Over a decade ago we asked: how do we make travel matter? The answer led to the establishment of our TreadRight Foundation, formed with a mission to leave a positive impact on our planet, people and wildlife. We’ve supported over 55 sustainable tourism projects to date, and in 2020 we were ready to rethink travel again. Since responsible travel is the only way we want to explore the world with our guests, we’ve committed to our new five-year How We Tread Right (HWTR) sustainability strategy.
Developed by our parent company The Travel Corporation, the strategy is devoted to leaving a positive impact on the planet, people and wildlife through 11 goals that are directly tied to the UN Sustainable Development Global Goals. We’ve outlined clear strategies to contribute to issues such as climate change, sustainable food production, responsible consumption, overtourism, animal welfare, and diversity and inclusion – and we’re already putting plans into action.
Read on to learn more about how we plan to Tread Right through our 11 sustainability goals, and how we’re using the power of responsible travel to make a difference.
Goal 1 – Achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 or sooner
The effects of climate change continue to impact our daily lives and the way we travel and we know that climate change is linked to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. As a travel company using air travel and transport, we have a responsibility to reduce our emissions and transition to a low carbon future.
- Invest in clean, renewable energy sources.
- Increase energy efficiency and reduce consumption at our offices and owned properties.
- Invest in upgrades to our fleet of vehicles to support low-emission technology.
- Source and support new low impact technologies.
- Use our new carbon reporting tool, Accuvio, to track and manage the emissions associated with our corporate activity and operations. We measure our emissions according to the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol and aim to offset the carbon footprint of our trips by 2025.
- We are a signatory to Climate Neutral Now, a UN initiative established to help achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century. This means our residual emissions will be offset using verified carbon offsets.
Goal 2 – Source 50% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025
One of the best ways to combat climate change is to reduce fossil fuels usage and transition to clean and renewable energy. As a responsible travel company and partner of Tread Right, we’re committed to preserving our beautiful planet for future generations.
- All TTC owned Red Carnation properties included on Trafalgar itineraries will utilise renewable sources by Dec 2021.
- Over the next five years we will invest in opportunities to procure and generate renewable energy.
- Trafalgar educates third party suppliers on transitioning to renewable energy sources.
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Sustainable Food Production
Goal 3 – Reduce food waste by 50% across all hotels and ships by 2025
Food is one of the best parts of travel. The local cuisine helps us to get to know a new destination, and it’s a great opportunity for travellers to support a community. We aim to do this by ensuring ingredients are sourced and disposed of responsibly. We want our supply chain to use local and organic food on our itineraries and reduce food waste at our hotel and ship brands. All of this will benefit our guests and the planet, and it will also help to support sustainable agriculture practices, food waste management, and food security.
- All TTC owned Red Carnation properties included on Trafalgar itineraries will reduce food waste by Dec 2021, while continuing to provide the finest dining experience for guests.
- Trafalgar commits to meeting this goal for all business related events from 2021.
- Trafalgar encourages and educates third party suppliers on food waste reduction.
Goal 4 – Increase use of local and organic products in our supply chain by 2025
Since we work with thousands of accommodations and meal suppliers, we have a responsibility to encourage local and organic food production. When we support local farmers and sustainable food production, we help the communities we visit to develop resilient agricultural practices and reduce food insecurity. It also means that our guests will enjoy an enhanced authentic travel experience.
- We define “local” as any food sourced with 30-50 miles of where it is prepared. “Organic” refers to any food which is sourced without the use of pesticides or GMOs, along with sustainably sourced seafood.
- We are committed to our goal of having all of our Be My Guest dining experiences to source at least 25% of their menu locally or organically by 2025.
Goal 5 – Reduce printed brochures by 50% by 2025
Our world is being rapidly depleted of resources and we have a responsibility to reduce and eliminate our waste where possible. We have identified that the annual printing of our brochures created a large footprint and want to reduce this.
- From January 2021, Trafalgar has reduced printed brochures by 50%.
- We will continue to reduce this figure by using digital solutions like e-brochures and encouraging the travel industry to remove paper brochures.
- We’re also transitioning into providing travel documents entirely electronically. In partnership with One Tree Planted, we plant a tree for every guest who chooses to receive their documents electronically.
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Goal 6 – Eliminate as many unnecessary single use plastics from our operations and itineraries by 2022
We know that single-use plastics are unnecessary and harmful to the planet, so we’ve identified several opportunities to reduce single-use plastics from our trips and operations.
- Trafalgar has greatly reduced single-use plastics across trips and offices. We continue to assess and work to implement recyclable materials where possible.
