is who brings you to stakeholders who are working for making tourism more sustainable. You can filter them on the DestiNet Atlas for your topic of interest, keywords, type of organisation, country, operational level and landscape type. You can display an organisation on the global DestiNet Atlas and ask for editing rights if your organisation should already be listed. Examples:
Resources include publications and tools who can help you in making tourism more sustainable. You can filter them for your topic of interest, keywords, landscape type, country - or target group. You can disseminate your sustainable tourism publications or tools and ask for editing rights if they should already be listed. Examples:
Good Practices present tourism businesses, tour operators, destinations and initiatives who have been finalist or winner of an award or prize for sustainable tourism. You can search in the "Atlas of Excellence" for your topic of interest, keywords, landscape type, country, a.o. If you have been finalist or winner of an award you can ask for being presented on the "Atlas of Excellence" and ask for editing rights if you should already be listed. Examples:
The global sustainable tourism Market Place presents accommodation providers and restaurants, attractions and activities, travel packages, destinations, tour operators and intermediaries who have been certified by a sustainable tourism certification programme. You can filter them on the DestiNet Atlas for their certificate/s, keywords, topics, landscape types, country, a.o. The Market Solutions lead you to more than 100 certification programmes and other services helping you in making your tourism products and services more sustainable. You can place your product or service on the global sustainable tourism Market Place and ask for editing rights should your service already be listed.
Under each Topic you can join or start an own user group for exchange and networking e.g. with the members of your organisation, your network or project group. For further information please contact the topic folder administration.
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