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Climate Change and Tourism in the Pacific Islands: Dr. Susanne Etti

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Conversations around Climate Change and Tourism in the Pacific Islands: Dr. Susanne Etti, Global Environmental Impact Manager, Intrepid Travel, Shares Her Perspective

You may have attended our recent webinar Meet the Experts: Climate Change & Tourism in the Pacific Islands – What Travel Businesses Can Do To Help? with a lively discussion that included climate impacts in the Pacific Islands, around carbon removal, the Glasgow Declaration, how to set up a Climate Action plan in your business,and local solutions.

If you missed it, watch the full webinar here  and read on for  key takeaways from Dr Susanne Etti, Global Environmental Impact Manager, Intrepid Travel

On Intrepid Travel’s involvement with the Glasgow Declaration: 

Susanne Etti

In January 2020, Intrepid Travel was part of the founding of Tourism Declares Climate Emergency, which offers a platform for global signatories to commit to and implement a climate action plan within 12 months.

Less than two years later, Tourism Declares joined the drafting committee for the  Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism, which was launched at COP26 – the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Intrepid Travel and others who sign the declaration support halving emissions by 2030 and commit to a measurable climate action plan.

 On reconciling the goal of halving emissions while growing business:

Intrepid Travel has been carbon neutral since 2010, at a time when most businesses simply were not there yet. Impacts of climate change are now seen all over the globe, from floods to wildfires, and these are affecting destinations and people worldwide. 

But, being carbon neutral is no longer enough.  Using science-based targets commitment in our Climate Action Plan, we’ve made changes to partnerships with suppliers, swapped internal flights for rail travel, and use electric vehicles whenever possible. In some cases, choosing fewer emissions actually creates a better use experience, for example, opting for a river cruise instead of a flight in an itinerary. Soon all physical offices will use renewable energy, and we are also measuring emissions from staff commuting, working from home, and business travel.

On opportunities for the tourism sector to take climate action: 

Transportation is where it is possible to have a massive impact, since it takes up to 80% of the emission profile. Another opportunity is choosing accommodations that use renewable energy, and more generally, bringing suppliers onto the climate action journey through collaboration. Now that awareness around climate action has increased due to the impacts of rising energy costs and natural disasters, there are more opportunities for making changes, connecting people to nature, and sharing resources with businesses that do not have the internal capacity to take the next step.  

Intrepid recently published their carbon measurement guide, which outlines how they measure their emissions in their offices and on trips, which is often a challenge for smaller tour operators. Especially with the challenges the entire travel sector has faced the last two years, many smaller companies may not have been able to invest in responsible business practices. Collaborating on climate initiatives is the path forward.

 “I truly believe that by empowering local people through sustainable travel experiences we can really make travel better for everyone and simultaneously take care of our planet.” – Dr Susanne Etti, Intrepid Travel

To summarize, as a travel business ready to take climate action, check out:

To watch the full session, click on the picture below:


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