From planning to action – working with your networks

As part of our series of webinars to coincide with the COP28 climate conference, we heard from three leading tourism organisations about how they are increasing the impact of their climate action by engaging and working with their networks.  Here are the key take-outs from the discussion.


Look beyond your organisation’s immediate impact

A growing number of people are focussing not just on their own core emissions, their own staff and offices, but looking at what they can do to improve their impact by working with their supply chain and the communities with which they interact.

Organised adventures platform, TourRadar looks for ways to support and work with the 2,500 operators on their platform, Sofya Muhrer-Muromets, TourRadar’s sustainability lead said, “When it comes to sustainability it’s always more than just about you and your direct environment. If sustainability is an add on, you decarbonise your internal emissions, but if you look at sustainability as one of your core values, then you take responsibility for your position within your ecosystem and think about what your industry needs.”  TourRadar worked with the Travel Foundation to gather stakeholders to discuss and understand what they can do, including how to leverage the ‘goldmine’ of data that they have.  The company is now working on an impact measurement tool, which enables companies to measure their carbon footprint and the economical and social handprint of organised adventures on the destination.

Similarly, Katarina Thorstensson, from Gotenborg & Co, highlighted that engaging and involving stakeholders is in their DNA and they see their potential and responsibility to be far greater than their own small office, affecting their suppliers and those they collaborate with.  Katarina, highlighted that finding a common vision can be a powerful way to engage stakeholders, “involving and communicating and gathering around common goals is key”.

Focus on where you can have the greatest impact and where you have control.

Whilst tackling emissions of transport to and from the destination is a tricky challenge, it’s nevertheless an important one.   Managing Director of AliKats Mountain Holidays, Al Judge highlighted that transport is a sizeable part of the impact of a ski holiday, with flights accounting for between 50 and 75% of emissions.  “So all the stuff we’re doing is important,” he said, “but if we want to have a serious impact we have to look at how people get to us.”  AliKats are now working to incentivise people to travel by train and choose sustainable options, for example offering 20% off for customers who travel by train, don’t use hot tub and have a plant-based diet.

There is a need to think about how we come together as an industry and ask the right questions about long haul flights, how to shift to other markets, and how to shift your demographics to reduce emissions. Alongside this, focussing on what you have control of, for example what you offer your customer will be key.  “It’s up to us that the option customers choose is as sustainable as possible,” said Sofya Muhrer-Muromets.


Reach out for support!

Due to the complexity of the challenge and of the tourism product it’s often difficult for organisations to know where to start and what their first step should be.  For many, new reporting regulations in Europe have heightened anxiety about this and there’s a need for guidance for organisations to know that they’re heading in the right direction.  Whilst reaching out to your network can be difficult, it’s important. “Everyone struggles on the same things, but tries to solve them in their own silos.”  Sofya said. “There will be at least someone whose done all the steps.”


There are no competitors when it comes to climate action

Collaboration with competitors can be ‘win win’ with many tourism businesses sharing the same supply chain.  Working together to support suppliers to decarbonise helps everyone to reduce their ‘scope 3’ emissions.

Working within collectives can also be extremely rewarding.  Speaking of working with the City Destinations Alliance, Katerina Thorstensson said, “You quickly realise that we’re all in the same boat. The community is so much about generosity and sharing experiences and knowledge and you can learn so much.”  Katerina highlighted that gathering around specific topics and learning together can help us all to move forward, enabling us to make the hard decisions, be brave together and set a standard that inspires and challenges others.

Al Judge agreed, “Where we’ve had the biggest effect is as a collective.”  Al helped to set up a member organisation called Montagne Vert, through which all businesses in the area, including competitors, can offer a 10% discount for people who take the train. For visitors, this is a more attractive incentive, meaning they can access discounts on everything they might buy in a ski resort.


Watch the webinar:


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