16 Nov 2016 Story Transport

Green Passport lets Marrakech climate delegates walk the talk

Delegates to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakech this year can now walk their talk by following the Green Passport Map of the beautiful “ochre city”.

Designed by UN Environment, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism, Michelin and the Moroccan non-profit Association Mawarid for Environment and Energy, the map marks out hotels with the Clé Verte (or “Green Key”) environmental label, green restaurants, spas and hammams that use natural local products, and over nine traditional craft shops.

Of course, the Passeport Vert, or Green Passport, also includes the city’s main attractions, alongside recommendations for reducing your carbon footprint such as cycle hire and bus routes.

These recommendations will also be shared on social media as actions tourists can take to travel responsibly and walk with light footsteps in the city.

The Green Passport has been making an appearance at major events and tourist destinations since 2008. Most recently, it was part of initiatives by UN Environment to green the footprint of the 2014 Football World Cup in Brazil, 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Rio+20 environmental conference, the Paris Conference on Climate Change and 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa.

The idea behind the Passport is to support cities to educate and inform tourists— who often use three times more water than residents in a city— to help them reduce their carbon footprint. Activities have included training the hospitality industry, administering sustainability labels for gastronomy, and awareness and education campaigns specific to tourists and the industry that seek to reduce tourism’s contribution of more than 5 per cent of the world’s global emissions.  

“UN Environment’s Green Passport provides tourists with the knowledge they need to be responsible travellers. Cities and the hospitality industry are critical partners for sustainable tourism and we’re delighted to see the Green Passport land in Marrakech,” said Naysán Sahba, Director of Communications, UN Environment.

During the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games, for example, UN Environment worked with Airbnb and shared Green Passport materials with over 100,000 travellers to Rio, posted social media content on its channels, organized and participated in green activities with their hosts and gave reusable bags to more than 2,000 tourists. The partnership has been extended for two more years.

The tips offered in the Green Passport aim to change the behaviour of the one billion tourists that travel internationally every year, essentially aligning them better with the vision of sustainable development developed by countries last year through a set of agreements.

Achieving sustainable tourism, for example, features explicitly in targets under at least three of the Sustainable Development Goals, pertaining to climate change, resource efficiency and the use and care of marine resources.