Metropolitan Touring "Commitment to the Environment and to the Community"


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This is the small leaflet (printed on recycled paper) that we distribute to all our guests on their trips to Ecuador.

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Metropolitan Touring "Commitment to the Environment and to the Community"

  1. 1. COMMITMENT Oct-Nov 2009 toward the community & the environment
  2. 2. EDITORIAL Dear Friends, Let me convey our appreciation and admiration to each one of you, for having accomplished during 2009 --a complex and challenging year—the outlining of many ideas, the re-designing of projects and to continue with an optimistic view of the future. Our industry demands this. We feel that it is our responsibility, more so in difficult times, for the private sector to maintain a positive attitude and seek out solutions that benefit all actors in sustainability. Precisely, one of the pro-positive actions is to achieve long-lasting relationships in the chain of value of our destinations and tour products. This generates a synergy that motivates us to continue on with our work, to join philosophies and propose new manners of administration, in order to contribute to minimize the negative actions of climate change and global warming. In our case, the application of our Environmental Policy has created a major reaction in our staff, and their dedication to improve on the places where we work and where we live. Throughout 2008 and 2009 we have consolidated the great dream of all of us at Metropolitan Touring: to be in more countries in South America. Thus, Peru, Argentina and Chile already have our presence in these emblematic destinations. This is a great opportunity for us to generate environmental standards for the region, which will guarantee the proper handling of the natural resources, the importance of the local communities and the assurance of tour operations based in quality products. New challenges lie ahead, and this motivates us to continue with our philosophy. The great Project of Coastal Clearing in the Galápagos Islands shows a continuous growth and generates results that provide environmental and social gains. We are convinced that this project is a real pillar in sustainability, and the most evident way to measure our actions is to experience the satisfying reactions of the community. Regular coastal cleaning trips on fishermen’s boats have allowed us to remove great quantities of solid waste that has arrived with ocean currents. Otherwise, such debris constitutes a potential risk for the islands’ ecosystems. Keeping coastlines clean has a very ethical sense, and here humans have the greatest opportunity of returning the COMMITMENT - 2 -
  3. 3. islands to their natural integrity and condition. Together with our strategic partners, the Municipalities of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela, the Galapagos National Park, the Coca Cola Foundation of Ecuador and the dear residents of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela, we took the lead on the International Day of Coastal Cleaning on September 18. On this day only, we were able to collect around 4,600 kilos (10,120 lbs), in our efforts to minimize and reduce the human environmental footprint. A big thank you to our partners who support our actions on a daily basis. The community of Santa Cruz Islands continues to support the actions for the recycling project. The results of almost eleven years of leadership in recycling already surpass 1.6 million kilos of recycled solid waste, and the joint efforts of the local authorities such as Municipality of Santa Cruz, the WWF, the community and the Foundation Galápagos- Ecuador, stand out as one of the best examples of a successful cooperation between the public and private sectors. Our future endeavors are geared to share and extend this project to San Cristobal and Isabela Islands. In May 2009 we received with great emotion and compromise the nomination by the World Travel & Tourism Council –WTTC- of being finalists for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in the category of Global Tourism Business. This international recognition has given us great satisfaction for what has already been achieved, while at the same time motivates us to assume more challenges with unique responsibilities. As you are part of what Metropolitan Touring and Foundation Galapagos-Ecuador are doing, the success is also yours. Our Commitment 2009 Magazine wishes to share with your our projects, results and contributions towards sustainability at every level. Responsibly yours, Roque Sevilla Chairman of the Board Metropolitan Touring COMMITMENT - 3 -
