Sustainable travel business leaders are acutely aware of a confounding fact: although revenues from their business can help preserve places and support communities, they also—due to the effect of the carbon dioxide emissions it generates—are simultaneously aiding in the destruction of those places and communities.
Resolving this conflict and existential danger was at the heart for writers Glenn Jampol and Christina Beckmann in the new guide recently published by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, Climate Action: A Plain Talk Guide for Small Travel Businesses.
The pair’s collaboration was influenced by their very different backgrounds: Glenn’s background and focus for more than 30 years is on organic agriculture and regenerative practices in all business affairs, while Christina’s 20 year career in sustainable adventure tourism has led her to focus since 2019 on carbon removal and the role of negative emissions technologies in helping to restore the climate.
The 18 page guide they developed together offers a section on key concepts such as classifying Scope 1, 2, 3 emissions, Science-based Targets, and Net Zero along with a discussion of carbon offsetting, carbon removal and different types of carbon storage and their benefits.
Christina remarked, “Travel’s global influence as an industry is too great not to try and marshall it to help restore our climate. Most of the travel businesses I know feel very comfortable with natural solutions that are required to help our climate, but less familiar with the role of technology and the importance of long-lived storage for carbon dioxide. Perhaps once of the most interesting things I learned working with Glenn is the benefit of thinking in terms of interdependencies and the importance of engaging grassroots communities in any effort. This is something I see farmers have a lot of practice with, and it certainly comes in useful when working on redesigning businesses to be better for the climate.”
Glenn observed, “As an organic coffee farmer, co-owner of a regenerative eco-lodge and thirty-year veteran in ecotourism I have dedicated my life to promoting sustainability and regenerative practices. Working on this project has deepened my understanding about the myriad ways we can all help do our part to try to reduce our carbon footprint and battle the climate crisis.”
Business leaders getting started in designing climate policy and looking for a balanced and clear summary on current issues and tools will also appreciate the final section of the guide which offers a five step plan for getting started:
1. Commit to action internally
2. Learn: get comfortable with the vocabulary and acquaint yourself with key themes in climate strategy including the discourse on the necessity of carbon removal
3. Take stock: understand your carbon emissions
4. Commit to action publicly: through one of a few different climate action communities in travel share your plans and leverage the support and expertise of others doing the same
5. Choose the mix of actions for your business incorporating reductions, removals and intentional communications with trade partners and customers
6. Keep track of your efforts and expand them
Longtime tourism consultant Kirsi Hyvaerinen, Managing Director at Pratto Consulting and Board Member at Global Ecotourism Network, reacted when the guide was published with the comment, "Great hands-on guidance for small and medium enterprises! Thanks for pulling this together."