Archive for Corporate Social Responsibility

Green Buying Guide

Posted in Agri Tourism, Coron, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Sustainable Living with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2013 by Sustainability Guru
Tokyo Midtown Champagne Illumination

Tokyo Midtown Champagne Illumination

Note: First published in December 2010, we have updated this blog with some news and great green items! Enjoy!

For a non-Christian country, Japan celebrates Christmas to the max, but not for traditional or religious reasons. Not to mention that most Christmas trees and decor are depressing blue color lights! Singapore inaugurated the Orchard Christmas light up with no less than their President, a national event to herald shopping hoarders.   Ti’s the season of extreme enterprise just like everywhere in the globe. In the Philippines, they put up the Yuletide trimmings as early as September, to bring the holiday cheers early amidst typhoon time. It’s simply a silly spell of trash and bash for profitable purposes. So before your Christmas becomes just a blur of stress and duress, get guided by these holiday eco ethos and lighten your impact to the environment.

eco-friendly-green-gifts

1. Buy green gifts.  Consider eco-friendly and socially-conscious products and think about impact and environment when buying gifts. Remember the environmental effort and message gives more meaning, so look for a green approach for each gift: i.e. organic products, reusable, recyclable and really useful.

2. Reuse, reduce & recycle. Be creative in practicing these principles: reuse gift wrappers, reduce waste, recycle unused gift items and give them off. These 3Rs in gift giving is not only economical but less stressful!

Echo Store Gift Bag

3. Eco shopping bags. Bring your reusable shopping bags when heading out to your gift buying spree this season and avoid plastic bags abound. Check out these ideas from Echo Store, Serendra, Philippines.

Reusable gift box from Echo Store

Reusable gift box from Echo Store

Reusable Gift basket from Echo Store

Reusable Gift basket from Echo Store

4. Shop online. Save fuel and energy. Instead of charging out in traffic and lining up kilometric queues in stores, shop online instead! Items purchased online can be delivered straight to your recipient, so it can also cut down effort in personal delivery and again, fuel in driving around to give those gifts!

Save energy, avoid rush crowds!

5. Cool gift certificates. Instead of buying ordinary gifts, buy something special like a concert ticket, spa certificate, book club or gym trial and the like.  Your friend will think of you as a cool and considerate giver.

Green Gift-GCs

Green Gift-GCs

6. Gift of charity. As a great alternative to buying another picture frame, mug or socks for the person who may not need more of the same, give them the gift of charity, a donation to an environmental project or to any other organization for the needy. Donate to these charities or purchase gift cards in their name- donation for a community devastated by typhoon, solar power for grassroots families,  or reconstruction of a school in ruins, etc. There are so many humanitarian and environmental organizations in need of support where you can contribute, in the name of a friend.

Donate for Green Reconstruction

Donate for Green Reconstruction

7. Christmas cards from recycled paper. Thousands of cards each year are bought every yuletide season. Consider the alternative E-greeting card and if you must, buy Christmas cards from recycled paper. Think Amazon Forest and deforestation before you buy that Christmas card.

Macrame Bags made by Aeta Community

Macrame Bags made by Aeta Community

8. Biodegradable wrappers and bows.  Use recycled paper and natural materials instead of plastic or metallic wrappers and bows. Needless to say, they’re easier to dispose and less harmful to the environment. These calls again for creativity: reuse materials, or make the wrapping part of the gift, such as scarves, baskets and or reusable decorative boxes.

9. Re-chargeable batteries. When buying battery operated toys, encourage use of re-chargeable batteries; educate children as early as tots about the proper use of recharging – they’re not only eco friendly but also economical.

Going (green with) banana xmas tree!

11. Live instead of plastic Xmas tree. Purchase a live tree to use as Christmas tree and it doesn’t have to be a traditional fir. Santa will not scold you if you use other foliage as Christmas tree as you can re-plant them in your yard after the holidays. Besides, it serves a natural indoor air purifier. Use natural décor non-plastic, non-hazardous materials and low consumption lights.