  4. 4. WORKING FOR ECUADOR’S SUSTAINABILITY Tourism, the largest industry and activity on Earth, contributes to the improvement of the economy of different sectors. When we act convinced that the community and the environment should be the sole beneficiaries of tourism, we not only think of financial benefits; we think beyond the financial benefits; we also think of environment experiences that allow the understanding of how the industry works. We learn from it, leave a positive footprint, and motivate community the next generations to leave even a better place. This is why Metropolitan Touring sets its philosophies in sustainable tourism business from three angles: environment, community and business. When these players find a common ground, sustainable development occurs. To make our actions tangible for everyone, we have designed three work platforms which allow us to gradually achieve environmentally-friendly operations, motivated communities, and corporate stewardship. COMMITMENT - 4 -
  5. 5. REMEMBERING EDUARDO PROAÑO PAZ Y MIÑO (1924-2009) Metropolitan Touring launched its programs at a time where modern concepts like sustainability, its theory and applications were unknown to us. Nevertheless, the vision and conviction of our Founder, Eduardo Proaño Paz y Miño, helped Ecuador put in place fundamental elements such as respect and protection of the environment while visiting fascinating places like the Amazon Rainforest, the Coast, the Galápagos Islands, and the Andes of Ecuador. These principles set guidelines for guaranteeing that tourist activities will not deteriorate the environment, and that local traditions are kept within the communities. Eduardo led this process with the intention that Metropolitan Touring should take the first big steps in the development of ecotourism. The initial efforts in the Galápagos Islands and the Amazon Rainforest included designing a system for visiting where protection of natural resources should be a priority above all. As time passed, Metropolitan Touring deepened these principles, and now are a fundamental part of its corporate philosophy and the development of all its activities. Time goes on, and Eduardo’s values hold stronger than ever. It is quite difficult to say goodbye to a dear friend like Eduardo, but we keep with us his always good nature, teachings, and passionate way of promoting Ecuador. Farewell Eduardo! COMMITMENT - 5 -
  6. 6. P PROMOTE COMMITMENT 1 PROMOTE among our employees a culture of learning and commitment to environmental issues that will also transcend to their daily lives. We continue training all of our crew and staff in subjects related to best environmental practices and on how to minimize our environmental footprint. We have achieved the first year of sending our weekly summary called “Environmental Improvements”. With the support from the Human Resources Department, we have reached all levels of the company. Metropolitan Touring’s offices in Quito (Las Palmeras Headquarters) have a permanent display of all projects and results by Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador. The movable display rotates amongst the different departments providing continuous information and motivating all team members. All bulletin boards of our offices at Metropolitan Touring’s Las Palmeras devote a section for promoting the document “Environmental Improvements”. Environmental training for our crew continues. Particular attention has been given to garbage classification because such efficiency speeds up the recycling process at the environmental park. COMMITMENT - 6 -
  7. 7. P PROMOTE The staff of Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador continues training our local Galápagos offices on environmental subjects. Crew members of our ships also visit the recycling center and have witnessed all the activities that take place here. Our Galápagos Naturalists had a seminar for continuous improvement, and we organized an “Environmental Breakfast” where we addressed all of our projects and results. We can organize these seminars only when our ships are in dry dock. In our Inbound Tourism Department we formed a team of internal Sustainability Leaders. The team is also in charge of promoting our sustainability message and monitors our environmental policy. Training our crew in environmental It is great to see our staff understanding Sharing our experiences with local students issues is a priority. all the processes at the Recycling Center. is highly rewarding. COMMITMENT - 7 -
