Travalyst exists to accelerate the positive impact of the travel and tourism industry.
As the organisation overseeing the delivery of the Travalyst coalition’s vision and mission, we recognise the role we must play in tackling the climate crisis. Therefore, we are committing to measuring and reducing our carbon footprint year on year to achieve net zero by 2030.
The target limit set out in the Paris Agreement – a 1.5°C increase in global temperatures – will still inevitably lead to a worldwide shift in our weather patterns and biodiversity. This, in turn, will negatively impact us all in the way we live. The frightening thing is that we are on course for a 3°C increase; this is a global crisis that requires all of us to act now.
Each industry has a role to play to meaningfully respond to climate change. This includes the travel and tourism industry, which accounts for at least 8% of the world’s total carbon footprint. It is our responsibility to work together – with stakeholders from across the industry – to influence systems change and meaningfully reduce those emissions.
We believe that travel can, and must, be a catalyst for good when it comes to climate change. If we can tackle the climate emergency head-on, as an industry, we can increase the positive impact travel can bring. If recent events have taught us anything, it is that we are more interconnected and vulnerable than we realised and that acting fast, collectively, matters. That means working together to redesign the way we travel and operate to have a greater positive impact on us and the world.
Reducing industry emissions is one of our core goals. First and foremost however, we’re looking at ourselves – the Travalyst organisation and employees – to ensure that we understand our own impact, and devise a plan for how we can reduce that impact to net zero1. We certainly aren’t perfect, but we are learning how to get there.
1 Want a cheat sheet for what net-zero and other carbon-related terms really mean? See the download at the bottom of this page
We started by finding out what our carbon emissions have been since the Travalyst organisation’s inception2. Given our small size and remote operating structure, we acknowledge that it may be simpler to measure the Travalyst organisation’s footprint compared with others. Nevertheless, we believe that every organisation, no matter how small, needs to know their footprint and ultimately reduce it. By knowing what emissions we put out, we can strive to lower them each year, and commit to reaching zero.
That’s why we are working with the sustainability consultancy ecollective to measure and reduce our footprint. By making small but effective changes, we believe that we can reduce the carbon emitted per employee each year in a financially responsible way.
2 Travalyst was set up in September 2019 which means that a significant amount of our emission-related operations were suspended due to COVID-19. This accounts for most of 2020 and 2021 and means that our emissions reductions are higher than anticipated. As the world begins to recover from COVID-19, we expect that our emissions reductions will not be as high in subsequent years.
In our first year of operation [2019/20], each of our employees had an average annual footprint (at work) of 1065kg CO2e. What does that mean? Here are some things that you can compare that to:
Using 2019 -20 as our base year, we commit to reducing our emissions each year by 8% to achieve net zero by 2030.
To achieve this, we intend to take the following steps:
1. Measure our footprint: Supported by ecollective, we have designed a framework to measure Travalyst’s carbon footprint. The framework individually measures the footprint to a high degree of accuracy taking into account every element of the organisation, the quantity, the geographic location, etc. We have accounted for emissions across scopes 1, 2 and 3 as per the latest guidance from the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol and the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Methodology with detail on scope, data and approach can be found below.
2. Set ambitious but achievable targets: In line with the SBTi guidance we have set targets that are aligned with limiting global temperatures to a 1.5°C increase. Travalyst is committed to measuring and reducing absolute emissions per employee by 8% each year. For any of the remaining emissions, we will remove them by investing the same amount in meaningful and credible offsets or carbon removal projects (see more information in the next step). The end result is that the Travalyst Secretariat will achieve net zero carbon emissions.
3. Deliver a meaningful action plan: To achieve our targets, Travalyst will align with SBTi guidance and will implement an abatement plan which prioritises avoidance and reduction over compensation. The steps we’ll take are:
a) Avoid: As part of our collaboration with ecollective, we have developed a carbon reduction strategy which identifies areas in which the Travalyst Secretariat can reduce and, at times, avoid carbon emissions completely. There will be few areas where we can fully prevent emissions from being created in the first place, however, given that the Travalyst Secretariat operates with a predominant work from home structure, we have been able to avoid emissions from areas such as operating our own office, no staff commuting, priority on virtual events, etc.
b) Reduce: For each business decision we make, we will find ways to reduce the intensity and/or extent of resulting emissions that cannot be completely avoided. Some of the actions we will do include investing in Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) (see this video for more information on what SAF is) to reduce the emissions of our travel footprint, prioritising running virtual events over in-person events wherever possible, and reducing air travel and prioritising train travel wherever possible.
c) Restore: Along with the efforts we can take internally to improve our practices, we recognise the role that the Travalyst Secretariat must play in supporting measures taken to restore and protect vital ecosystems. These are the ecosystems that the tourism industry depends on and it is essential that efforts in resilience building, adaptation and disaster response are championed and driven forward. Travalyst’s mission is to ensure that tourism has a positive impact on people and destinations; unlocking the industry’s potential as a major contributor to a healthy and resilient planet. To start, Travalyst has brought together a global alliance of leading travel and tourism service providers to deliver unified sustainability reporting; making it easier for travellers and travel providers to make better choices – for themselves and the planet.
d) Compensate: For any remaining emissions that cannot be avoided, reduced and/or restored, the Travalyst Secretariat commits to compensation measures in order to accelerate our transition to net-zero emissions. As a last resort, the Travalyst Secretariat will opt to compensate remaining emissions that are still being released into the atmosphere through a mixture of high quality offsets and carbon removal following guidance from the Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting. All offsetting in our abatement portfolio will be verifiable and correctly accounted for, have a low risk of non-additionality, reversal, and creating negative unintended consequences.
4. Align efforts and advocate for a just and fast transition to net zero: The climate emergency requires a coordinated approach to achieve the accelerated pace and scale necessary to tackle the crisis. Travalyst has aligned with industry-leading and global efforts, such as the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism with the aim to hold ourselves accountable, share learnings and champion consistent messaging, targets and approaches.
Calculating our own carbon footprint can be a little complex, as almost everything we do has some sort of footprint. To make sure we do it right, we partnered with ecollective to help us measure and improve our carbon footprint. Their calculations have been peer-reviewed by industry and are based on the latest data. This data is updated annually in order to improve accuracy over time.
For this project, we followed the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) and applied emission factors provided by DEFRA and other data sources. This study measures the greenhouse gas emissions of the business. The areas in scope for this study include:
Carbon calculations are never perfect but our aim is to make the measurements and our abatement plan better each year. As new guidelines, protocols and better data are developed, we will revise our measurement framework, targets and abatement plan to ensure our climate action plan remains ambitious and up-to-date. To keep ourselves accountable and open to critique, we are happy to share our methodology. Just email us or ecollective to find out more.
A team of self-confessed carbon geeks, ecollective is committed to helping businesses fight the climate crisis. They do this by making it as simple as possible to measure carbon performance today and providing the tools to improve it tomorrow; helping to find sustainable solutions that benefit the business, the customer and the planet.