The industry needs to come together and work towards standard science-based targets, sharing best practice. That was the message from sustainability sessions on day one of World Travel Market, London.
Panellists also stressed how decarbonisation wins should not be kept for individual gain but rather shared for the greater good.
The Travel Corporation, which incorporates 40 travel brands, benchmarks its own progress against the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda. Shannon Guihan, the company’s chief sustainability officer, called for the travel industry to get behind a “science-based target,” adding “we need airlines on board in a very big way.”
She stressed success in carbon reduction should not be seen as a competitive advantage for individual companies but rather, “something we need to do together as an industry.”
Echoing this sentiment, easyJet sustainability director Jane Ashton explained the airline is putting details of how it is meeting decarbonisation targets into the public domain. She urged more airlines to do so on an annual basis.
Ashton explained the EU is working on a standardised system for calculating carbon, which should make such teamwork easier. She also pointed to upcoming global legislation, which will create financial obligations to report carbon reduction, saying: “There’s definitely increasing legislation to be transparent.”
Stelian Iacob senior vice president and CEO of Therme Group, a tech-focused company that includes wellness centres, agreed on the need for common goals within travel. “We call for a unified standard of working for the industry, we can do that by working with academia,” he said, explaining how universities could help with solving problems such as how to reduce concrete in new build hotels.
Recognising progress can be harder for those with more limited resources B Corp tour operator Intrepid is sharing its own best practice with smaller companies using a 10 step guide and called for others forge similar relationships.
UK & Ireland manager Hazel McGuire said SMEs should not be overwhelmed by the idea of working towards sustainability: “It’s to do with progress not perfection at this stage.”