It is important to the FTI GROUP to also focus its actions and activities on sustainability. With a view to the challenges of the coming years, the Group therefore rolls out a new sustainability agenda in early summer 2022. The strategic orientation focuses primarily on measures for climate protection, sustainable travel, the protection of resources and biodiversity as well as social responsibility. "With this strategy, we reflect the European Union's Green Deal and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. We are thus making our contribution to a change towards more sustainability," explains FTI Group CEO Ralph Schiller.
To begin with, the group will be particularly active at its headquarter in Munich as a model project and in FTI's own hotels. The focus will be on optimized energy management, smart mobility, the expansion of digitality and improved waste disposal management. At the same time, the group is launching initiatives for more sustainable travel and excursion offers. For this purpose, the company is revising programs and processes in product management as well as in the excursion portfolio of the incoming agency Meeting Point International. Customers will be made more aware of these more sustainable offers in a later, second step. "In addition to our climate and the environment, the social component is also close to our hearts. Ultimately, tourism always stands for cultural exchange and international understanding. That is why we will initiate various promotion and protection programs - in Germany as well as in our destinations," Schiller continues.
Regarding the Group's previous commitment, the Managing Director says: "Of course, we have been active in the area of sustainability before and are building on our previous efforts. Now we will align ourselves more strategically in order to implement measures and projects in a targeted and balanced way in the different areas." It is important for him to emphasize: "We will also work with independent and renowned institutions and certifiers for this purpose, in order to subline our commitment with the required seriousness and transparency."
In October 2022, the FTI GROUP founded KlimaLink, together with the travel associations DRV, ÖRV and SRV, the sustainability initiative Futouris and other associations and market participants. The aim of the alliance, chaired by Swantje Lehners, is to develop a standardised calculation model for the industry that makes the carbon footprint of all travel components of a holiday package evaluable and comparable for companies and customers.
Proven sustainable: The FTI GROUP's own hotels are sustainable on a wide scale. This is reflected in the corporate strategy as well as in the individual commitment of the hoteliers and their employees. Numerous hands-on initiatives and creative efforts contribute to the environment and local communities and enrich both the working environment and the guest experience. Travelife for Accommodation now takes into account FTI’s profound sustainability conviction. By the end of the 2022 season, around 50 representatives of the LABRANDA Hotels & Resorts, KAIRABA Hotels & Resorts, Design Plus Hotels, Lemon & Soul brands as well as Meeting Point managed Hotels aim to achieve certification from the globally renowned and sophisticated certifier. "There is nothing good unless you do it," says Sabine Dorn-Aglagul, CEO Hotels at FTI GROUP. "With our accommodations, we act in a socially responsible, ecologically and economically sustainable manner and meet the highest quality standards, for the benefit of our guests, our employees and the environment. The Travelife for Accommodation certification proves this and marks a milestone for us."
Certification by Travelife, one of the world's leading initiatives for effective and efficient sustainability principles in the accommodation sector, stands for particularly high standards in terms of the environment and social responsibility in the tourism and hospitality industry. For the certification, independent auditors from the organization check the relevant accommodations with a catalogue of requirements comprising 163 criteria. The audit includes assessing how accommodations minimize their environmental impact, compliance with animal welfare guidelines and fair treatment of employees. " With the certificate, guests who choose one of our houses will be shown and assured in the future: This hotel maintains a careful use of natural resources, bears responsibility for a low emissions budget and works closely with the local population," says Dorn-Aglagul. In the future, the certified hotels of the FTI GROUP will be provided with corresponding information in the booking systems and on the website www.mphotels.com.
The FTI GROUP had already pursued various sustainability initiatives in the past. The FTI GROUP headquarters in Munich, for example, is a certified Green Building and was, when it was occupied in 2010, the first LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified "Gold" office building in Munich. It is characterized by its environmentally friendly heating and cooling system, the energy-saving and motion-sensitive light sensors, the water-saving modules in the sanitary areas and the pollutant-free building materials from sustainable forestry. As an environmentally friendly renovated building, the FTI GROUP's Berlin location in the historic Spindlershof also meets high sustainability criteria. The office building will soon receive official certification according to BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) Europe Commercial 2009 in the category "very good" - the most widespread certification system for sustainable construction.
But the social component also plays an important role at both locations: from the height-adjustable desks to the stylishly furnished communal areas - you can really feel at home here. The FTI GROUP also promotes a balanced diet by subsidizing the employee restaurant Kairaba Lounge, which focuses on regional and healthy food in Munich. Priority is also given to the pricing policy. In September 2018, the Munich restaurant was selected as one of the best canteens in Germany in a nationwide test of company restaurants by Food & Health e.V. in cooperation with the magazine FOCUS.
In addition to the high-quality food, the Kairaba Lounge in Munich is also committed to sustainability: since January 2018 there have been no plastic straws and no more disposable plastic. Furthermore, the Recup system was introduced in January 2019 in order to avoid additional waste in the form of to-go coffee cups. In order to save packaging material, the restaurant also uses fresh counters all day long, for example for breakfast or salad buffets, and only dispenses muesli or desserts in reusable material.
The FTI GROUP also reduces the use of plastic by using energy-saving water dispensers where employees can fill their bottles free of charge. According to the manufacturer, each citizen consumes an average of 180 1.5 liter PET bottles per year. The production and transport of these bottles alone requires a total of 22 liters of crude oil and 108 liters of water as well as 23 kilograms of CO2. How much CO2 is saved by using the water dispensers can be seen on the display after each filling.
In addition, the FTI GROUP encourages its employees at all locations to use public transport to get to work and subsidizes, for example, the monthly public transport ticket.
