In January 2020, Iberostar Group presented its “2030 Agenda” to eliminate waste, source responsible seafood, neutralize carbon emissions and improve the health of the ecosystems surrounding its hotels, among other objectives. As part of this commitment, the company has now specified its carbon emissions roadmap, which will offset emissions by implementing nature-based solutions at its destinations.
According to Iberostar, a responsible tourism model must lead the way and help companies in the sector build back better after the pandemic by facing three challenges: Adopting a long-term vision, aligning its objectives with science and considering any impact of a company on the environment.
As tourist destinations are experiencing the double impacts of climate change and a global pandemic, Iberostar is fast-tracking solutions to build a responsible tourism model with science and the protection of nature at the core of its strategy. With 80 percent of its hotels being seafront, the company’s goal is to offset a minimum equivalent to 75 percent of its emissions through blue carbon solutions. This is the first major step in its strategy towards a circular economy. The roadmap indicates that Iberostar could protect approximately 138,400 acres of mangroves or other forests in tropical coastal areas by planting or restoring 560,000 mangroves or 2,240,000 land plants, capable of actively sequestering that amount of carbon dioxide.
Iberostar recognizes the potential that marine and coastal ecosystems have as a solution to climate change and proposed the incorporation of four general objectives to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality in 2030:
- Implement programs for the protection and restoration of ecosystems, offsetting at least 75 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted by Iberostar’s global operations by 2030
- Use “nature’s own blue carbon storage” as an additional source to process excess nutrients after wastewater treatment in all properties where the company has its own facilities for this
- Curate destinations where the Group operates by adding at least 25 percent more green space (vegetation) near selected Iberostar hotels, with the intention of protecting natural spaces
- Build strong outreach activity for Iberostar Group customers, employees and partners to experience the company’s commitment to coastal health through the Wave of Change movement
First Actions to Minimize CO2 Emissions
Iberostar Group has formalized the beginning of its process to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by organizing a mangrove planting event in the Paraíso resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Employees reforested 70 gray mangroves (button mangroves) and conditioned an area recently devastated by natural phenomena.
Along these lines, Iberostar began in 2019 an ambitious mangrove restoration project at its Bávaro resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, where the company is recovering a large area of wetlands. The project encompasses a total restoration area of nine acres and aims to reforest the area with red mangrove and gray mangrove (or button mangrove). Currently, just under three acres have already been restored with a total of 1,555 mangroves planted.