12. Avoid wasteful consumption. Think.Eat.Save. as UNEP campaign goes. Christmas is a garbage fest. Before the gift opening and feasting begins, set up your garbage disposals accordingly – for cans, bottles, paper etc. Again, practice the pre- and post party 3Rs. Remember to be thankful, not wasteful.

Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your footprint Campaign by UNEP.

13. Last but not the least, if you are planning to spend Christmas holidays elswhere, travel green and make your vacation more meaningful with our Green Travel ideas. Support our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI campaign for Green Reconstruction of Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron, Palawan, in the Philippines. Help our grassroot communities recover their livelihood, with sustainable reconstruction and green energy. 

Support Green Reconstruction for Coron

 Christmas has almost lost its essence due to over- commercialization and excessive hype. Make your Yuletide more meaningful and less stressful. Think outside the gift box a little and you can have greener Holidays that may benefit the environment and humanity. Is your Christmas green? Share your eco holiday season tips, please add them to the comments section!

Photo Credits: Echo Store for the Reusable Gift Packs, Gift Bags. Tokyo Midtown for its Champagne Illumination.

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Greening Philippine M.I.C.E., go or no go?

Posted in Conventions & Exhibitions, Events, News, Lifestyle, Good Governance, Green Hotels, MICE Meetings, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Events, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

A Review of the PhilMICECon 2011.

Philipine MICE Con 2011 Cebu, Philippines

As MICE practitioner since 1984, and as pioneer MITE member  I had been attending the MICE Conferences since PCVC-MITE inception of “Dream Meetings” in 1991. This time however, I had the honor to be part of the Philippine (Meetings, Incentive travel, Conventions, &  Exhibitions) M.I.C.E. Conference (PhilMICECon) 2011 in Cebu, Philippines as invited Guest Speaker to share my advocacy on Sustainable Tourism, Hospitality & Events, during the Green-themed Plenary on the topic, “Stepping Forward without Footprints.”

Graciously attended by Joma Gutierrez & Ms. Noemi Cruz of Phil.Tourism Bureau

From the pre-conference arrangements to arrival day after a direct flight from Tokyo to Cebu via the country’s flagship carrier Philippine Airlines and all throughout my stay, I   was graciously attended by the ever-efficient and long-time Tourism industry friends, Ms. Noemi Cruz and Joma Gutierrez of the Philippine Tourism Bureau (PTB, which I still keep on calling PCVC) organizers of the Phil MICE Con. Right after my check-in at the Continental Club of Marco Polo Cebu, networking started with co-speakers, Bill Laviolett Managing Director, I&MI (Incentives & Meetings  International) Media from France and Corbin Ball, Owner, Corbin Ball Associates, USA.

At the Marco Polo Continental Club

Our first day started with a Welcome Lunch for buyers and speakers at the Imperial Waterpark Resort in Mactan Island, greeted by the entire Cebu Organizing Committee, which prepared exotic Asian themed dances. Most heartwarming was the Cebu’s children’s rondalla which performed lively native numbers. After the scrumptious Cebu cuisine highlighted buffet, entertained by Philippine dances, off we go to probably the most “thrilling” show of all –the world famous Cebu Dancing Inmates – doing their Michael Jackson tributes. Turned out, we not only watched but also danced with them! The Cebu Provincial Detention & Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) opens its gates for performances every last Saturday of the month –a good example of social responsibility in tourism. At sundown, we moved to the Waterfront Hotel  Cebu for the Oriental Opulence-themed cocktails and dinner. The ballroom was  transformed into a grand and lavish Eastern enclave and participants were beset with the bountiful Chinese buffet.

Dancing with World Famous Cebu Dancing Inmates

The next day, the Techno-themed Opening ceremonies were graced by Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, Philippine Tourism Department Secretary Alberto Lim and Hans Hauri, Chairman of the Phil MICE Con Cebu Organizing Committee. Glad to see that  Bluewater Resortswith Director of Sales & Marketing Margie Munsayac, hosted coffee break has followed some green meeting practices I suggested for the event, with their native snacks in eco-friendly, reusable baskets and drinks in bamboo cups!

