Gloria Fluxà Thienemann is the vice-chairman and chief sustainability officer at Iberostar Group, which aims to be carbon neutral by 2030. The company, which owns more than 100 hotels in 18 countries, also prioritizes ocean health and waste reduction. In the first half of this year it cut food waste by 28%, representing more than 1,200 tons of carbon emissions. Iberostar Group is also partnering on coral reef research with Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, to boost ecosystem resilience.
What sustainability effort do you hope will gain popularity with the general public this year, and why?
As leaders in responsible tourism, it’s our duty to inspire and enable people with our actions. Travelers hold significant power in their hands—their choices can make a positive contribution and generate the systemic change that the travel and tourism sector requires. Our industry must embrace responsible business models at its core and, in turn, travelers will recognize those genuinely making a change. I consider it our duty to guide the empowerment of tourists and travelers to be part of the solution while crafting unforgettable experiences. I look forward to seeing greater adoption of conscientious travel choices as people become increasingly aware of the power we hold, together, to make a real difference.
Where should climate activism go in the next year?
The definition of activism must evolve. Activism should represent the pursuit of concrete and impactful change, building value while maintaining economic viability. It’s about being driven by a genuine passion to make a difference, devoid of hidden agendas, and using science and data as our guiding stars. Let’s remember that effective activism isn’t just about shouting from the heart; it’s built on partnership, and a sustainable, profitable perspective, among other key elements. By applying a holistic, forward-looking approach and working together with all stakeholders, we present a united effort to tackle climate change. We need to embark on this journey together—positively—and inspired by a unified purpose.
What is a climate technology that isn’t getting the attention or funding it deserves?
Nature is the key to addressing numerous challenges and finding climate solutions. I strongly advocate for a shift in focus towards channeling increased investments directly into nature itself. It serves as a foundational resource, especially within our industry: providing nature-based solutions for us to utilize, fostering vital biodiversity, which we depend on, and offering essential ecosystem services that sustain our well-being and long-term future. In the long run, through observation and research, nature holds the promise of unlocking the solutions and technology requirements needed to succeed in this climate race.
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