‘Responsible Snack Bar’ Project (Spain)

The Spanish Biodiversity Foundation (Fundacion Biodiversidad) of the  Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, prepared a ‘Decalogue of Good Environmental Practices’ and launched a campaign asking beach snack bars (called ‘chiringuitos’ in Spanish) to adopt it by signing a pledge. To give emphasis to this campaign, the ‘Responsible snack bar award’ was also launched for the first time in November 2012. 6 awards were given with cash prizes to the winners. The cash prize together with the marketing advantage of being a responsible snack bar (they have the right to display the sign), provide economic and market incentives. So far, 526 snack bars have signed the pledge.

The second edition of the project was launched in June 2013.



Place / Location Spain
Commencement Date 2012
Duration Ongoing
Theme Prevention
Type of Initiative Economic and Market Based Instruments
Initiated by Fundacion Biodiversidad,  Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment
Involved Stakeholders 526 beach snack bars
Funding/Financial Support Fundacion Biodiversidad, Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment
Success Rate Very Successful
Case Study prepared by

Víctor Gutiérrez López

Projects Coordinator

Fundación Biodiversidad

c/ Fortuny, 7 bajo

28010 Madrid

Submitted by

Demetra Orthodoxou, ISOTECH Ltd

MARLISCO Partner 12

What is at Stake?

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment has in its activity programme several proposals regarding Coastal Policy:

• Reform the Coastal Law, in order to fit together the development of economic activities and legal security with the enforcement of coastal protection.

• Strengthen the protection of coastal areas and the public water domain, and recover the coastal areas damaged by natural or artificial causes.

• Increase the value of the beaches through public awareness campaigns for the general public.

• Protect the marine environment through the promotion of Marine Protected Areas.

Consequently, the Department of Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea focuses its policy on the idea that a coast protected in a sustainable manner is fully compatible with the economic activities and usage within it.

For this reason, the Fundación Biodiversidad (Biodiversity Foundation) launched a programme to further improve the sustainable good practices on the business activity of the so-called “chiringuitos” (traditional beach bars serving food, snacks or drinks on the beach) by the promotion of the “Decalogue of Good Environmental Practices”. In this context, taking into account the need for awareness and training and as an incentive for the chiringuitos to adhere to the Decalogue, the Fundación Biodiversidad launched the first edition at the national level of the “Responsible Chiringuito Awards” focused on awarding those activities that were considered exemplary and a model for others.

What is the Scale of the Problem?

The Coast is one of the most complex and vulnerable areas of the planet. The presence of natural resources in these areas implies the development of various activities and uses competing with each other including: space to dwell, infrastructure sites, transmitter/receiver of discharges, national defense, natural areas, historic and cultural heritage, mining, industry, transport, trade and tourism.

The confluence of uses and activities causes population growth in coastal areas and therefore increases the pressures on the environment. One of the main activities that has a considerable influence on the coast and has a high economic weight within the Spanish economy is tourism. European tourism is mainly concentrated on the Mediterranean coasts, Spain being one of the most visited countries. In addition, 75 per cent of the national journeys are concentrated in coastal provinces.

Hence, we can conclude that the Spanish coast is affected by many diverse pressures, mostly associated with its socio-economic development, that affect its whole integrity.

Consequently, the Fundación Biodiversidad considered that promoting sustainable economic development of the chiringuitos (comprising owners, customers and beach users) was an excellent way to raise environmental consciousness and increase public awareness of the need to protect our shores.

Project/ Activity Results:

For the first edition of the programme (tourist season from June-September 2012)

• 526 beach bars in seven regions joined the “Decalogue of Good Environmental Practices”.

• 55 beach bars signed up for the first edition of the “Responsible Chiringuitos Awards”.

• Six awards given for a total amount of 24,000 euros for initiatives already put in place and for new ideas.

• 4,000 visits to the website of the initiative (http://www.fundacion-biodiversidad.es/programaplayas/decalogo-y-premios).

• Regional Federations of Chiringuitos and local governments supported greatly the dissemination of the programme.

• High impact in press through press releases, social networks and articles in paper and online.

For the second edition of the programme, the goals are:

• 1,100 chiringuitossigning and joining the “Decalogue of Good Environmental Practices”.

• 125 beach bars signing up for the second edition of the “Responsible Chiringuitos Awards”.

• All coastal regions with at least one chiringuito joining the Decalogue.

• Develop new activities and new awareness material for the programme using the previous experience achieved from the first edition.

• Diffusion of compiled best practices from the chiringuitos.

The project focuses on the coast, more specifically in establishments that are on the beach, whose economic activity affects a wider area.

Success and Fail Factors and Lessons Learned:

The “Coast Conservation” programme within the Fundación Biodiversidad has achieved good results like, for instance, the high number of establishments that has signed the “Decalogue of Good Environmental Practices”. These beach bars are located within seven regions of the Spanish coast, therefore accomplishing a wide dissemination of the project at the national level.

