The world is changing. Fortunately and hopefully for the better. Sustainability is the order of the day and the demand for it is growing all the time. We can say that sustainable strategy is the future: a new model, necessary and urgent.
What is the post-Covid tourist looking for?
In the wake of the pandemic that began in 2019, a new reality is gaining momentum: there is an appetite to travel, explore and feel alive, but above all safe. The measures instilled and learned to cope with contagions have generated a change in travellers' preferences:
- It is essential to have insurance; travel insurance, cancellation insurance...
- Better to opt for less crowded destinations.
- The closer to home, the safer
The post-Covid tourist has a different profile: he or she is more digital, searches for trips through online platforms, prefers one-way trips, books less than a month or a month and a half in advance, and the destinations chosen are less crowded and offer personalised services, avoiding contact with other people as much as possible.
Against this backdrop, there is an increase in demand for unique experiences, local authenticity and in a context in which sustainability has taken on great importance. Societies are increasingly committed to the protection of the planet, the survival and transmission of culture and the care of environments and ecosystems.
Thus, sustainable tourism has proven to be one of the most effective ways to address the post-Covid crisis19 , generating economic and employment opportunities for local communities, while protecting the cultural and natural resources of destinations.
But what is needed and what is required of a company when talking about the changes needed to align management with sustainability?
Creating a sustainable strategy for a company is a future-proof necessity. Changing a business model requires the implementation of sustainable initiatives. Doing so has several benefits, including reputation, compliance and profitability.
If we refer to data provided by a 2021 Google study, 61% of respondents say that the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future, and 59% say they are willing to pay more in exchange for more sustainable travel. Thus, it seems that positioning yourself as a company that works and engages to make your processes more responsible and aligned with sustainability is a good way to remain competent in this market.
Benefits of sustainable implementation
As we can see, sustainability is an increasingly important aspect in the individual tourist's decision. As Google states, also the Observatory of Rural Tourism in Spain has recently revealed data showing the tourist's interest in local and responsible experiences, detecting a considerable increase in the demand for sustainable experiences.
Thus, by positioning itself in a sustainable way in the market, the company creates awareness and sensitisation among citizens and tourists, while achieving a better reputation and recognition. But positioning and distinctions should be seen as an added value of the continuous improvement processes that the organisation should focus on; after all, the main benefit is to align management and policies effectively with more sustainable models, in which economic, social and environmental balance is sought.
Implementing the 17 SDGs and sustainability
The UN defines the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as "a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity", and translates the actions and activities that can be included in this plan into the so-called "SDGs" as an easily understandable language so that we can all understand where we should direct our efforts to work together in the same direction.
At the company level, the 2030 Agenda action plan provides a common language that allows any entity to know where to focus its efforts according to each SDG. If we take the corporate CSR as a basis, it identifies the principles and values to which the company is committed in the different areas (social, economic, environmental, etc.), with the actions and activities of each SDG being the actions whose real impact contribute to the changes, future impacts and alignments of the business that the entity describes in its CSR: decent work and quality of life for workers, gender equality, health and quality of life, education and training, environmental protection, efficient and responsible consumption and production (SDGs 8,5,3,4,13,14,15,6,7 and 12).
Similarly, this common language allows the development of partnerships and collaborative projects between actors belonging to different sectors, such as companies, governments or NGOs, which companies can include in their CSR as alliances and commitments that land in actions included in SDG 16 and 17, whose projects and initiatives in turn include goals aimed at contributing to the fulfilment of the other Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDG 1, 2, 11....
In this sense, the SDGs outline a roadmap/framework for action on the commitments that companies make or communicate in their CSR, serving as an identifiable and measurable measure and as a transparent communication tool of the actions effectively implemented by the company to make them known in a common language to its employees, customers, collaborators and other stakeholders. Thus, the SDGs make it possible to verify and highlight the real impacts of what is implemented and executed in the company and how these actions are aligned with the international agenda, with which they make effective those objectives or principles proposed in its CSR.
When considering the 17 SDGs in a business model, it is essential and necessary to understand how the business relates to each of the SDGs and to see what negative impacts can be minimised or eliminated, as well as what positive impacts can be enhanced. It is not just about picking a few SDGs that the company believes it can contribute to. It is about observing, analysing and understanding.
In addition to not just considering a few SDGs, all aspects of sustainability must also be considered. All three dimensions - social, economic and environmental - are key elements. To obtain sustainability status, all three must be considered in the new business model, as part of the strategy.
This whole process may seem overwhelming, but companies like Biosphere help and support companies in this process. What are you waiting for? Access Biosphere Sustainable now and manage your business sustainability in a 100% online and simple way, speeding up the processes of recognising and highlighting all the good practices you already have in place in your company.