Sustainability Management and Putting it into Practice
Strengthening our commitment to sustainability management and delivering consistent sustainable business practices, Destination Asia and our cruise division, Cruise Asia by Destination Asia, joined the Travelife Sustainability in Tourism Scheme in 2017 to steer its practices along a more responsible path. Destination Asia Indonesia’s Sustainability Manager, Devina Lianti, shares her experiences of working with Travelife, the positive changes in staff’s daily habits she’s observed, and why education on sustainability is so important.
Destination Asia Indonesia has been Travelife Certified for just over a year now. What does that mean and why is it important?
In a nutshell, Travelife is a sustainability certification that integrates both management and performance criteria and requires the company to comply with over 200 international standards that are evaluated by an independent auditor. The standards are in line with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) criteria and signify excellence in sustainability commitment.
Both the criteria and education material directly support our team in furthering their understanding of sustainability as well as how we should operate our business as a responsible tour operator. On the other hand, Travelife certification also opens up opportunities to collaborate with other stakeholders that share our same vision to protect Indonesia’s natural environment, promote economic development and safeguard the health of its people.
Have staff habits changed at the workplace to adopt more sustainable practices?
Since working with Travelife, our staff are more informed and aware of the impact of responsible actions both at home and at the office, and how those actions can lead to a better future for all. They now fully understand that sustainability is not only related to the environmental issues (Planet), but also about social (People) and economic (Profit) issues too.
In our office, it has now become a habit for all of us to separate waste, limit the usage of paper, buy local as often as possible, efficiently use electricity, and reduce the usage of single-use plastic. These habits have now also been continued within our homes.
On a professional level, teamwork and collaboration across departments have also increased; each function within the company also continually gives its expertise and learns collectively about responsible operations. Our responsible products available for clients are not only understood within the sales, product and operations teams but they are also read by support departments to further their understanding of the diversification in our products.
Where do you see Destination Asia and their approach to sustainability five years from now?
At Group level, Head Office is working with sustainability coordinators in each country so all destinations achieve Travelife Partner, and work together in the future to cross-promote sustainable practices. Sustainability has gone from a ‘project’ with a timeline just 10 years ago to the ‘way’ we do business today with economic, social and environmental responsibility factored in. As a result, Destination Asia will be able to create a positive impact that can be directly measured within each destination through mindful actions taken to support sustainability.
How do you ensure Destination Asia Indonesia is socially responsible and continues to benefit the community in which they work?
Our main social responsibility initiative is in collaboration with the Bali WISE by ROLE Foundation, supporting the education of marginalized women. Besides offering financial support, we are also involved in their education process; helping teach students, offering internships for first-hand work experience, and even recruiting students when a vacancy within our company is available.
In the unfortunate situation when some areas are hit by a natural disaster, such as the 2018 Lombok earthquake, Mount Agung eruptions, as well other volcanic eruptions such as Mount Semeru, Destination Asia Indonesia will endeavour to offer support by arranging donations from our staff, company, and guests; while offering assistance on the ground where possible.
Alongside all business travel, even our annual staff gathering has a social and environmental plan to offset carbon use and give back to the community; varying from supporting the elderly to working with local schools or replanting natural habitats.
Where is your favourite place to holiday in Asia and why?
My favourite place to holiday in Asia is Indonesia, of course. There are still so many islands I am yet to visit that keeps me exploring this one country. The diversity of nature, culture, and food is immense and I am excited by the prospect of embarking on a journey from Sabang in the west to Merauke in the east.