A Much Better Model
As focus shifts from orangutans fighting off the man-made monsters destroying their habitats in the Amazon to Australia’s most-loved wildlife burnt alive in the country’s worst ever recorded forest fires, it’s clear that we’re in the middle of an ecological and environmental emergency.
Every travel company, whatever their approach may be, is heavily implicated in this. The industry is in dire need of a bold, unified and – most importantly – immediate response.
That’s why Much Better Adventures have declared a climate emergency and founded the initiative Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, to encourage their peers, competitors and partners in the travel industry to do the same. On January 14th of this year, dozens of other committed and forward-thinking travel businesses such as Intrepid Travel, Better Places and Responsible Travel joined Much Better Adventures in declaring a climate emergency.
Over the course of 2020, the Tourism Declares campaign aims to encourage and enable as many travel businesses, organisations and individuals as possible to declare a climate emergency, then develop and publish their action plans.
By declaring an emergency, the committed companies are publicly promising to undertake the following responsibilities:
1. Develop a Climate Emergency Plan
Adopted by their Executive Board within 12 months of the initial declaration, or sooner.
2. Share their commitment and progress publicly
Share their initial public declaration, their Climate Emergency Plan, and update on progress against their targets each year.
3. Cut carbon emissions
Accept current IPCC advice stating the need to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030 in order to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming. Ensure their Climate Emergency Plan represents actions designed to achieve this as a minimum; through delivering transparent, measurable and increasing reductions in the total carbon emissions per customer arising from their operations and the travel services sold by them.
4. Work together
Encourage suppliers and partners to make the same declaration, share best practice amongst peers, and actively participate in the Tourism Declares community.
5. Advocate for change
Recognise the need for system change across the industry and call for urgent regulatory action to accelerate the transition towards zero carbon air travel.
This comes in addition to Much Better Adventures’ already established initiatives dedicated to protecting the people and environments it relies upon. Built on an ethos that they call the ‘much better model for travel’, Much Better Adventures have committed to an ethical and sustainable business approach that puts the planet and profits on an equal footing.
Whether it’s reducing emissions, publicly releasing their annual carbon footprint, or donating 5% of revenues to re-wilding projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere, the travel company are committed to a forward-thinking and transparent carbon approach. Focusing on the people and communities that the company work with face-to-face, Much Better Adventures also only employ 100% local businesses, with approximately 80% of money spend going directly into the local economy of each adventure – this is compared to the 5% average that the UN estimates.
Aware of the travel industry’s responsibility, as well as its historically bad record when it comes to protecting the planet, Much Better Adventures’ founder Alex Narracott comments:
“As a travel company reliant on customers flying round the world, we recognise that by even publishing this declaration we are opening ourselves up to accusations of greenwashing. As we go, we’ll transparently share our progress and our learnings in the hope others will learn from our mistakes. We’ll talk openly and invite criticism. Only by doing so do we have a chance of getting to our goal, not just as a company, but as a society.”
This acknowledgement is essential if we as a collective are to effectively bring our planet back from the brink. To invite criticism is to identify areas that desperately need change, allowing businesses across all industries to work towards an ethical and sustainable future.