  8. 8. R REDUCE COMMITMENT 2: REDUCE the use of non-renewable resources in all our operations, as well as solid waste and pollution. The Inbound Tourism Department has achieved a reduction of 12% in our overall use of paper. From our offices, to our hotel, and to our ships, the staff uses less, prints less, and reuses more. Our team of Sustainability Leaders keeps track of new developments. At Finch Bay Hotel in the Galápagos Islands, we have reduced the consumption of bottled water by 36%. In actual numbers this means that 6,360 plastic bottles didn’t need to be shipped to the islands. Our ships reduced consumption of 0.5 lt bottled water by an additional 11%. This reduction naturally decreases purchases, which turns into fewer materials needed to be used for plastic-bottle production, and also less shipping needs. This new figure is in addition to last year’s achievement of 60% reduction. On board Yacht Isabela II we have totally eliminated the use of 2 lt. plastic bottles. Public water dispensers have been located in specific areas that satisfy the need of refilling. Our guests are a tremendous source of help for the reusing of ID pins. Guests are welcome to take home the ID pins they get once they leave for the Galápagos, but if they feel motivated to become an active part of our environmental practices they may return their pins while on board. Thanks to the delivery of this message by our Hotel and Expedition Managers we have been able to reuse 1,329 pins (as of October 2009). Environmental benefits of this simple action prevent the unnecessary use of laminated plastics, paper, metal, assembly, printing and shipping. Finch Bay Hotel takes on environmental practices used by early pioneers and residents of Galápagos, and now looks at ways of collecting rain water. Such practice has reduced fresh water use by 6%. COMMITMENT - 8 -
  9. 9. R REDUCE During our introductory briefings we explain how important is for tourist operations to minimize their environmental footprint by simply managing better their production of solid waste. Guests react positively to this idea and take back home items such as empty bottles of sun block, gels, creams, etc. A 16% reduction in electrical power was also recorded at Finch Bay Hotel by following operational guidelines stated by its Smart Voyager Certification. Everyone is contributing to reduce electricity consumption. Internal campaigns are on going efforts, and the results start showing now after a year of applying such practices. Our office building in Quito alone reduced consumption by 7% on its first year of internal campaigns. Perhaps one of the most attractive and meaningful practices, is the initiative of putting to work a local Vegetable Garden at Finch Bay Hotel. This local production has reduced the need of importing certain items from the mainland, and then transporting them to the hotel. So far, 413 Kg (834 pounds) of vegetables and fruits are part of this scenario since September 2008. The effort also represents a reduction of man/time, fuel usage, CO2 emissions, agrochemical sprays, and packaging materials. The magazine you are reading now has 25% less cellulose content compared to last year’s magazine. Also, this year we printed 20% less magazines in order to avoid paper waste. The type of paper used is 100% eco-friendly and holds three certifications that not only benefit the environment, but turn it into a sustainable item. The Vegetable Garden at Finch Bay Hotel is an The Galápagos Hotel Managers are our Our guests are our best associates in excellent contribution in sustainability. Environmental Leaders. sustainability. COMMITMENT - 9 -
  10. 10. E COMMITMENT 3 EXECUTE EXECUTE programs and projects that provide support to social development and environmental protection in the areas where we operate. All projects at Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador remain active throughout 2008-2009: Coastal Cleaning, Solid-Waste Recycling, and Community Support. Other sustainability initiatives applied by Metropolitan Touring include: FUN Galápagos Animal and support to the Manos Mágicas Cooperative, local purchasing of bread products to the Perla del Pacífico Cooperative, local purchasing of fish products to members of UCOOPEGAL, the Union of Galápagos Fishing Cooperatives, and the local purchasing of vegetables and fruits to highland farmers from El Cascajo area. The Recycling Project continues to gain local and outside attention, and the total amount of solid waste recycled tops already the 1.6 million Kg mark. Something worth looking at in this project is the great effort put by the Integral Waste Management System, a division of the Municipal Government of Santa Cruz Island. Over the years, great experiences have been gathered as knowledge, and this given the community an inspiring way of looking at the future. WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature has also been a great contributor for today’s success. Fundación Galápagos- Ecuador is proud to continue leading and supporting this effort. Recycling results up to October 2009 show: Material (Kg) Upadte Oct 2009 TOTAL Plastics 120,085 264,187 Glass 381,186 838,609 Cardboard 1,050,302 2,310664 Paper 85,992 189,182 Batteries 1,204 2,649 Other Materials 13,585 29,887 Total Kg - Pounds 1,652,356 3,635,183 The International Coastal Cleanup Day was a wonderful activity that involved not only the community, but many local key players. It took place on September 18th, 2009 and generated great response by all those involved. This international event is governed by Ocean Conservancy and Project Aware-PADI. In the Galápagos Islands, Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador is in charge of organizing and coordinating COMMITMENT - 10 -
