The Travel Corporation‘s five-point Climate Action Plan will guide how we reach net zero.
At The Travel Corporation (TTC) and our family of award-winning travel brands, the health and wellbeing of the world we have the great privilege of exploring is paramount. The fact that that which offers us so much – our planet – must be taken care of through action, is clear to us.
This action began in 2008, when we established our TreadRight Foundation to offer financial support for projects that align with the planet, its people and its wildlife. Our efforts have evolved over the years, and in September 2020 we launched our new sustainability strategy based on 11 measurable goals. How We Tread Right (HWTR) addresses TTC and our brands’ impact on climate, food, waste, experiences, diversity and wildlife.
In 2021, we became a launch signatory of the Glasgow Declaration, which obliges signatories to commit to net zero. In 2022, we submitted our science-based targets to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The targets are currently under review. This updated version of our five-point Climate Action Plan reflects our net zero ambitions and science-based targets.
Our plan is not marked by one quick fix, because we do not believe there is only one. It is marked with a need to act now coupled with our commitment to learn and adapt as technology and innovation help us in our transition to a low-carbon business, both at our facilities as well as on our trips. Our plan builds on progress made to date and evaluates how we become a part of the global effort to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century, as outlined by the International Panel on Climate Change.
We continue to view verifiable carbon offsets as a tool to offset select emissions. However, we will not use them to achieve the reduction targets as set out in our net zero journey.
The Travel Corporation has a significant direct carbon footprint from our owned assets (Scope 1 + 2 emissions). This represents what we call our “Business Emissions” and includes emissions from 20+ offices, 18 Red Carnation Hotels, 13 Uniworld ships, 6 accommodations/facilities and 500+ vehicles. We also include our employees’ air business travel as part of our business emissions.
The Travel Corporation brands operate more than 1,500 itineraries worldwide, an operation that has a carbon footprint of its own, and what we refer to as our “Trip Emissions.” In 2020, TTC worked with a third-party consultant to develop a customized “Trip Carbon Calculator” to measure the average carbon footprint of our trips, and this tool has since been peer reviewed to ensure its reliability. That same year we attained an average carbon footprint per passenger per day by measuring 165 trips across all regions and brands. Our tool was developed in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and uses best practices available to date. However, we recognize that measuring trip emissions is an evolving process and a journey that many of our peers are on as well. To that end, we commit to collaborating with the industry and remaining transparent regarding our methodology, which is publicly available here. We will review and update the carbon footprint of our trips every two years using an updated Trip Carbon Calculator with the latest emission factors.
In 2022 we submitted our science-based targets to be reviewed by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). We will update this Climate Action Plan once the targets are approved.
Project Vesta’s mission is to harness the natural power of the oceans to remove a trillion tonnes of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Their carbon removal solution accelerates the natural weathering process of olivine, a volcanic material, and places it on beaches and at coastal areas where ocean wave action stores carbon within rock on the sea floor. Project Vesta estimates that if deployed on just 0.25% of global shelf seas, olivine could capture 1 gigatonne (GT) of carbon dioxide per year. One GT is the amount of carbon that could be sequestered by more than 16 billion tree seedlings grown for 10 years. A grant from TreadRight will support lab studies that will monitor the impact of olivine on coastal ecosystems. The results from these studies will be made available to the scientific community to demonstrate that coastal enhanced weathering is a safe intervention.
GreenWave is a regenerative ocean farming organization studying how kelp can be added to soil to increase its carbon storage potential while decreasing harmful nitrous oxide emissions on regenerative land farms. While there have been many attempts to increase soil’s natural ability to store carbon (known as soil organic carbon), one unintended effect is the release of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The use of kelp as a soil additive is emerging as a tool to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and create a net climate benefit. TreadRight’s grant will go towards validating GreenWave’s research on the link between kelp, nitrous oxide and carbon emissions through a one-year field study using kelp grown on the GreenWave farm as a soil additive for regenerative land-based farms in the Northeast, USA.
We continue to view verifiable carbon offsets as a tool to offset select emissions. However, we will not use them to achieve the reduction targets as set out in our net zero journey. In partnership with South Pole, a leading offset provider, we will offset select emissions by purchasing verified carbon credits. TTC will not support any offset project that has not been verified by a reputable international standard, such as Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standard, or validated as an Australian Carbon Credit Unit. Beginning in 2022 we will:
♦ Offset emissions from TTC offices and employee air business travel
♦ Offset emissions from all Contiki, and Radical Travel Group trips
The emissions from TTC Offices and employee air business travel will be offset through a verified forest conservation project in Victoria, Australia. By protecting Victoria’s Annya State Forest against further clearing and re-vegetating it with native flora, this project enhances biodiversity and permanently protects habitat for vulnerable native species while storing carbon within the rehabilitated ecosystem.
We will back up our carbon neutral claims by publishing our externally verified carbon footprint, demonstrating our reduction efforts and publishing our annual offset amounts. We’ll continue to monitor global or leading carbon neutral labels that may apply to our business in future.
Our first Impact Report published May 2022 details the progress The Travel Corporation’s family of brands has made against our 11 sustainability goals since the launch of our sustainability strategy How We Tread Right in 2020. Learn more >