For some of us, it’s that SAD time of the year. A time of cold Winter months with long, dark days and wind and rain . . . endless rain! And the only thing that might bring us any warm comfort is the thought of an exotic holiday in a sunny location.
They compared companies from all the above industries using the following five factors to measure their standards against:
Carbon reduction: the use of green fuels, alternative energy, modern vehicles/aircraft and eco-friendly hotels, the management of waste and energy reduction.
Carbon offsetting: are offsetting schemes available? Does the company make financial commitments of its own?
Conservation schemes: efforts to minimise harm done to the environment by tourism.
Responsible tourism (RT) policy: a strong policy, staff to put it into practice and independent audits and targets?
On the ground: sourcing of local produce, services and employment of local staff; support for local social projects; efforts to ensure good relations between tourists and local people.
They have published their results here but to summarise the main ones, First Choice gave the best Green performance on behalf of the mainstream tour operators. EasyJet (no frills category), BA and Virgin were the greenest airlines. And the cruise lines came off the worst with little accounting for the impact their ships are having on the environment. Royal Caribbean was the best of a bad bunch in this category.
The results are worth bookmarking because it’s an excellent guide for people who enjoy travel but are conscious about their carbon-footprint.
Interestingly, the article states that only 7% of travellers thus far have tried to minimise their impact on the environment by contributing towards carbon offsetting schemes and suchlike. Perhaps many people are suspicious of the offset industry and the whole dubious belief that we can buy our way out of taking any real action against climate change.
Anyway, overall, I think it’s very encouraging and comforting to learn that the travel industry is finally facing the green issue, not just in terms of climate change, but with regard to responsible tourism and the consideration of the wider social implications of tourism (see factor 5).