This success was achieved thanks to the dissemination and promotion of the programme among different media, both print and digital, and thanks to the activity of a technical assistant who visited many of the beach bars, as well as regional associations and local governments promoting and encouraging them to join this initiative by joining the Decalogue and signing up for the Awards. One of the crucial factors within the dissemination of the project was the involvement and commitment of several federations, associations and groups of beach bars that encouraged participation in the project among their members.

In the last awards edition 2012, an honorable mention was given to these beach bar associations to acknowledge their dissemination effort, and this year, 2013, it has been proposed to add a new award category which would include proposals submitted by federations or associations of chiringuitos to encourage these organizations to manage their economic development in a sustainable manner.

Regarding weakness, several chiringuitosdid not join the initiative due to their lack of interest or because they feel reluctant to adhere to various topics of the Decalogue. Some of them did not really have more ambitions than meeting the environmental legal limits imposed by the Spanish National law or local regulations. On the other hand, many beach bars did not want to cooperate with any innovative environmental initiative coming from the Central

Government, believing that this could hamper the development of their business. In addition, in some regions there has been in the recent past some irregularities regarding the size of this establishments; this did not help with their collaboration with the project.

This project has been quite innovative since no national project has involved these establishments till now. Thus, there is no centralized data about the location of the chiringuitos on the Spanish coast, or an official estimation of their total number on the beaches. This may also be due to the fact that there is no precise definition of “chiringuito”, adding confusion to the analysis (some chiringuitos in the southern regions would not be treated as such in northern regions).

In the first edition, different authorities were contacted to give these data, and there was also direct contact with the chiringuitos and their associations. So now, for the 2nd edition, there is a much broader view of the chiringuitos on the Spanish Coast. For instance, each year, permissions for the installation of the chiringuitos are renewed following the 1988 Coastal Law, so these figures may vary from year to year. However, with the new reform of the Coastal Law, these authorizations will be extended to several years so the data obtained will be more durable.

Additional Information on Finances:

The Responsible Snack Bars Project (or the Coastal Conservation Programme) is developed and funded by the Fundación Biodiversidad. The budget of this project in 2012 was 61,000 euros. For 2013 the budget amount is 50,000 Euros.

Assessment of Project/ Activity Sustainability:

The Responsible Snack Bars Project has a very high environmental and social commitment.

Responsible Chiringuitos Awards and the Decalogue of Good Environmental Practices promote the development of sustainable activities ensuring that both, owners of these businesses and customers, become aware of the need to protect the coast.

There were two kinds of categories in the first edition of the awards 2012: already developed initiatives and new proposals for responsible initiatives. Within the already developed initiatives, recycling and waste management can be highlighted (waste separation, used oil recycling, furniture collection, reduce smoke emissions, optimize the consumption of water by the use of various devices, collection of rain water and water re-use). It boosted the efficiency and sustainability in the use of energy from renewables, and the use of sustainable materials and reuse in the construction to ensure integration with the environment. Another assessment criterion for the beach bars applying for the award, was whether they were respectful with the environmental regulations, noise pollution and air pollution.

On the other hand, the new initiatives included proposed and developed environmental awareness projects, among which the following can be highlighted: volunteer days, beach cleaning, awareness posters, waste collection campaigns, bird watching, workshops, planting trees, environmental information points, employees awareness or promotion of bicycle use by installing the loan and parking infrastructures.

The project also promotes the consumption of local ecologic and organic products, working with suppliers and local cooperatives.

As for the social commitment, it promotes the creation of disable access to the beach and disabled toilets as well as encourages local employment and employment of vulnerable groups, collaborating with different organizations working in this field.

So, it can be concluded that this project has a broad impact on an environmental and social scale, since the aim is to achieve the sustainable economic development of these beach bars, protect and preserve the Spanish coastline, while incorporating social aspects.

How Transferable is the Project/ Activity to other European Countries/Seas?

The aim of this project is very clear and concrete: to achieve sustainable economic development of activities taking place on the beach, in order to preserve and protect the coast. Currently, environmentally sustainable policies must be integrated in the development of economic activities on the coast where accumulation of activities may create a high pressure environmentally speaking. One of these activities with a high impact in the European coast, mainly in the Mediterranean coast, is tourism. This project would benefit coastal protection across Europe, protecting and increasing the value of their business on the beach.

Due to the fact that this project is mainly focused on the implementation of a “Decalogue of Good Environmental Practices” and the launch of a “Responsible Chiringuitos Award” for different categories, the implementation is simple and its transfer to other European countries does not require a major change in the structure of the programme, thus adaptation could be fairly straightforward. It would require the commitment of an entity in each of the countries determined to implement the programme in a way that suits the socio-economic and natural physical characteristic of the country, and to launch these awards and Decalogue, plus to streamline the programme between their establishments. Perhaps this project could be more feasible in countries of the Mediterranean basin, where such establishments and economic exploitation is more common and similar to that given in the Spanish coast, since there are not many businesses of this type in the Atlantic European countries.

This project is a simple proposal that can have a very positive impact on the coast. The establishments on the beach will be set as environmental landmarks on the coast for beach users.

Available documentation and further information


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