Time For Accountability

Following the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Intrepid Travel indicated that it believes that the legislation must do more to address climate inaction in the travel & tourism industry, and recommends a three-point action plan on how to make meaningful climate action.

The B Corp certified world-leader in responsible travel’s CEO James Thornton observed that: “The Inflation Reduction Act must serve as a catalyst for major tourism businesses to follow suit with meaningful decarbonization efforts.”

Thornton continued: “The fragile environment that props up the global tourism industry is facing an existential crisis and travel itself is perpetuating the problem.”

While the global travel & tourism industry accounts for 8% to 11% of all global emissions, less than 20% of travel’s private sector have publicly committed to significantly reducing their carbon footprint.

The World Travel & Tourism Council, which governs the tourism private sector under a core mission to raise awareness of the economic and social impact of travel, represents 173 of the most influential travel organizations in the U.S. and the world. Of that list, only 16%* have publicly committed to a science-based carbon reduction target (SBTi) in line with a 1.5-degree future.

Furthermore, according to Skift research, only 10 of +1,100 global airlines and 20 of +400,000 global hotels have joined the UN’s Race to Zero Campaign, a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.

Said Thornton: “While the bill marks the most significant investment in the pursuit of a low carbon economy, for the travel industry, it reminds us of the slow progress being made and the urgency to have radical collaboration and step up our action to make a real difference to the future of the planet.”

And Intrepid’s CEO made it clear: “We must hold ourselves and the travel industry accountable.”

Intrepid Travel’s recommended 3-Point Action Plan for Climate Change:

  • Require emission measurement in line with Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Protocol. GHG Protocol standards and guidance enables companies to measure, manage and report greenhouse gas emissions from their operations and value chains.
  • Commit to science-based targets through the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). The SBTi provides companies with a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The SBTi is a collaboration between the UN Global Compact, CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
  • Halve emission and reach net zero by 2050 and stop normalizing carbon offsetting as a form of decarbonization. The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism was signed by more than 300 global tourism firms, all of whom agreed to halve their emissions by 2030 and reach net zero before 2050. Offsetting is no longer enough. Commit to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than your company creates.

Darrell Wade, co-founder of Intrepid Travel and vice-chair of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) will be in New York for Climate Week in September.

  • Numbers are sourced from public records available on WTTC & SBTi as of Aug. 4, 2022

Go to www.intrepidtravel.com for more.