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Travel & Tourism companies 20% cleaner than 2005
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Travel & Tourism companies 20% cleaner than 2005

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Many of the world’s biggest Travel & Tourism companies have improved their carbon efficiency by 20% in the last ten years and are on course to cut CO2 emissions by 50% by 2035.

'Travel & Tourism 2015; Connecting Global Climate Action', published by the World Travel & Tourism Council, outlines the preparedness of the sector for climate change alleviation measures and demonstrates the progress that has been made by the world’s leading airlines, airports, hotels, cruise lines, car rental companies and technology companies in the last decade.

The report concludes that the world’s biggest Travel & Tourism companies, as represented by the Members of WTTC, are:

20% more carbon efficient today than they were in 2005
On course to cut CO2 emissions by 50% from 2005 to 2035
On course to reach the target of 25% reduction by 2020

In 2009, The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) published “Leading the Challenge on Climate Change”, which identified key themes and action areas required to meet the target of reducing our 2035 carbon emissions by 50% based on 2005 levels. In the run up to the COP21 climate change talks in Paris at the end of this year, WTTC has reviewed progress against these themes to determine how the sector can build on this progress to respond effectively to the challenges of the future.

The initiatives and progress made to date have reduced carbon emissions to the point where WTTC Member companies are 20% less carbon-intense now than they were in 2005, closely approaching the interim target of 25% intensity reduction in 2020 set in 2009. The progress in reducing carbon intensity can be attributed to several actions across each of the themes identified in 2009:

1.    Accountability and Responsibility. The sector has made strong progress against this theme, particularly in admitting to the challenge of tackling climate change and setting out plans to address and measure it.  Various methodologies for calculating and measuring carbon usage have been developed and more and more companies are engaging with global frameworks for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting such as GRI and CDP. 

2.    Local community sustainable growth and capacity building. WTTC members actively demonstrate on-the-ground action in the form of community engagement, charitable contributions, disaster relief, or conservation efforts. Several WTTC Member programmes address deforestation in particular, while others focus on wider biodiversity protection such as preserving coral reefs, hosting bee colonies on rooftops, managing waste, or ensuring sustainable sourcing.

3.    Educating customers and stakeholders. Most Travel & Tourism companies now have branded sustainability programs, and these often include customer engagement programs 

4.    Greening supply chains. Most WTTC members now have formidable supplier screening and supply chain engagement programs and have developed practical tools to help procurement from local small and medium-sized enterprises as part of this.

5.    Innovation, capital investment and infrastructure. Similar to ESG reporting being the primary step towards accountability and responsibility now, so were the use of operational environmental management systems and green certification schemes our focus in 2009. Most WTTC Member companies have achieved green certification of some type.

The report also outlines the five priority areas to support the overall target of halving emissions by 2035:

Integrating Climate Change and related issues into Business Strategy by disclosing climate change issues in mainstream financial reporting, utilising recognised frameworks and collaborating to harmonise the approach for disclosure within our industries. Commitments will stem from securing leadership from board governance and senior executives.

Supporting the Global Transition to a Low Carbon Economy by joining in the leading practice of establishing an internal price of carbon, focusing on renewables for new investments, seeking low carbon financing mechanisms, contributing to local economies with carbon mitigation, and catalysing the economies of scale to create a virtuous circle.

Strengthening Local Resilience by recognising the value that local natural and cultural heritage has for Travel & Tourism, enhancing the assessment of our operations and forging partnerships to build resilience against climate risks, reducing local drivers of climate change.

Promoting the Value of Responsible Travel by giving travellers the tools to be responsible travellers, encouraging participation in our initiatives, and offering new experiences tied directly to low carbon solutions. We will extend these tools to our business travellers who play an integral role in increasing ESG information from Travel & Tourism companies.

Engaging Across the Value Chain by focussing efforts on the biggest opportunities found across the entire value chain to reduce carbon emissions through mechanisms such as supplier screening and local procurement. Furthermore, Travel & Tourism is in a unique position to build consumer awareness of the world’s key supply chain threats by engaging travellers to link the destinations they visit with the issues back home in their own purchasing decisions as consumers and professionals.











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