WTTC joins UN in launching Net Zero Roadmap for travel

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) joined UN climate organisations in launching a ‘Net Zero Roadmap’ for the industry today as it warned of the impacts of climate change.

The Net Zero Roadmap, produced with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and business consultancy Accenture, points out the sector is responsible for 8%-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

It warns of the impacts of climate change on travel and tourism and provides guidelines for businesses to reach net zero by 2050.

The roadmap groups businesses into three clusters depending on their emissions profiles and difficulty of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, provides detail on decarbonisation levers and recommends specific actions for the accommodation sector, tour operators, aviation, cruise and tourism intermediaries.

It notes some industries may achieve net zero before 2050 “if more ambitious targets are set”, calls on businesses to raise their ambitions and urges they:

Set baselines and emission targets now

Monitor and report progress regularly

Collaborate within and across industries and government

Provide the finance required for transition, and

Raise awareness and build knowledge and capabilities on climate change.

The roadmap report also calls on world leaders to give travel and tourism “the same level of support offered to other sectors” and makes recommendations to governments on support for the sector.

WTTC president and chief executive Julia Simpson said the roadmap would “help travel industries reach individual targets to reduce our carbon footprint”.

She warned: “Many destinations are affected by climate change with rising sea levels, deforestation and loss of animal and plant species. Communities that rely on tourism are first in line to see the impact.

“We have a responsibility towards our people and planet. It is critical the private and public sector work collectively to achieve the Paris Agreement and prevent the global rise in temperatures.”

Simpson added: “Our sector can be part of the change urgently required to mitigate impacts and adapt to the threats posed by climate change.”

Emily Weiss, managing director and head of Accenture’s travel industry group globally, said: “As the travel industry resets, there is an incredible opportunity to rebuild responsibly and accelerate the shift towards a net-zero future.

She described the Net Zero Roadmap as a “pragmatic but ambitious course of action that will help the industry create real and visible targets to reduce its carbon impact, providing the transparency that consumers demand.

“Crucially, it identifies the big levers where travel can turn a corner on emissions.”

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Iata, Air Transport Action Group, cruise line association Clia, the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and the Travalyst sustainable travel coalition were involved in drawing up the roadmap.

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