  11. 11. E EXECUTE all the actions involved on that day. Our strategic partner in this sustainable initiative is Fundación Coca Cola de Ecuador whose solid support is highly appreciated. Additionally, invaluable support from the local Municipalities, Galápagos National Park, Educational Institutions, and volunteers was received during the event. With great enthusiasm, the day ended with great news: Santa Cruz 2,495 Kg (5,488 pounds) - San Cristóbal 818 Kg (1,800 pounds) - Isabela 1,282 Kg (2,821 pounds). Total: 4,595 Kg (10,109 pounds). Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador signed an agreement for supporting the RELUSAN Project in San Cristóbal Island. We support this initiative because of the importance of not leaving in Galápagos burned oils and residues. Once these fossil fuel byproducts become part of the biological processes in island ecosystems they can have fatal consequences. Such removal contributes at holding the integrity of the community which depends on environmental quality of where they live. The Inbound Department of Metropolitan Touring developed two brand new programs within the Ecuadorian Highlands: Due South and A Walk in the Clouds. The vision at developing these products contributes to keep local traditions, rescues genuine features of our culture, and leaves a minimal environmental footprint. This program includes various protected areas, great contact with Ecuadorian biodiversity, central and southern Andes’ cultures, and high appreciation of landscapes, mountains grandeur, and changes in altitude, flavors, aromas, and forces of nature. As part of our Environmental Policy, sustainability criterion has been used for designing these programs. The content of these rewarding outings include: • DUE SOUTH: Andean Ethnic Market – Cotopaxi National Park – Salasaca Community – Baños – Waterfalls Avenue – Chimborazo - Guamote – Alausí – Tambo Coyoctor – Ingapirca Inca Ruins & Cuenca • A WALK IN THE CLOUDS: Andean Ethnic Market – Cotopaxi National Park – Salasaca Community – Baños – Waterfalls Avenue – Chimborazo - Salinas de Bolívar – Guaranda – Babahoyo & Guayaquil During the International Coastal Cleanup Day The RELUSAN Project in San Cristóbal Island A trip in Ecuador offers contact with local volunteers collected a total of 4,595 Kg. has the goal of sending back to the mainland all products from local communities and their burned oils. traditions. COMMITMENT - 11 -
  12. 12. M MOTIVATE COMMITMENT 4 MOTIVATE suppliers to develop sustainable environmental practices aligned to our environmental policy. Given the importance of sustainability issues in Galápagos, there are many suppliers who have improved their products in different ways. An example is the initiative of bottling water locally. Although, this still means using plastics as containers, the good news is there’s no need to ship these plastic needs from the mainland. Finch Bay Hotel will start purchasing all of its water needs from the local “Miconia” brand. The town of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island has a fair good number of artists. Finch Bay Hotel motivates these artists to use in their work materials that are either reused or recycled. Some examples include the printed menus which are made with locally-recycled paper, any work in wood that uses introduced woods, or hand-painted art. The Women’s Cooperative Manos Mágicas and the local artist Magno Bennet are giving art a fresh and sustainable approach. In May 2009, Metropolitan Touring was nominated by WTTC – World Travel & Tourism Council as Finalist in the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, in the category of Global Tourism Business. The awards ceremony was held in Florianópolis, Brazil during its annual World Summit. This international recognition reassures us the steps and direction we took were right, and we hope that by assisting and explaining to a world audience our work, some become motivated to develop new actions that favor responsible tourism. COMMITMENT - 12 -
  13. 13. M MOTIVATE In September 2009, WTTC selects Metropolitan Touring next to other world examples as a case study of responsible tourism in our industry. This group of case studies attempts to motivate other key players in the industry to develop new initiatives that generate sustainability. In July 2009, Yacht La Pinta received a stock of eco-fleece vests. This garment is made from recycled plastic bottles, and includes 87% recycled fiber (rpet). Approximately, 25 plastic bottles need to be recycled in order to produce enough fabric for one eco-fleece vest. The initiative motivates buyers to purchase an item that went from garbage to a new use. This is a realistic of way of how to close the loop, and its concept comes from putting together ideas by Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador, Fundación