How Trafalgar is taking action to reduce our impact to net zero emissions

Travel is a great gift. When we land somewhere new, we get to experience unique cultures and witness the exquisite natural beauty of our world. We’re aware that our beautiful planet is facing great risks with an urgent climate crisis. The time to act is now, and so we’re embracing responsibility and creating change with positive actions and a plan. On our journey sustainability is not a luxury, but a necessity. It’s why we’re making the commitment to preserve this planet for future generations to enjoy.

Through our parent company, The Travel Corporation, we have created a climate action plan and set aggressive carbon reduction targets, validated by a Science-Based Target Initiative. Originally, our goal was to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, but with science telling us to prioritise carbon reductions over all else (including carbon offsets) we’ve updated our goal to be more ambitious and impactful. Now we are aiming to reach Net Zero Emissions by 2050 instead.

We’re making sure we’re doing our part and setting a great example for others as the largest privately held business with science-based targets. Let’s look at what net zero emissions means and some of the actions Trafalgar has taken to reduce our impact so far.

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How are we addressing sustainability?

We have two main ways that we approach sustainability at Trafalgar and The Travel Corporation. The first is with How We Tread Right, our five-year sustainability strategy and business blueprint. The second is through our TreadRight Foundation, which focuses on philanthropic MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® projects to protect the planet, people and our wildlife.

What is “How We Tread Right” and why does it matter?

Alongside our sister brands we launched our five-year sustainability strategy in 2020. This blueprint is based on 11 measurable goals anchored to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which address the issues of climate change, sustainable food production, waste reduction, travel experiences, diversity and inclusion, and wildlife.

This is our transparent and public commitment to sharing our sustainability progress annually. It holds us accountable and guides our vision as we work to continuously improve. At the moment we are highly focused on three of the goals – the biggest being to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

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What does net zero emissions by 2050 mean?

Our updated our goal to reach Net Zero Emissions by 2050 is significantly more ambitious and impactful than carbon neutrality. Why? Carbon neutrality means compensating for your emissions, typically with offsets. Purchasing offsets is just offsetting your emissions guilt. Instead of buying our way out of the issue, we want to take real action to reduce our footprint and have a real impact on the planet. 

Net zero means no carbon is emitted from the get-go, so no carbon needs to be captured or offset. That means getting rid of carbon emissions through greater efficiency, electrification, renewables, and other means. Our net zero targets will be backed by a net zero roadmap and financed with our Carbon Fund.

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What’s the plan?

We will focus on deep carbon reductions and reduce our footprint to reach as close to net zero emissions as possible. Our targets will be verified by a Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTI) to align with the scale of reductions required to keep global temperatures below an increase of 1.5 degrees. How? Let’s take a look.

1. Reduce

Our first action is to implement a Carbon Fund in 2023 to reduce the emissions we produce. The Fund will generate money via our travel brands, including Trafalgar, and then that money will be invested into low-carbon technologies and solutions to reduce emissions. We promise our commitment to this fund will not impact our prices.

Our first steps include using renewable energy across our offices, facilities and depots. We’re planning to roll out owned zero-emission vehicles. And we will reduce the carbon footprint of our trips in collaboration with our supply chain and destinations.

2. Restore

In partnership with the TreadRight Foundation, in 2023 we will prioritise financial support for nature-based solutions to remove carbon from the atmosphere and address the world’s rapid loss of biodiversity. This might mean projects that conserve, restore, or better manage ecosystems that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Think protecting coastal areas, regrowing important forests, or switching to restorative agriculture. We want plant earth to continue to restore itself, so we can keep enjoying this beautiful place.

Right now, TreadRight is supporting projects like Greenwave, which utilises kelp to capture nitrous oxide in land-based farms, and Project Vesta, which is speeding up the natural weathering process on olivine, a mineral, to capture and store carbon dioxide in the ocean.

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That’s how we’ve reset our Climate Action Plan to include ambitious reduction targets. Through our Carbon Fund and projects supported by TreadRight we will aim to reach net zero by 2050. 

We’re committed to being transparent, so if you want to follow along you can download our first Impact Report here. The 2022 report will be released in late Q2 2023.

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