Our Climate Action Plan
We are privileged to be a launch partner and signatory of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism.
It is encouraging to see so many travel businesses are committing to take action on climate change. We firmly believe that tourism is a force for good; distributing global wealth, employing 10% of the world’s workforce and enhancing cross-cultural understanding. By promoting a green recovery, all tourism entities can ensure that the sector thrives, whilst protecting the biodiversity and global communities on which the industry depends.
As environmental consultants dedicated to the travel industry, TerraVerde works with clients to improve their sustainability. Our mission is to further the values we hold dear; of environmental protection, diversity, inclusion and equality. We are pleased to support colleagues across the travel, tourism and hospitality space at any point on their green journey.
Our Climate Action Plan is aligned with the declaration’s five pathways to cut tourism emissions in half over the next decade and reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050:
We pride ourselves on accurately measuring the carbon footprint of any travel, tourism or hospitality organisation, as well as its products. We have also carefully measured all aspects of our own business which breaks down as follows for 2021:
In 2021 we reduced our year-on-year carbon footprint per employee (FTE) by:
*A note for transparency: TerraVerde was founded in 2020 so this is our base year. Carbon “Intensity” is measured per employee (FTE) because turnover would have resulted in an unrealistically large reduction.
TerraVerde is a low impact company, with all team members working remotely and using a green energy supplier during 2021. 100% of our electricity is from renewables, with 150% of our gas usage offset. We are continually evaluating our options for a green gas supplier in the UK and have carbon budgeted that this will be available in 2024.
We are taking the following steps to reduce the operational impact of our business:
Minimising Air Travel
- TerraVerde recognise air travel as a key risk in reaching our own decarbonisation goals. Whilst being all too aware of the associated emissions levels, our mission remains one of creating awareness and giving advice and support to our partners in multiple locations. Some of these inevitably require face to face engagement. We also take the pragmatic view that aviation is foundational to the health of the global travel industry and should not be abandoned at the very moment that it is investing in transformational efforts to transition to a decarbonised future. Therefore, we undertake to carefully evaluate the impact that our presence in person would have on the promotion of sustainable tourism before deciding to travel to events.
- Our policy is not to fly when a destination can be reached by train in under 5 hours.
- We manage and coordinate our diaries to make more of flights taken, prolonging trips if necessary to fulfil more objectives in the area.
Reducing Our Digital Footprint
- We use Ecosia as our primary search engine.
- The average email emits 4g of CO2, whilst the average SMS emits just 0.014grams, so we encourage our team to text each other if they have a simple question, saving emails for longer correspondence, that we may need to refer back to.
- By linking to files in our shared file storage, rather than adding them as attachments we have reduced the weight of our internal emails.
- Unfortunately, our website hosting provider does not currently offer green energy options, however we commit to transitioning to a provider using 100% renewables within a year when our current contract expires.
Reducing Electronic Waste
Where viable we purchase refurbished phones and computers, we will always try to repair a device before it is replaced and ensure that end of life equipment is appropriately recycled.
Our 10-year plan, to reduce our carbon footprint per employee (FTE):
52% reduction is budgeted by 2030 for everything except air travel.
Figures are in tonnes CO2e. Air travel reduces over time but not below the 2020 base year when it was so low
3. Regenerate & Remove
Now that we have an achievable Carbon Reductions plan in place and have committed to actions that should make it achievable, we are happy to progress to regeneration and removal. It is now widely accepted, especially since COP26, that “Carbon Neutral” using offsets is a hollow claim if there is no reductions plan in place for the carbon footprint. We believe this is a very positive step forward.
We mitigate our emissions using nature-based carbon removal or forest preservation projects. These are all certified by either Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standards (VCS) or some equally robust national schemes. This certification attests not only to the reliability of the projects but also to the amount of carbon they are removing now, as opposed to might remove in the future.
We aim to select projects which also contribute to the social Sustainable Development Goals.
For 2021 we’ve offset our carbon footprint to the tune of 150% to cover the years since our founding, 2020 & 2021
This includes Scope 1 & 2 emissions and all of Scope 3 emissions which are material and measurable. This is by investing in Forest Protection and “Blue” (marine) Carbon projects, the latter being due to their considerable efficiency in removing carbon from the atmosphere.
We have a selection of similar projects which we can recommend to clients.
4. Collaborate & Campaign
Collaboration and support for the cause are central to our mission to advance greener tourism:
- The very purpose to our existence is to support all business in the tourism sector to take action on climate change and to reduce their carbon emissions.
- We provide workshops to ensure our clients’ key stakeholders are informed and engaged with their environmental strategy and roadmap.
- We actively promote offsetting programs that conserve vital ecosystems and biodiversity.
- We share best practices by promoting and buying from companies that are taking positive action.
- We provide an independent, authoritative and honest voice that helps to inform and drive change.
- To cultivate awareness and best practice across our industry, we support thought leadership organisations such as The European Tourism Association (ETOA) and TTG media in their “Sustainable Heroes” initiative. Other such agreements are set to follow.
- At TerraVerde we consider ourselves to be a “delivery mechanism” in assisting travel, tourism and hospitality businesses onto the sustainability ladder. As such we make no pretence of setting any rules ourselves, we follow the best practice set by the most respected bodies in the sustainability world including: SBTI Science Based Targets, The UN Race to Zero, The Glasgow Declaration and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), of which we are proud to be a member.
TerraVerde recognise the pivotal role that finance plays, both in business and in the future green transition. The growth of ESG in recent years has been remarkable. However, such rapid growth has on numerous occasions been at the expense of rigorous compliance at the “coal face.” Hence,
- TerraVerde commits ourselves to understanding the ESG aspirations and pressures experienced by the finance sector when making investments in tourism and aligning these to our travel sector customers. This particularly applies to the Private Equity segment, which is highly active in private sector tourism funding activity.
- We will also advise our clients on opportunities to access green finance, which frequently benefits from preferential conditions. Similarly, there are opportunities for customers to apply for various governmental grants which exist to facilitate the environmental transition. As one of the largest sectors in the global economy, travel, tourism and hospitality should not lose out to other sectors of the economy in securing a share of such funding.
- TerraVerde is also in the process of raising funding ourselves, which will be invested into developing the tools and technology that can help our tourism industry clients, particularly in the long tail of SME entities to take practical steps in decarbonisation.