07 Oct

Carbon emissions and tourism as we approach COP26

It’s almost 12 months since ABTA launched our Tourism for Good report our roadmap for embedding sustainability into the recovery. Heavy restrictions on travel for much of the last year has meant that for many businesses, understandably, their focus has been on survival. That said, companies clearly haven’t stood still, with a number of Members releasing their sustainability strategies in recent weeks.

Next month, with the UK hosting the international climate conference COP 26 in Glasgow, attention will be on the commitments businesses and governments make. They will be scrutinised to see if they will create fundamental shifts in how to cut carbon emissions and increase resilience against the disruptive consequences of climate change. This is an important time for tourism to demonstrate how it is decarbonising, and to learn from other sectors.

Clearly transportation is a significant part of the industry’s emissions, and ABTA is working with Sustainable Aviation on the transition to a low carbon aviation industry. 

But it is also important to look at all the of ways travel businesses emit carbon - everything from hotel operations to retail stores, office premises to excursions. For many ABTA Members, these can be the areas where you can have the greatest influence. 

We are supporting Members by helping you to develop a sustainability approach which is right for your business. Our support programme provides a practical five-step process for adopting a sustainability approach to business. In addition, Travelife for Accommodation, run by ABTA, is an international sustainability certification programme for hotels. 

Earlier this week, ABTA held a workshop on carbon measurement, where Members from across the industry learnt about tackling climate change, heard from other travel companies on how they are measuring and reducing their emissions and looked at an example carbon measurement tool. A recording of the event is available here you will find it in the Environmental issues section.

We will be holding a free webinar for ABTA Members during COP26. The event ‘Decarbonising tourism’ will showcase action across the industry to transition towards net zero. You can register to attend here.

You can read more about how tourism is tackling climate change here.