Report on ‘Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency’ plan 2020

This is a report of my progress during 2020 on my ‘Tourism Declares’ plan, published on 27 January 2020.

1. Reduce my footprint:

  • Continue to participate in meetings remotely by conference call wherever possible, to avoid travel. 

All meetings in 2020 were conducted remotely, rather than in person (albeit this was in part facilitated by travel restrictions and the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than by design). 

  • Encourage others to present at conferences or meetings that I have been invited, where their carbon footprint for attending will be lower than mine. 

This turned out to be unnecessary during 2020 because travel to conferences and meetings was restricted amid COVID-19, and most face-to-face conferences and meetings were cancelled, or converted into virtual meetings.  

  • When I do fly for work or leisure, I will select options that generate lower emissions, including combining multiple-destinations on my trips.

Three international and three domestic flights taken during 2020 and were made using the shortest routes permissible under COVID-19 travel restrictions. 

  • Attend conferences and meetings in person only where my presence can have a meaningful impact by communicating sustainability messages, and when remote participation is not possible.

As noted above, all meetings in 2020 were conducted remotely, rather than in person. 

2. Offset my impact:

  • Offset carbon generated by flights for work and recreation, including through reputable offsetting organisations and/or planting trees with institutions I trust such as the Wilderness Wildlife Trust and others. 

I calculate that international and domestic flights in 2020 for myself and my family generated 40 tonnes of CO2. This was offset in January 2021 through Climate Care, with the purchase of 44 tones of emissions offset. 

  • Include carbon offset allocations for flights within future project budgets, and ensure that my clients are aware of this as a direct project cost.

This plan was initiated at the start of 2020, but was paused as no project travel took place after this plan was devised, due to pandemic travel restrictions. 

  • Continue to preferentially use Ecosia as my web-browser.

This has continued. 

3. Advocate for change:

I have encouraged members of the group and its ExCo to join Tourism Declares.

  • Continue to actively contribute as a Board member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, to promote the GSTC criteria and sustainable tourism activities that integrate climate actions.

I have encouraged directors of the GSTC, and the GSTC, to join Tourism Declares. 

  • Continue to work on sustainable tourism assignments on projects that embed climate actions within them, and with clients who are addressing climate change.

Projects incorporating climate change elements included work for UNDP in Thailand, an assignment with UNEP on COVID-19 and tourism.

The “Handbook for sustainable tourism practitioners: The essential toolbox” was due to contain two chapters on climate change and sustainable tourism and offsetting. Although these were agreed with authors, COVID-19 pandemic pressures during 2020 forced their withdrawal. Unfortunately this took place too close to the publisher’s manuscript submission date to find alternative authors.  While this is a regrettable gap in the final manuscript, Tourism Declares is mentioned in two of the other chapters, and a box on Climate Change and Tourism is provided in the introduction. The book will be available from Edward Elgar in April 2021, and I hope a second edition (!) will include full climate change chapters.

Papers relating to COVID-19 and climate change were shared on a broader blog post on COVID-19 and sustainable tourism: Information resources and links throughout the year. 

  • Share this commitment on my blog and other social media sites. 

The commitment was shared on my blog with a link to the Tourism Declares site. 

  • Encourage others in my networks to join the Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency.

A number of presentations made during the year at virtual meetings included information about Tourism Declares and climate change and tourism, including:

  • Spenceley, A. Keynote: Setting the scene: Impacts of the pandemic on the tourism sector and building back greenerUNEP’s online side event of the 26th Meeting of the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy, available here, 9 November 2020
  • Spenceley, A. Keynote: The future of tourism in natural areas: Reflecting on impact. The Future of tourism in naturalareas, Community Lab – sharing and exchange. OECD Trento Centre and TSM. 23 November 2020
  • Spenceley, A. Preparation for tourism after COVID-19: Sustainable tourism and building back better, 2020 International Tourism Cooperation Policy Forum, Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, 25 November 2020

@tourismdeclares

Want to declare, too?

If you work in tourism and feel similarly about the Climate Emergency, please visit Tourism Declares. The goal is to encourage and enable as many travel companies, organizations and individuals to get involved, declare a climate emergency, and to take action.

Tourism Declares supports tourism businesses, organisations and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking purposeful action to reduce their carbon emissions. Visit the Tourism Declares website, and find resources and guidance on how to declare.

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