How smaller nations approach sustainability

Lara Owen Reporter, C&IT
How smaller nations approach sustainability

C&IT spoke with the Sardinian Tourism Board at IBTM World to discuss what sustainability and community means to the largest island in the Mediterranean. 

Whilst speaking with Giuseppina Scorrano at IBTM World, it became apparent that Sardinia is a leading nation in sustainable MICE travel, Scorrano began by detailing Sardinia’s strict laws surrounding the environment: “Sardinia has laws to protect its natural areas, it is forbidden to build on the coast, forbidden to important plants that are not native to the area - preserving our natural habitat is something the Sardinian government takes very seriously.” 

Sardinia follows the ‘Kilometre Zero Initiative’ whereby produce and goods are sourced at a local level to avoid imports and unnecessary carbon emissions. For Sardinia, zero waste starts at a provincial level, and by incentivising governments to tackle waste beginning with the smaller regions, the country’s Zero Waste goals as a whole become more tangible for people and businesses, as they’re able to feel a direct connection with what’s happening in their very own community motivating them to make the effort.

As the largest Island in the Mediterranean, Sardinia has a breadth of cultures stemming from both Italian and Spanish influence, resulting in a vastly diverse region. This means thinking inclusively is essential. 

Furthermore, cutting down on long haul imports by sourcing locally demonstrates how Sardinia deeply values a stable and inclusive community, “Inclusivity is at the forefront of our priorities, and everything that happens after that - from sustainable pledges to supporting local businesses - is a by-product of thinking inclusively from the offset.” Sardinia illustrates that through active collaboration between the government and people, a Net Zero society is possible sooner than previously thought.

Scorrano noted that approaching sustainability within the MICE industry can seem overwhelming for countries, and therefore it is important to compartmentalise your outlook: “There are three elements that go into achieving sustainability: culture, society and environment. If you take care of your culture, you will prosper as a society and in turn preserve the environment you inhabit.”