Coca Cola de Ecuador, and the manufacturing company Andes 6000. Metropolitan Touring was invited to share its work at several forums and seminars. Our intention is to share our experience in sustainability as an operation working in a fragile environment, and providing options for the community living there. We hope these talks motivate others to develop their own initiatives too. We spoke at: • IV International Forum City and Environment – Quito, June 2009 • I International Conference of Solid Waste Management in Latin America – Quito, June 2009 • Sustainability in Tourism, Universidad Internacional del Ecuador – Quito, August 2009 • Initiatives in Sustainable Tourism, International Symposium on Tourism and Environment – Quito, September 2008 • Various Radio Interviews together with Fundación Coca Cola de Ecuador focusing on the International Coastal Cleanup Day. • Our work is also available over the internet. The web platform set by has a page devoted to explaining our work, projects, results, philosophies, and more. This platform seeks that the delivery of our message reaches a captive audience that can spark and motivate others willing to develop their own efforts in sustainability. COMMITMENT - 13 -
  14. 14. I INVEST COMMITMENT 5 INVEST In specialized technology assuring the lowest levels of environmental impact. For our ships, a dry-dock period is the only opportunity for extensive and detailed maintenance of our machinery and equipment. In most cases, these works in machinery imply calibration of combustion, fuel consumption efficiency, electrical usage, equipment proper functioning, and overall repairs. By investing in keeping all our infrastructure and equipment in full operational readiness, we automatically guarantee a much better environmental footprint. In October 2009, the M/V Santa Cruz completed its three weeks of dry dock time in Guayaquil. Some specific works included the installation in our galley of a new contraption for blending all organic garbage (food leftovers and items of organic origin). This equipment guarantees all organic material originating Yacht La Pinta Finch Bay Eco Hotel COMMITMENT - 14 -
  15. 15. I INVEST in the kitchen diffuses in the ocean as a liquefied emulsion without causing any negative environmental effect. New air conditioning ducts were installed on board the M/V Santa Cruz in the last dry-dock period. This allows generators to work more efficiently in preparation for a future improvement that will include individual cabin controls. The overall benefit will reduce fuel consumption. At the Finch Bay Hotel we have expanded the laundry area in order to achieve a 90% of sun and wind dried linen and towels. A natural method of drying clothes keeps fabrics in good shape, reduces environmental costs, and lowers electrical demands from the island’s main generator. The latest remodeling efforts at Finch Bay Hotel implies that we invest more in local manpower, as well as local materials that leave a lesser environmental footprint, while leaving more tangible benefits in the local population. An example of a local investment is the use of introduced woods like Cuban cedar and teak, but using local volcanic material like lava blocks and gravel adds certain thermal and acoustic features that synthetic materials coming from the mainland don’t have. Naturally, not shipping materials from the continent has environmental benefits too. M/V Santa Cruz Yacht Isabela II COMMITMENT - 15 -
  16. 16. O OPTIMIZE COMMITMENT 6 OPTIMIZE The use of the present to guarantee a better future. At the very beginning of each Galápagos expedition, our Hotel Managers and Expedition Managers include a solid message of how our Environmental Policy shapes our actions. Our guests immediately adopt our suggestions optimizing all our efforts without sacrificing quality standards. Water is one of the most valuable resources on Planet Earth. Islands that are as dry as the Galápagos, and surrounded by a vast ocean, have an additional challenge at supplying themselves with fresh water. In our Galápagos operations our sustainability message states clearly how important water is, and the more we optimize water usage, the better the performance of desalinization plants as well as environmental footprint. Populated islands in the Galápagos have a great number of artisans and artists, who have taken advantage of local materials for developing their products. By encouraging our guests at purchasing local souvenirs and merchandise we are naturally optimizing what the community has contributed for the tourism industry. It is through sustainable practices that operators can optimize present conditions. COMMITMENT - 16 -
