This year’s Earth Day (April 22) theme of #InvestInOur Planet is the most critical call to action in the fight to protect our earth yet.
To secure a future for our planet, the need to take climate action is as definitive as it is urgent. In order to mitigate climate change, humanity must not only drastically reduce the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced, but beyond that, we must endeavor to capture or remove millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year, according to the latest report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
As a global travel provider, we recognize our responsibility to mitigate our impact and to take ambitious climate action. Today, we’re announcing the next step in The Travel Corporation‘s net zero journey: our formal commitment to science-based targets, which will ensure we play our part in reducing emissions in line with keeping the global temperature below a warming of 1.5° C by mid-century. Our targets are currently under review by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and will be announced later this year.
WHAT IS NET ZERO
A state of net zero is one in which the totality of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere are balanced by an equal amount of emissions being removed from the atmosphere. To achieve this, a business must decarbonize through the reduction of Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions to as close to zero emissions as possible, before neutralizing unavoidable emissions from the atmosphere through investments in carbon removal projects. The critical prioritization of emissions reductions, as opposed to offsetting emissions produced, is how net zero goes beyond carbon neutral.
WHAT IS THE SBTI
Through the development of the first global science-based net zero standard, the SBTi is an independent body that enables businesses to set ambitious and robust emissions reductions targets in line with the latest climate science, with the target of halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Through the SBTi, companies can commit to net zero through validated targets that contribute to a healthy, livable planet.
The Travel Corporation (TTC) is a group of 40 travel brands which operate in 70 countries. Our sustainability journey started more than a decade ago, and since that time we have endeavoured to evolve and build on our positive impact, including the acceleration of our climate action efforts in response to the glaring threat of climate change to our planet, communities and wildlife. Following the launch of its 5-year sustainability strategy How We Tread Right in 2020, last year TTC launched its 5-point Climate Action Plan, committing to Measure, Reduce, Remove, Offset, and lastly, to Evolve: which has given us the flexibility to adapt our plan as new guidance and technologies become available.
Implementing science-based targets is an ambitious and critical step towards a more resilient future for our planet, wildlife, the local communities we visit, and for our sector as a whole – and TTC has considerable opportunity for impact. Our Scope 1 + 2 target will tackle the emissions from 500+ vehicles, 13 owned Uniworld ships, 18 Red Carnation Hotels, 5 owned accommodations, 30+ offices and 1 winery. Our Scope 3 target will reduce emissions from waste and water use, business air travel, and our largest Scope 3 source: emissions from our trips. To measure trip emissions from included transport, meals and accommodations, TTC has developed an internal carbon calculator with its methodology publicly available.
INVESTING IN A LOW-CARBON FUTURE
Investments in bold nature-based solutions through carbon finance play a critical role in the fight against climate change. In 2021 as part of point 3 of TTC’s Climate Acton Plan: Remove, TreadRight invested in GreenWave and Project Vesta, two nature-based carbon removal projects which are showing very promising results in their pilot stages. Both provide a long-term, potential permanent carbon removal solution, while creating co-benefits through sustainable food production systems (GreenWave) and ocean de-acidification (Project Vesta).
In addition, TTC and TreadRight have joined forces with VisitScotland and The Travel Foundation in a new project to develop tactics that will shape Scotland as the world’s first net zero destination. In alignment with TTC’s commitment to net zero, this pilot project will evaluate how tour operators and destinations can work together to address travel emissions, and will be instrumental in developing a structured process that will benefit destinations worldwide in the transition to low-carbon.
This ground-breaking project will help to shape a Destination Climate Action Blueprint, being developed as a Glasgow Declaration tourism initiative, of which TTC and its brands are founding signatories. TTC’s role in this project will be to provide critical operational support through our owned assets and brands operating in Scotland. This includes Radical Travel Group’s HAGGiS Adventures and Highland Explorer Tours, Contiki, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Trafalgar and Brendan Vacations, and four owned hotels including Skye Inn, Morag’s Lodge, Laggan Hotel and Red Carnation Hotels’ 5-star Princes Street in Edinburgh, opening later in 2022.
Thanks to our teams and our partners, we’ve made great progress against our 11 sustainability goals since the launch of HWTR in 2020. We look forward to sharing this progress next month through TTC’s first official Impact Report. To learn more about climate action at The Travel Corporation please visit: impact.treadright.org/climate/.