COP28: Iberostar Hotels unveils Circular Economy Roadmap

It details progress to date, including diverting 56% of waste from landfill, and reducing Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 12.4% in line with the SBTi commitment to decarbonize by 85% by 2030.

PALMA DE MALLORCA – Iberostar Group, a leader in responsible tourism, unveils its new roadmap showcasing its commitment to circular economy principles at the 28th edition of the United Nations Conference (COP28) in Dubai, at the UNWTO event: Tourism United for Climate Action – Delivering on the Commitments of the Glasgow Declaration.

Its latest report serves as a bold statement of intent, signaling a commitment to drive value and continuous improvement at its destinations. It also outlines Iberostar’s progress on decarbonization, waste management, and reduction of single-use plastics, including learnings from its first approaches.

Innovation and collaboration stand as paramount pillars in shaping the value chain, with the report emphasizing their pivotal roles. The collaborative efforts required for circular systems development are of utmost significance. Notably, despite effective waste management practices, a 1/4 of the waste projected for landfill disposal by Iberostar requires innovative solutions upstream in the value chain. This mirrors a parallel challenge with carbon emissions, where Scope 3 Carbon alone represents 77% of its total footprint. Acknowledging this, Iberostar is actively engaging the value chain, and in public-private partnerships to drive sector development, particularly in waste and energy.

Gloria Fluxà, Vice-Chairman and Chief Sustainability Officer of Iberostar Group, states, “Our roadmap explores the transformative power of circular thinking. Circularity requires us to redesign current processes, stimulate innovation, and foster collaborations – vital across industries. For our own sector the potential is clear – it yields multifaceted benefits critical to achieving our mission of a responsible tourism model – one that is net and nature positive.

She continues: The shift away from linear thinking will certainly deliver profound and enduring impacts. This transition will ultimately lead us to substantial reductions in carbon emissions, minimizing resource extraction, promoting biodiversity restoration, whilst maintaining economic viability so that we can safeguard both natural ecosystems and communities.“

Through this strategy we broaden our approach to include developments across People, Carbon, Water, Goods & Services, Built Environments, Ecosystems Services, Destination Development, Innovation and Partnerships. The roadmap has three main approaches, including specific targets to activate effective change:

Evolving Operations towards Circularity – Demonstrating a commitment to complete circular thinking, redefining operations at a hotel level.
Contributing to Regenerative Destinations – Adding value by developing infrastructure and ecosystem services that support regenerative tourism, aligning and evolving with the destination.
Driving Partnership Through the Value Chain – Focusing on partnerships across the value chain focusing on driving accountability, and pre-competitive collaboration.

Some of the commitments and approaches include:

Food waste will be reduced by 60% in all-inclusive hotels over the next five years.
Hotels will have a minimum of 65% plant-based offer by 2030.
Each hotel will personalize its strategic plans in-line with a data-driven approach according to materiality assessments.
Hotels will reduce their total residuals by 30% over five years.
Building on its work to source 100% sustainable seafood by 2025, Iberostar will expand sustainable procurement to ruminant meats, tea, coffee, cocoa and sugar.
Hotels will work with suppliers to foster the assessment of biodiversity impacts and towards regenerative and sustainable services.
60% of waste currently sent to landfill could be reassessed with enhanced destination infrastructure (As a result, a Destinations Stewardship team has been created to drive greater collaboration and public-private initiatives).

The report also highlights some of the organization’s key achievements so far:


The chain achieved single-use plastic-free status in 2020.
Eliminating 692 tons of single-use plastics since 2018, through changes including the installation of more than 1,300 water fountains in hotels.
Over 1,000 evaluated, eliminated, altered, and redesigned items in order to achieve the target.


Employing more than 230 full-time 3R departments staff across 60 hotels, managing around 23,000 tons of waste annually.
Recognizing the success of the 3Rs waste teams, which has diverted 56% of waste from landfill over three years.


Achieving a 12.4% reduction in scope 1 & 2 emissions in 2022.
Reducing energy consumption by 5.7%, aided by internal and customer behavioral changes.

The roadmap supplements previous strategies on responsible consumption of seafood, coastal health, and decarbonization, emphasizing Iberostar’s commitment to reduce its impact. Through its transparency, the company hopes that this roadmap and its initiatives can stimulate discussion, innovation and collaboration as to how the sector can advance its sustainability strategies whilst maintaining growth.

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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