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Meet Israel D. Duarte Herrera, 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.
Location: Canary Islands, Spain
Languages: Spanish plus intermediate Portuguese and English
Total auditing experience: 5 years
Travelife auditing experience: 3 years
Specialisations: Sustainability, health and safety, fishing
Auditing fields: Accommodation
During university studies in biology, Israel gained a deeper understanding of the importance of sustainability and how easily human actions can affect the biological systems on our planet. He was one of the founding students of a conversation group at the university and worked on a project that looked at reintroducing traditional agricultural methods that were more effective for protecting biodiversity.
After completing his studies he worked as a sustainable fishing consultant, a role that saw him onboard different commercial fishing boats to help them ensure that catches were more sustainable, and to improve their general environmental impacts from water, energy and waste. Living and working in the Canary Islands allowed Israel to see that whilst tourism was essential for the local economy, it could have negative impacts if not managed properly. This led him to becoming a Travelife auditor, something that has enabled him to share his knowledge with hotels so that they have the best chance of improving their impacts. He finds it rewarding when a property he is working with really wants to learn, and that the most successful properties are the ones that are open to receiving and acting on his advice to go beyond the Travelife minimum requirements.
“…any company that is interested in changing so they live more peacefully with the environment and the beings that inhabit it, has to start the process by seeking out information and advice from those who have the experience and knowledge to guide them through the process.”
Israel D. Duarte Herrera
Israel says that training and information is a fundamental pillar of being more sustainable, and that once a business has understood the importance of being more sustainable and how that can be achieved, spreading the word is vital so that more and more individuals and entities are working towards a better future. He therefore feels that investing time and resources in ensuring all stakeholders (customers, guests, suppliers and community) are aware of the issues and have the opportunity to collaborate on solving them is something that sets businesses apart in terms of their success.
We asked Israel about the most innovative or interesting initiative he has seen whilst auditing for Travelife. He says that a resort on Sal Island in Cape Verde really caught his attention due to their efforts to protect sea turtles. The property was close to one of the island’s most important nesting beaches so they implemented an annual strategy to protect the nests, first working with local biologists to locate where eggs had been laid, then collaborating with other businesses and the community to build protective barriers around each area. Finally, the property would engage their guests by giving them regular updates on the status of the nests, thus helping to educate more people about the importance of wildlife conservation and of being a responsible traveller.
Israel's top tip for sustainable living
You can have a significant impact by focusing on how you buy and consume goods, essentially changing your buying habits so that you are supporting sustainable businesses and reducing emissions. For example, planning what you will consume over a given time so you can buy a product in bulk to reduce packaging, or buying vegetables when they are naturally in season so that less resources are used to produce and ship them.
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