The Travel Corporation’s Role in Creating Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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The Travel Corporation (TTC) has recognized its role and responsibility in creating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through its trips and operations. (Photo courtesy of The Travel Corporation.)

The Travel Corporation (TTC) has recognized its role and responsibility in creating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through its trips and operations.

In celebration of Earth Day, TTC and its family of brands are announcing a 5-step Climate Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, and support their continued efforts to achieve the organization’s sustainability goals. To further support the transition to a low-carbon future, TTC and its TreadRight Foundation are investing in two nature-based carbon removal solutions, Project Vesta and GreenWave. TreadRight has also launched a new Impact Hub in an effort to be transparent about the progress made at TTC and its family of brands against the groups’ 11 sustainability goals, while also providing tips to travelers on how they can help.

Climate change is directly linked to an increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere, of which globally, a reported 51 billion tons of GHG emissions are emitted annually. TTC’s Climate Action Plan addresses Goals #1 and #2 of its five-year sustainability strategy, “How We Tread Right,” which targets the carbon footprint of its business.

The goals commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and to sourcing 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources across the organization by 2025. This includes TTC’s 20+ offices, 18 Red Carnation Hotels, 13 Uniworld ships, six accommodations/facilities, 500+ vehicles and more than 1,500 itineraries operated worldwide by the 40 brands including ContikiTrafalgarInsight Vacations and Uniworld.

Since the launch of its first sustainability strategy in 2015, TTC has invested in energy conservation and reducing its environmental impact across its portfolio of brands. This new Climate Action Plan builds on TTC’s progress made to-date and its commitment to continual improvement. Advancements to date include the installation of solar panels in 2020 at the Uniworld head office in Encino, California, the implementation of a 400kW Tesla plant supplying over 95 percent of Xigera Safari Lodge’s energy, which opened December 2020 as part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection and the recent shift to 100 percent renewable electricity by Contiki’s Chateau De Cruix and Haus Schoneck, as well as Red Carnation Hotel’s Ashford Castle, which sits on a 350-acre property.

Looking forward, TTC has committed to carbon neutral offices and business travel beginning January 1, 2022, through its partnership with offset provider South Pole. On the same timeline, Contiki will move a step ahead to become a completely carbon neutral business, meaning unavoidable emissions from all trips departing as of January 1, 2022 will be offset going forward.

“Our TTC Climate Action Plan is not marked by one quick fix, because there isn’t one. It is marked with the need to act now, to learn and adapt as technology and innovation support our need to transition to a low-carbon business,” says Brett Tollman, chief executive of The Travel Corporation, in a press statement. “There is much debate as to the right approach when it comes to decarbonizing travel and tourism, and our position is that this must be a process that begins now and commits to evolving as the solutions continue to improve and become available to us,” he concluded.

The Travel Corporation’s Climate Action Plan consists of five points:

  1. Measure – Measure the emissions from their business and trips.
  2. Reduce – Build on reduction efforts and set ambitious reduction targets by mid-2022.
  3. Remove – Through the TreadRight Foundation, invest in new technology and nature-based solutions to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere.
  4. Offset – Purchase carbon credits to offset unavoidable emissions, including phasing in carbon neutral trips between 2022 – 2030.
  5. Evolve– Continue to learn from others, invest in new technologies and support strategic alliances that enable them and the industry to move to a low carbon economy. 

TTC’s TreadRight Foundation will action step three of its Climate Action Plan in 2021, through an investment of $100,000 into two developing permanent carbon removal projects. Project Vesta aims to accelerate the natural process of weathering to permanently store carbon into rock. GreenWave is studying how kelp can be added to soil to increase its carbon storage potential, while decreasing harmful nitrous oxide emissions on regenerative farms.

“Carbon removal and carbon capture technologies are deeply promising and showing signs of acceleration,” says Shannon Guihan, chief TreadRight & Sustainability officer of The Travel Corporation, in a press statement. “It’s important now, more than ever, that we support science-based pilot projects to explore every possible solution, in addition to reducing our emissions and purchasing verified carbon offsets from our partner South Pole,” she added.

For more information, visit impact.treadright.org.