The travel and tourism industry, representing $12 trillion worth of annual economic output, has made a crucial step in moving towards a cleaner and greener industry. This followed a unanimous vote by the sector’s leadership group, UNWTO Global Council on Climate Change, agreeing to publicly disclose the carbon emissions associated with specific trips, committed to using paperless check-in at airport booking counters and working towards more fair working practices. The Council’s unprecedented bold action is welcomed by the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, and the full membership of the group.
“I am proud of the unanimous vote from the Global Council on Climate Change to begin taking crucial steps in the travel and tourism industry to combat climate change. This is a historic decision and is a major step in driving the innovation and clean-tech that the industry must deliver on in the years ahead. I am optimistic that these initiatives will add up to a stronger, greener industry that we all want for the future.” said Mr Rifai.
This declaration is the first step in implementing an ambitious Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) guidelines for the travel and tourism industry, which was developed in partnership between the UNWTO Global Council on Climate Change and the Global Alliance on Climate Change – based on the International Convention on Climate Change. The guidelines were approved on the basis of over seven years of investigation and sound economic analysis undertaken by prominent sustainability firms, including SustainAbility, PwC, KPMG and ECA. UNWTO leadership said that “a business intent on reducing carbon emissions is already clear in the industry”, and “the implementation of these guidelines in practice is a very important step in the right direction”. It is expected that implementation of the guidelines will only take place in the coming year.
UNWTO Global Council on Climate Change seeks to improve the green business climate in travel and tourism, driving global leadership on climate change. The Global Alliance on Climate Change was established as a group of climate leaders, economists, industry representatives and others committed to taking urgent action against climate change. All members of the Global Alliance bring the best existing academic and public policy expertise in the field of climate change, and collaborate extensively on climate action and climate-related issues.