As David Attenborough recently declared that the time is now for climate action, we too are declaring a climate emergency with Tourism Declares. The Amazon and much of Australia is up in flames, the polar ice caps are melting and the temperatures are rising (hello, hot and sweaty British summers!) – it’s clear we need to take action in any way we can.
We understand that we work in an industry which greatly contributes to climate change, but we also believe that travel can be a hugely beneficial part of life. Cultural exchanges, much-needed money in lesser-known communities, and positive effects on mental wellbeing are just a few of the reasons travelling can be a force for good. As such, we want to promote travelling in a more conscious and thoughtful way. We’re committed to taking actionable, positive changes towards reducing our impact on the environment. That’s why we’re standing with many other travel and tourism companies to declare a climate emergency plan in the hope that we can encourage our peers, competitors and friends to do the same.
We are committed to:
1. Developing a ‘Climate Emergency Plan’
We have already taken our first steps towards becoming a carbon-neutral villa company with the help of independent sustainable consultancy, ecollective. Our sustainable mission statement is: “We believe in doing more and finding extraordinary, which is why we are committed to becoming the most environmentally progressive villa company in the world. By taking urgent action on climate change, our goal at Oliver’s Travels is to become carbon-neutral and be a force for positive change in the travel industry, and wider communities.” You can find out more about our journey and work so far here.
2. Share our commitment and progress publicly
We want to be transparent in our efforts, so we have committed to sharing this initial public declaration, our ‘Climate Emergency Plan’, and will update everyone on our progress against our targets each year.
3. Cut carbon emissions
We accept IPCC’s advice stating the need to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030 to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming. With the help of ecollective we’ve been able to calculate our carbon emissions as a business, from our properties and our business travel to our London office emissions so we can work to reduce this by 10% YoY. Our methodology was via a questionnaire in 2019 that we sent out to all owners, and we have worked to improve the 2020 questionnaire to improve the data we receive so we can more accurately track and reduce our environmental performance. We’ll look to reduce YoY by educating and encouraging our property owners (as well as ourselves) to make sustainable changes.
We’ve also partnered with TreememberMe to plant trees for every booking in February and March, encouraging customers to start thinking about their own carbon footprint. We’ll use this tree-planting initiative to offset all our carbon from 2020 onwards so that we are a carbon-neutral organisation. We know carbon-offsetting isn’t a long-term solution, so we aim to reduce our emissions every year through education within the business, our owners and customers until offsetting becomes minimal/non-existent.
4. Work together
We encourage our suppliers and partners to make the same declaration; share best practice amongst peers and customers, and actively participate in the Tourism Declares community.
5. Advocate for change
We recognise the need for system change across the industry and call for urgent regulatory action to accelerate the transition towards zero-carbon air travel.