Swords Travel co-director Mark Swords was inspired by staff and David Attenborough

Sustainability is a word that gets bandied around so much at the moment, but what does it actually mean? What are the effects we have on the planet? What can we do as a company? But more importantly, what can we do as individuals?

One of our team members, Ian Weir, approached me a couple of weeks ago and asked: ‘What are we doing as a business to be more sustainable? And how are we educating our clients to also become more sustainable and offset their emissions?’

My answer was simple. We are not doing enough. And it’s something I’ve been conscious of for a while.

Inspired to act

I’m sure most people in travel love the David Attenborough documentaries. Last week, I watched the latest episode of A Perfect Plant, entitled Humans. It got me really fired up and I thought to myself, ‘we need to do more’. Ian has kindly educated us and brought this topic to the forefront of our minds and, the more we look into it, the more I’m inspired to act.

First of all, as a company we have decided to make a donation from every booking. We’re putting these funds into a pot and, at the end of each year, will contribute it towards a project. That could be planting trees, offsetting carbon or something else.

“Last week, I watched the latest episode of A Perfect Plant, entitled Humans. It got me really fired up and I thought to myself, ‘we need to do more’.”

Secondly, Stuart [Swords] and I have decided to offset the carbon on all of our own trips and fam trips that we take from now on.

Thirdly, I wanted to get our associates involved and have asked each of them to come up with an idea of how they can become more sustainable.

Client education

More importantly, though, I think it’s time we start to educate our clients about the effects of global tourism, and how we can all give back to make less of an impact and start to improve our planet.

“I think it’s time we start to educate our clients about the effects of global tourism, and how we can all give back to make less of an impact.”

Our plan with clients is to create a webpage showing our commitments and then to offer them the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions when booking with us.

Sustainable partners

We are also keen to create and compile a ‘preferred sustainable partner list’. This will include airlines that already do this, and tour operators that are giving back and showing customers that they can reduce their carbon footprint just by choosing to fly with someone different.

I was trying hard not to mention the C word in this article, but one thing Covid has done for all of us is give us time to reflect and think.

“It’s certainly time we started educating our clients in simple terms, and at least giving them the choice to be greener in their approach to travelling.”

People are now more aware of the effects we have on the planet by the way we live our lives. Not everyone will buy into this, but it’s certainly time we started educating our clients in simple terms, and at least giving them the choice to be greener in their approach to travelling.

I suppose the question we should all be asking ourselves is, ‘what can I do to become more sustainable?’

The little changes can have a big impact if we all do it together.


Globe-rewards-logo

So glad to still have a ‘Globes’

One thing I really miss about the current restrictions is not being able to see all the amazing people we are lucky to have in our industry. This time last year, we attended Travel Weekly’s Globe Travel Awards and, as always, it was a fab night. Back then, of course, just getting to see people and catch up was part of all of our daily lives.

“One thing I really miss about the current restrictions is not being able to see all the amazing people we are lucky to have in our industry.”

Anyhow, it’s nice to see that Covid hasn’t put a total stop to ‘seeing’ people – last week we ‘attended’ the virtual Globe Travel Rewards, held instead of the full event this year. It was a great night, even though we were all only at home.