- Since the onset of COVID-19, the need for enhanced hygiene measures has forced us to reassess this goal. Our guests’ wellbeing is paramount and we will continue to remove single-use plastics that aren’t required for health and safety regulations. We’re also continuously looking for innovative practices. Our Red Carnation hotels and UniWorld ships have implemented electrostatic spray cleaning to reduce viruses and bacteria without toxic chemicals or single-use plastics.
Goal 7 – Include at least one Make Travel Matter Experience on 50% of all itineraries by 2025
Our Make Travel Matter (MTM) Experiences are conscious travel experiences you can enjoy on our trips. We carefully developed and assessed these experiences using a set of qualifying criteria directly related to the UN Global Goals. Our MTM Experiences seek to encourage the greatest community benefit of travel and leave a positive impact on the communities and environments we visit. We also aim to pass this knowledge of the UN Global Goals and local community actions on to our guests and provide an enriching travel experience.
We use our Make Travel Matter E-Assessment that meets the set UN criteria to rate our travel experiences and identify how they contribute to the 11 Global Goals of our How We Tread Right strategy. This tool allows our teams to ensure we are including at least one MTM Experience on 50% of all itineraries by 2025.
Goal 8 – Achieve a 20% increase of itineraries visiting developing regions by specialist brands by 2025
We know that overtourism poses a great risk to many communities and destinations around the world due to crowding and congestion. It places immense pressure on the local infrastructure, and negatively impacts the community by forming a dependence on tourism for employment and income. As a travel company and partner of Tread Right, we have a responsibility to address the challenges of overtourism. By introducing guests to developing regions, we’ll encourage a greater spread of tourism income, all while offering unique travel experiences.
Trafalgar is committed to visiting developing regions in at least 20% of our global itineraries by 2025. To qualify as a “developing region”, Trafalgar must not have visited the region in 2019. The itinerary must include an overnight stay in the region and the region must have limited symptoms of overtourism. The region must also be considered a secondary city to a major tourism hub.
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Goal 9 – Increase employee and market sentiment regarding diversity and inclusion across our brands
Travel is all about encouraging cross-cultural understanding and it’s crucial this understanding is shared within our global teams. Internal support and opportunity within TTC teams is a strong foundation of our brands. Our focus has been on building opportunities for female leaders in our teams. We’ve succeeded at ensuring 50% of our executive leadership are women. We’re now focusing on ensuring that our internal teams and guests are represented equitably from across the LGBTQ+ and Black, Indigenous and people of colour communities.
- We will complete a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy in 2021. This will address how we will recruit from and communicate with previously underrepresented communities.
- We will conduct annual employee and market surveys to evaluate sentiment towards inclusion and diversity across our brands.
- Trafalgar recognises Indigenous peoples as the first travellers. We are working with various Indigenous travel experts and associations to develop a guidebook to help engage with Indigenous tour operators in a respectful way that honours Indigenous heritage and lands.
Goal 10 – Complete 30,000 volunteer hours by 2025
Volunteering is a big part of our Tread Right values and a wonderful tool that helps to improve communities and enhance the wellbeing of the environment and people in our communities. Plus it has plenty of benefits for volunteers too, from improving your mood and wellbeing to building new skills.
Since 2009, all TTC members receive two paid volunteer days a year to dedicate to volunteering in their local communities. We’re encouraging our staff members to participate by setting a target to complete 30,0000 volunteer hours by 2025.
Goal 11 – Ensure all wildlife experiences across TTC brands adhere to our Animal Welfare Policy by 2021
Over half a million wild animals are currently enduring a lifetime of suffering at tourist entertainment venues around the world. Elephants are beaten and forced to give rides and big cats are drugged and used as selfie-props. Dolphins are caged and forced to perform for an audience, and countless more animals are exploited and abused. As a responsible travel company partnered with the Tread Right mission, we must ensure that we only participate in ethical wildlife experiences and show respect for the wellbeing of all animals.
- From January 2021, all wildlife experiences on all trips must adhere to the TTC Animal Welfare Policy. This was developed in cooperation with World Animal Protection.
- We review all wildlife experiences annually to ensure compliance.
- We undertake ongoing assessment and inspections for domesticated animal experiences on our trips.
- Trafalgar encourages guests and teams to email firstname.lastname@example.org if they have any experience on any of our trips that they believe does not meet our Animal Welfare Policy. We’ll investigate these concerns and remove any experience that does not comply with our policy.
Let us know what you think about our new How We Tread Right sustainability strategy in the comments below…