Phil MICE Con Opening with DOT Secretary Alberto Lim

We segued to Marco Polo Hotel Ballroom, for the “i.WE.u.peopleconnect” – Techno motiff S.R.O. lunch, welcomed virtually by the hotel’s CEO in Hong Kong via Video conference. Educational Tracks Breakout sessions followed with various MICE-relevant topics.

Finally, Green Day Plenary has come keynoted by Authentic Ecolodges author Hitesh Mehta who awed the audience with his “Turning Blueprints into Green prints” presentation and “dance” performance. Then it was our turn to talk on  “Stepping Forward without Footprints”, where I shared in the discussions moderated by Ms. Chit Juan of Echo Sustainable Living Store, with Engr. Eric Raymundo, who presented the “Zero Carbon Resorts” project of his NGO, Gruppe Angge Passte  Technologie (GrAT) and Ms. Agnes de Jesus, Vice President, Energy  Development Corporation who imparted the Geothermal projects at Philippines’ eco sites.

After the coffee break, panel discussions on “New Media Marketing” and an energetic Hi-tech Connect-motif lunch was hosted by the Radisson Blu, Cebu’s newest de luxe hotel. Happy to meet long-ago hotelier friends, Lourdes Macalindong, VP Sales & Marketing of SM Hotels & Conventions and Agnes Pacis, dynamic Director of Sales & Marketing of Shangri-la Mactan.

After the afternoon and closing plenary session, an all-out pomp and pageantry Closing & Turn-over Ceremonies was tendered by Davao, the PhilMICE Con 2013 host, led by no less than their gutsy yet graceful Mayor Sara Duterte. So looking forward to helping out in the DAVAO Phil MICE Con, with long-time friend, Ms. Mary Ann Montemayor who is the Chair of the Davao Regional Tourism Council  and has sounded me off that they are starting Sustainable Tourism activities for the province. Dazzling!

However, the big question for me during the whole conference as I was trying to observe is, IF the Philippine MICE industry insiders are ready to embrace Sustainability and Green practices in their respective activities? Phil MICE Con organizers led by dynamic Stanie Soriano has graciously included the “Greening Events Guidelines” that I have particularly  prepared, on the printed program, but I doubt if anybody has read it. Not one participant even  mentioned to me having seen it.  Based on the almost non-reaction from the audience  after our plenary “Green” presentations, it seems that “Greening” for them was just  donning the green hats or outfits as was the obligatory theme for the day. Beyond that, no one has approached any of us speakers, as a matter of interest in implementing  green hotel practices, zero carbon resorts nor green events at all.

At breakfast on our last day, with good tourism industry colleague, Angel Bognot  who has launched his Afro Asian World Events, former Region VII Tourism  Director Dawnie Roa, and Ms. Jenny Franco of Travel Vision, I have some  encouraging signs that Cebu are into the Sustainable and Eco Tourism mode and that they are supporting greening efforts by the province. Likewise, I was also told earlier by long-time Cebu tour operator, Alice Queblatin of Southwind Travel that they are seeking help to improve their community-based rural tourism endeavors in Olango, Cebu. Alice’s daughter, Cookie Chan @kukitalk, likewise sent me a direct message via Twitter that she will implement green practices that I have shared in the next big convention she will be organizing next in Cebu. At least with these pro-active and reliable pillars of Cebu’s Tourism industry, I can see the “green” light at the end of the tunnel that came out of the Phil. MICE Con 2011.

This is a call to action and cooperation to GREEN Philippine M.I.C.E., folks. It is high time for Filipino tourism industry leaders to focus on Sustainable Tourism, greening their hotels/resorts and organize Green Meetings & Sustainable Events as a way forward and uplift the Philippine Tourism industry.

I sure look forward to helping and working with Davao‘s Green Leaders towards a greener Phil MICE Con 2013!

For details on the PhilMICE 2011 conference program, please click here.

Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is working on Sustainable Festivals & green events with its Sustainable Tourism programs and projects in the Philippines – The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative . Environmental, Social, Good Governance & Resilience Capacity building programs & training include Disaster Preparedness & Management for both public and private local stakeholders/proponents. Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is working towards green economy for the grass roots, in cooperation with Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and The Clean Blue Asia Pacific. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.