The Group is also committed to the protection of species: In June 2018 it took over a bee sponsorship from the multiple-award-winning startup nearBees in Munich. On a closed-off roof terrace at the corporate headquarters in the west of Munich three bee colonies with a total of about 150.000 bees found a new home. From there it’s a short distance to surrounding gardens and parks to pollinate flowers, collect nectar and make honey. They are looked after by a state-certified beekeeper and 30 volunteers, who work at FTI. The honey is used in the employee restaurant and given to partners as a small gift.
The FTI GROUP works together with companies and partner destinations that place particularly high value on renewable and recyclable resources with environmentally friendly cultivation and production methods. In Egypt, the Egyptian seaside resort of El Gouna, owned by FTI GROUP partner Samih Sawiris, is aiming to become Africa's first climate-neutral city. The Green City, which has won an award for its environmental protection, impresses with its diverse hotel concepts of three to six stars as well as European hygiene and cleanliness standards, and sets itself the goal of protecting the country's natural resources by, among other things, reducing water and energy consumption and using renewable energies. Hotel employees and their families are also provided for in El Gouna through the provision of apartments, so that the employees live close to work.
The FTI GROUP also supports HEPCA's Code Red 2.0 agreement for the protection of the Red Sea which was officially signed at ITB 2019.
Furthermore, the FTI GROUP supports its customers in making a contribution to offsetting CO2 emissions. With their voluntary donation for the compensation providers atmosfair or myclimate, holidaymakers can contribute to climate and environmental protection.
In its own hotels, which the FTI GROUP brings together under the umbrella of MP Hotels, the group relies on energy-saving LED light bulbs, refillable dispensers for soap and cosmetic products, as well as an advice on the longer use of towels and bed linen. The Group also runs its own organic gardens in some hotels, where wheat, regional fruit and vegetables are grown.
Instead of printed catalogs, the FTI GROUP relies on the digital eMag. The cross-media content platform is an inspiration and booking platform in one. When producing its travel brochures, the FTI GROUP attaches great importance to using natural resources as effectively and sustainably as possible. For example, the Eversfrank Group, which is responsible for the printing process of the catalogues, works with 100% green electricity.
Travel agencies can also operate completely paperless: travel documents are sent to the customer by e-mail and even signatures can be conveniently made on the iPad.
Together with other leading travel companies, the FTI GROUP is a member of Futouris e.V., the tourism industry's sustainability initiative, since September 2016. We work together on numerous projects in popular travel destinations, including waste prevention, food waste and animal welfare initiatives.
As a member of Futouris FTI also works together with United Against Waste e.V.. In 2017, all food waste was collected at the tour operator's hotel in Calabria and sorted into waste from the warehouse, production waste, overproduction and plate return. With the aid of a waste analysis tool, the waste quantities were systematically measured and potential savings in the respective areas determined on the basis of the measurement results. In a second phase, the hotel employees, from the hotel manager to the chef cook, worked together with United Against Waste and Futouris to develop waste avoidance measures and implement them immediately. The project is now being initiated in three other hotels of the group in Gran Canaria. In June 2019, measurements of food waste were started, followed by a workshop where the results are presented and improvements are worked out with the teams.
Furthermore, FTI has joined forces with Futouris and other tour operators to audit animal attractions. This is based on the animal welfare requirements of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). A regional focus for the first audits is on Thailand, the Mediterranean (with a focus on Spain) and the USA.
The FTI GROUP also sees itself as having a social responsibility. Several locations, subsidiaries and brands also mean various social initiatives, which the tour operator is happy to support or initiate. The Group regularly takes part in charity runs, such as the Wings for Life Run, in which 100 percent of the starting money is invested in spinal cord research.
The Group's trainees also have the opportunity to get involved from the start of their career. As part of "Social Project Days", they work voluntarily and during their actual working hours in facilities such as an animal shelter or the Ronald McDonald House at the German Heart Center in Munich.
FTI also equips its hotel brands KAIRABA Hotels & Resorts and Design Plus with products of the "Malaika" label. “Malaika Linens” is a social project in which Egyptian women make towels and bed linen from fine Egyptian cotton. The Cairo-based company has been producing textiles from high-quality materials since 2004. A particular specialty is the additional finishing of textiles in traditional manual work, for example with embroidery or pleats. "Malaika" has now trained about 60 employees for this work, allowing them to learn their own craft and earn their own living, which also makes them independent. "Malaika Linens" not only offers a quality and environmentally friendly product line, but also fair working conditions for Egyptian women and fair pay that can be used to feed the whole family.
The FTI GROUP also supports Tabaluga and the Peter Maffay Foundation, which helps traumatized, chronically ill and disabled children and youths. Starting in mid-November 2018, the tour operator donated 20 euros each for up to 5,000 family bookings with at least one child. A total of 100,000 euros has been raised for the singer's foundation.
FTI GROUP partner sonnenklar.TV is also committed socially - including Fly & Help. With the help of numerous donors, including sonnenklar.TV, Reiner Meutsch's foundation is focusing on building new schools in developing countries. Thanks to the commitment of sonnenklar.TV, the construction of two schools in Nigeria in 2014 and Rwanda in 2017 was possible. This cooperation will be continued in the long term.
Since August 2016, sonnenklar.TV has also been supporting Handicap International, a global aid organization that supports people with disabilities, with numerous activities. For example, " der große sonnenklar.TV Spendentag" in November 2020 raised a total of 212,000 euros for the association. In addition to friends and supporters of Handicap International, who presented their fundraising campaigns and the resulting donations live on sonnenklar.TV throughout the day, customers could also help simply via a free hotline or by booking one of the specially selected donation trips, of which five euros per traveler automatically went to Handicap International.