Topic 2 A change from within

The path towards circular tourism often requires a cultural change in your organization. Because the development of a circular business induces changes, all members of your organisation will have to somewhat modify their methods and implement a new mindset. This requires a big involvement and a good comprehension of the objectives.

The concept and values of a circular economy are usually well perceived and can be a positive internal driver for change. Nevertheless changing is stressful for some of us and this factor has to be taken into account in terms of human resources management too.

A specific communication is needed inside the structure to obtain the required engagement. This path towards circular tourism can even be seen as a change management project and communication in this regard is key to its success.

The Vision is what your entity wants to become. The vision of your entity will propably be modified if you implement a circular economy (if this vision is not defined yet, it is the right time to do it!). Communicating a vision is relevant for both internal and external stakeholders.

The vision is usually described with a sentence more than a paragraph, in order to be easily understood and integrated. It can be as simple as this:

  • “to be set as an example in our city for our circular commitments”;
  • “to be considered by our costumers as the best place to relax without impacting the environment”.

The mission defines the purpose of an organisation and how it serves its customers. A mission statement provides perfect clarity behind the “what,” the “who,” and the “why,” of the company. Values are beliefs that manifest in how an employee interacts in a workplace, they stand at the core of what the organisation is and what the organisation cherishes. The mission and the values of your entity could be modified too. That’s not compulsory but nevertheless relevant to think about.

Examples of visions:

  • Tesla“To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
  • Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
  • Greet Hotels (Accor): Meaningful essentials. Hotels locally engaged, refocused on what really matters
  • Martins Hotel: “For over 25 years, Martin’s Hotels has been welcoming business people, families, tourists and gourmets to its ten hotels, three restaurants and its fitness centre & spa. It focus has always been to conduct its business profitably so that it can take care of its guests, look after the well-being of its staff, support humanitarian and social causes and, in the long term, protect the environment and its heritage.”
  • Green Stays (Tour Operator): Enjoy the best experiences we have to offer, with the least possible environmental impact, contributing to reforestation programs in the country you visit. Leave your mark, not your track! All tourists will choose more sustainable stays and experiences in the future, protecting the Environment and supporting the Local Communities they visit. All companies in the tourism sector will implement good environmental and social practices, concerned with the well-being of their community, with the preservation of the planet and with the fight against climate change.”
  • Sleep Green Hotels: To set the sensitive and careful handling with valuable and natural resources, on a holistic level, as a standard in tourism and revolutionize the whole industry. With new ideas and approaches we want to stop demanding from the nature what we can’t give back.”

In SMEs or micro-entities, the implementation of circular economy is often based on strong beliefs but also depends on the self-efficacy of the owner.  Success is driven by people who are inherently willing to overcome difficulties and take control of a situation in order to behave more responsibly, such as protecting the local, natural or cultural environments.

To implement a circular economy, it is useful to choose a project leader with these qualities.

During the whole implementation of your circular transition, the project leader (and dedicated team if any) will have to communicate consistently and frequently within the entity. They will rely on the vision as a basis and as an objective to attain. Once integrated, the vision will be a federating factor. Culture changes and objectives need to be shared within the team so as to obtain adhesion of the team, focus all energies on the same target, unite team around common goals, inspire and give ability to co-create.