The world’s leaders recently gathered at COP26 in Glasgow, where Intrepid Travel championed travel industry-wide decarbonization efforts by releasing a comprehensive measurement guide to empower tour operators to decarbonize their operations.
There are hopes that COP26 will prompt governments and industries to commit to more ambitious climate action, including halving emissions by 2030. Tourism contributes a significant industry-wide carbon footprint – pre-pandemic accounting for 8 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Intrepid Travel is using this moment to call on all tourism businesses to increase their commitment, including measuring and reducing their emissions, in line with a 1.5°C future.
Intrepid’s open-source guide for tour operators to set a science-based target will empower any tour operator with the ability to start measuring their business’ and their supply chain’s carbon footprint. This guide is authored by Intrepid’s Environmental Impact Specialist Dr. Susanne Etti and produced in partnership with industry decarbonization collective Tourism Declares. It is one sector-specific resource that will be released at COP26 to empower tourism businesses to decarbonize, with others including a net zero methodology for hotels and other resources.
“You can’t reduce what you don’t measure and there are few travel companies that really understand the impact they’re having on the planet,” said Intrepid Travel’s Environmental Impact Specialist, Dr Susanne Etti. “The critical step is measuring and then reducing your emission. Without that baseline, it is extremely hard to understand the impact of any decarbonization actions.”
Measurement is a key part of Intrepid’ seven-step climate commitment plan published in January 2020, and the company is the first (and only) global tour operator with a verified target through the Science Based Targets initiative. By sharing an open-source version of its methodology, developed with consultancy Ndevr Environmental (also a contributor to the guide), Intrepid hopes to empower other tour operators to measure their own emissions.
“We wanted to create a science-led tool to move the needle on decarbonization. We cannot solve the climate crisis alone and this type of industry-wide collaboration is critical,” added Dr. Etti.
Intrepid Travel’s Co-founder and Chairman attended COP26
Separately, the company’s Co-founder and Chairman Darrell Wade attended COP26 in his capacity as Vice Chair of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and Chair of the Sustainability Committee to advocate for ambitious industry-wide tourism action on climate change.
Wade has been instrumental in the development of the Glasgow Declaration, which aims to raise the climate ambition of tourism stakeholders and secure strong actions to support the global commitment to halve emissions by 2030 and reach Net Zero as soon as possible before 2050. The Declaration will be officially launched at COP26 on November 4, 2021, with Intrepid Travel a signatory.
Intrepid Travel has been actively collaborating with partners, B Corps and businesses over the past year to advocate for stronger government policies on climate change in the run up to COP26, including:
- The global We Mean Business Coalition alongside 600+ corporations, which have committed to halve emissions by 2030, in line with creating a net-zero economy in line with a 1.5°C future.
- The WWF-Australia Renewables Nation campaign, which calls on the Australian Government to support a renewables-led recovery.
- The Climate Act Now campaign in Australia, which supports a proposed law to ensure the long-term safety, security and prosperity of Australia by achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Intrepid Travel has been taking action on carbon emissions for more than 15 years, and it became carbon neutral in 2010. The company declared a climate emergency and published its seven-point climate plan in early 2020 as a founding signatory of Tourism Declares. Its Science Based Target was verified in October 2020.