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Environment & Sustainability at the FTI GROUP

Climate and environmental protection initiatives and social projects

As the fourth largest tour operator in Europe, it is very important for the FTI GROUP to integrate sustainability issues into its actions as well as to get involved in the social field. That is why the group participates in numerous initiatives and projects.

Sustainability in the tour operator business

With our headquarters in Munich and the further location in Berlin the FTI GROUP set standards in sustainability. When the group moved into the Green Building in 2010, it was 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 and Berlin. 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 and Berlin 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.

Sustainability in the tour operator business

FTI has constantly increased its range for nutrition-conscious and sustainably oriented holidaymakers and expanded its "Vitality" product line, which was introduced in winter 2016/17. Since 2019, the company relies on the industry-standard certification by the Green Travel Index (GTI) of the independent provider travel bridge. All hotels certified with the GTI are marked with a green leaf in the FTI catalogues and will also be marked accordingly in the booking systems. These hotels commit themselves to comply with specific criteria, such as social responsibility - this includes fair payment for employees - protecting local biodiversity in animals and plants, and offering fresh and regional food and beverages. In addition, the hotels integrate local partners and products.

 

The LAL language schools of the language travel operator LAL, which belongs to the FTI GROUP, are also actively working on a sustainability strategy. Currently, the schools already support charitable organizations and are committed to environmental protection. The school in Cape Town, for example, relies on recycling bins, solar-powered instantaneous water heaters and water-saving shower heads and trains language pupils to use resources sparingly. Volunteer programs are also offered in the area of sustainability.

 

Furthermore 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.

 

As the latest commitment to environmental protection, the FTI GROUP 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.

 

When producing its catalogues and 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: the catalogs can be viewed on the Internet, travel documents are sent to the customer by e-mail and even signatures can be conveniently made on the iPad.

FTI collaboration with Futouris

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.

Support for social projects

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 December 2018 raised a total of 165,333 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.