In 2021, Tourism Kelowna merged its Sustainability and DEI Committees to form a Stewardship Committee, which now oversees the organization's work as it relates to sustainability, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. As an introduction to the committee, we wanted to share some of the initiatives we have been working on during the first part of 2022.
Early in the year, a sub-committee worked to revise our existing Sustainability Pledge to make it more encompassing, reflecting a more holistic view of our commitment as stewards of our region. The new Stewardship Pledge reads:
We foster the preservation and continual restoration of the land, resources, and communities of the Central Okanagan. We continue to take action and make commitments to further diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in our work and in the region we support.
During the first quarter of the year, the Stewardship Committee outlined its activities for 2022 and beyond. One of the primary activities for the months ahead is the completion of a Stewardship Framework. This will be a guiding document that provides Tourism Kelowna with specific objectives and targets to achieve as we continue on our stewardship journey. The completed framework will be made available to our members so they can see the type of initiatives we are working on. We also hope it will inspire local businesses to make similar commitments if they have not yet done so.
Training and Education
This year, Tourism Kelowna will undertake a DEI internal audit, which will provide us with a baseline and show us the types of actions, training, or education that should be undertaken moving forward. The audit is expected to be completed during the second half of 2022.
As a member-based organization, we will also be providing opportunities for our members to benefit from our stewardship-focused work. We are currently working on a couple of stewardship-related sessions and workshops, so stay tuned to our Industry News Centre (be sure to subscribe to our weekly email if you haven't already) for more information as additional details are announced.
Additional Programs and Certifications
- Tourism Kelowna remains a Committed Entity of the Biosphere Program, thereby aligning our organization to the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
- Our organization was part of the pilot program for the Rainbow Registered Guide, which is a network of accredited safe spaces for everyone in the community.
- Our team has completed a number of stewardship initiatives at the Kelowna Visitor Centre (KVC), which include:
- Achieving Platinum Certification through the Sustainable Tourism Program in 2021.
- Receiving accessibility certification through the Rick Hansen Foundation in 2020.
- Partnering with One Tree Planted so that every online or in-person purchase of retail products results in one tree being planted in British Columbia. To date, nearly 9,000 trees have been planted.
- Installing a total of 30 solar panels on the roof of the KVC, generating approximately 26% of the building’s energy needs.
- Offering water-bottle filling stations; since tracking began in 2020, just over 7,500 plastic bottles have been saved.
For more information about Tourism Kelowna's Stewardship Committee, please contact me at email@example.com or at (250) 861-1515 ext. 216.