  17. 17. O OPTIMIZE By using our own staff members, Finch Bay Hotel is gradually helping to restore the mangrove coastal habitat near the hotel’s premises. All coastlines adjacent to our property will undergo reforestation of the native button mangrove. As of October 2009, we have put back 60 button mangrove plants, and the ultimate goal for 2010 is to put back a total of 500 plants. From previous buildings and construction events at the Finch Bay Hotel, various materials have been stored for future use. In the ongoing renovation we have used a fair good number of these particularly wood. Keeping quality standards while building is a priority, and if such standards can carry a sustainable approach, we will deliver. Remodeling at the Finch Bay Hotel The coastal zone adjacent to Finch Bay Hotel Optimizing also means generating work respects the islands’ ecosystems and is being reforested with button mangrove and opportunities for residents of the local assures minimum impact. 500 plants will be planted by 2010. community. COMMITMENT - 17 -
  18. 18. INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION & SOME MORE NEWS In sustainability it is vital to find strategic partners who also share your philosophies. When such moment occurs, solid actions and improvements generate rewarding results for all involved. We believe that is the case of the relationship between Fundación Coca Cola de Ecuador and Fundación Galápagos Ecuador. Synergies like those seen at the Coastal Cleanup Project are determining factors to set a good example and to show everyone there are ways of finding the right partnerships. In the 2009 World Travel & Tourism Summit, organized by WTTC, Metropolitan Touring achieved Finalist status in the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, under the category Global Tourism Business. The award ceremony took place in Florianópolis, Brazil and it included World authorities in sustainability who also acknowledged the importance of how contributions like those of the nominated companies are making a difference, and how they motivate others to follow a good example. World Travel Mart (WTM) 2009 in London, recognizes companies holding high standards in sustainable tourism under the Cape Town Declaration. Metropolitan Touring is also considered in 2009 as a responsible operator generating benefits in responsible tourism. World Responsible Tourism Day is celebrated on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009. After analyzing all finalists at the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, WTTC also chose case studies to be used as world examples in sustainability. Metropolitan Touring’s projects and efforts were selected by WTTC as case study in 2009. At Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador, we highly appreciate and value all donations, contributions, and support from all sources. All levels of support are important to us, and this year three generous donations will allow us to firmly advance in our projects. We are very grateful to Location Solvers, Big Five, and LatinAmerican Escapes for their committed support. WTTC 2009 World Summit – Awards Ceremony Tourism for Tomorrow COMMITMENT - 18 -
  19. 19. TOGETHERNESS: BECOME A MEMBER OF FUNDACIÓN GALÁPAGOS-ECUADOR It is very important that we continue our work, so we can guarantee the continuity of projects, and sustainable options in the Galápagos Islands. Please do not hesitate contacting any team member at Metropolitan Touring for additional information. This is a great opportunity to join forces and efforts, and to leave a positive footprint in one of Earth’s most incredible places. Please visit our web page at: E-mail: This magazine is printed in Fedrigoni Kilim Bianco paper that counts on the following environmental certifications: COMMITMENT - 19 -
  20. 20. Commitment is a Metropolitan Touring publication Texts and Editing: Paulina Burbano de Lara, Francisco Dousdebés Design: Talentto Production: Environmental Affairs - Metropolitan Touring Verónica Santamaría Project Coordinator Fundación Galápagos - Ecuador Marketing Team Metropolitan Touring Photography: Giovanny Verdezoto, MT Image Bank, Environmental Leaders MT, Verónica Santamaría, Francisco Dousdebés Metropolitan Touring and Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador would like to express our gratitude for their support and solidarity to: • Environmental Management Unit, Municipality of Santa Cruz Island • Galápagos Islands National Park Service • Cooperativa Manos Mágicas, Santa Cruz Island • Cooperativa Perla del Pacífico, Santa Cruz Island • Cooperativas de Pesca, Isla Santa Cruz, Isla San Cristóbal, Isla Isabela • Fundación Coca Cola de Ecuador • Bolívar Zapata, Proyecto RELUSAN, Isla San Cristóbal • Staff Members, Fabricio Valverde Environmental Park • Our strategic partners and contributing guests who, through their kind contributions, ensure sustainability and commitment of Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador projects • Our land-based and on board employees • And, all our volunteers for their invaluable support during long and enduring journeys of coastal cleaning of our shorelines IMPRESO EN PAPEL ECO - AMIGABLE