Japanese Cities Aim for Sustainability

The Japan Tourism Agency, under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, has announced that it will adopt the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) criteria as part of its tourism policy. Two cities in particular, Kyoto and Sapporo, belong to the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index).

 In Kyoto business events are able to participate in the city’s Do You Kyoto? carbon offset programme by purchasing carbon credits generated by the local community. Neighbourhood associations and small and medium sized local businesses reduce their carbon output by improving their facilities or taking specific measures to save energy. The city buys these credits from participating businesses and they are then made available to meetings and events organisers to help them offset their carbon footprint.

 In the case of Sapporo, hosting the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit 2008 left a legacy that resulted in the city’s Eco Capital Sapporo Declaration the same year. The Sapporo Convention Bureau actively promotes environmentally conscious operations and practices through its Sustainable Action Initiative. One of the city’s unique venues, the Glass Pyramid, uses a snow cooling system, a unique environmental feature which has also been adopted by the city’s New Chitose Airport. The city has food sufficiency rate of 208%, which is five times more than the average in Japan and 27% of the city’s waste is recycled.  

 In its “An Introduction to Sustainability Initiatives in MICE” document, the Yokohama Convention and Visitors Bureau cites the case study of PACIFICO Yokohama where the convention venue utilises rainwater to cool its onsite generators and as greywater in the Conference Center. Furthermore, Electricity generated by incinerating industrial waste created inside the facility is reused as power in the waterfront park.

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