Environmental sustainability of tourist activities by means of life cycle assessment

Main Presenter: Pedro Villanueva-Rey 

Co-Authors: María Gallego Eduardo Rodríguez Diego Quiñoy Samuel Domegan Lucía Poceiro

Session: Poster Session 1

Tourism activity is not exempt from environmental impacts since it implies travelling (road, air, and sea), accommodation, catering, and activities (social events, cultural visits, adventure, etc.). Commonly, sustainability issues in tourism sector were addressed in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, focusing on transportation from origin up to destination, disregarding accommodation, catering, and activities. Furthermore, up to now, life cycle assessment (LCA) of tourism activity has not been properly addressed because of the poor and limited life cycle inventory data, reluctance of the sector and the lack of a sectorial methodological framework.
The Interreg SUDOE project Greentour — Circular economy and sustainable tourism in destinations of the SUDOE space, delves into the abovementioned issues developing and innovative methodology based on life cycle perspective. In this sense, the proposed approach includes the tourism activity as whole —i.e., from travelling, accommodation, drinking and eating, to the activities carried out in destination. In addition, the project proposes a methodological framework to deal with matters such as life cycle inventory modelling, allocation, system limits and exclusions, end of life, and life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) reporting. Although the project is focused in SUDOE area and the pilot destinations Rías Baixas, Camino Lebaniego and Lloret de Mar (Spain), Guimaraes (Portugal), Ordino (Andorra), and Auvergne (France); the methodology can be used in other destinations, intending to become the reference framework for LCA in the field of tourism.
Apart from the traditional life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) indicators such as climate change, eutrophication potential, acidification, toxicity, etc., the impact pathways were evaluated in terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, linking the LCIA results to the SDGs indicators related to tourism activities.

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