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Meet David Andrés Ortegón-Martínez, a Travelife Approved Auditor
Each month we feature an interview with a Travelife Approved Auditor. We have around 60 independently contracted auditors based around the world that must undergo an intensive training programme before they can audit with us. To continue carrying out audits for Travelife they must complete annual refresher training and a yearly performance review. Click here to find out more about our requirements for auditors.
Languages: Spanish, French and English plus basic Greek
Total auditing experience: 12 years
Travelife auditing experience: 2 years
Specialisations: Sustainability, quality management, environmental management, health and safety, sustainable agriculture and forestry
Auditing fields: Accommodation, agriculture, food processing, tour operators, destinations
David has been working with sustainability standards and certification for the past 15 years. He began as an auditor and programme manager, then implemented sustainability programmes at various businesses as a sustainability director and consultant. David’s career has seen him working with a variety of tourism, agriculture and food companies throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
His experience working with industrial, government and commercial organisations has enabled him to understand how each sector plays their part in a more sustainable future, but his real passion is for the tourism industry due to the vast reach it has in terms of impacts on communities and the environment. He believes that the tourism sector can remain competitive and profitable provided it embraces the power it has to affect real global change, but this will require a strong and lasting effort, something that will pay significant dividends for economies, societies and the planet.
David says that sustainability should be the pillar of any successful business operation. That means that it is embedded in a company’s strategic plan and part of their vision for being an industry leader. He believes that using sustainability as a management tool has a lot to offer the hospitality sector, but only if it is adopted at the highest levels of any organisation and adapted so that it IS relevant to the specific conditions and needs of each location. That ensures that any goals a business sets are achievable and meaningful.
“…sustainability should be embedded in a company’s strategic plan and be an integral part of their vision for being an industry leader.”
David Andrés Ortegón-Martínez
He has found that the ingrained cycle of continuous improvement in sustainable business operations makes companies more competitive and more likely to survive difficulties. He says that this is because sustainability management, by definition, involves important disciplines such as regular performance measurements, continual adjustments to meet targets and transparent reporting. All of this leaves a business, and their leadership, in a strong well-informed position to respond quickly and effectively to external events and market changes that can hurt organisations that are less dynamic.
David finds visiting new places and sharing points of view with people from different backgrounds to be the most rewarding part of his role as a Travelife auditor. One of the most effective projects he has seen was called ‘Recycling makes Sense’, an initiative developed by a hotel chain in destinations that lacked local recycling facilities. This involved collecting recyclable waste from the homes of resort staff then selling it to raise money for community projects, resulting in the dual benefit of supporting local people whilst solving a waste management problem, all the while instilling a culture of recycling in over 4,000 of the chain’s employees.
Top tips from David for sustainable living
Think before you act! All our actions as individuals and companies have positive and negative impacts on our environment and our community, so try to generate positive impacts with your actions.
Each time someone makes a decision to be proactive about sustainability it contributes to a positive impact on our communities and the environment, so try to take an active role where you live.
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