Even in the luxury space, travel should not cost the earth. When it comes to sustainable luxury travel, we’re proud to lead the way.
As the new year approaches, we took the opportunity to talk with Shannon Guihan, TTC’s Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of TreadRight, our not-for-profit foundation. Here she shares how we’ve led the industry this year and takes a look ahead to 2024. Plus we announce a new project set to make a big impact towards our goal of net zero GHG emissions by 2050.
The year that was
Focussed on change though action, we’re constantly adapting our sustainability journey at Luxury Gold and our sister brands at The Travel Corporation. Exactly one year ago, we announced a reset of our Climate Action Plan and, as part of this reset, we accelerated our original climate action commitments.
A major undertaking, we committed to reach net zero GHG emissions across the value chain by 2050. “We were the first in the industry to have all three targets (short-term, long-term and net zero targets) validated by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), an organization that ensures our targets are aggressive enough to do our part for the planet,” Shannon explains.
“Another industry first, we established an internal Carbon Fund to invest in our net zero transition,” she continues. Luxury Gold contributes a dedicated amount annually to the Carbon Fund, alongside its sister brands within The Travel Corporation portfolio, this is then allocated to projects that will reduce our emissions in line with our Climate Action Plan. “Currently, we’re investing in 100% renewable electricity across our USA offices, solar power for our Australian offices and biofuels across our European coach fleet.”
Read ore about sustainable luxury travel: Slow and sustainable: The expectations of the luxury traveler in 2023 and beyond
Sustainable luxury travel in 2024
“Moving ahead, you’re going to see us really dive deep into our travel experiences to ingrain sustainability even further,” Shannon tells us. “Our itineraries already incorporate all of the work done to date into the guest experience. Many adaptations guests won’t notice, and that’s our aim – a seamless integration of greater sustainability performance, but guests can trust that as we are always evolving our approach.
“This is in addition to the gradual reduction of the carbon footprint through investment in our own infrastructure and assets and technology, all while not passing that cost on to our guests, which is really important.”
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
“Our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences are a really wonderful way to identify pre-vetted experiences, ones that we know really benefit a community through either environmental or social justice,” says Shannon. “These are really interesting because they are immersive impact experiences that really get you into what makes a place tick, and quite often how that place is navigating with care the challenges the world faces today’. Ensuring you leave a positive impact in the places we visit, we are continuing to build these experiences and for 2024 we aim to have at least one MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience on every Luxury Gold journey.
Bookmark for later: 4 incredible MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences you can enjoy with Luxury Gold
Investment in carbon reduction
“Investments into carbon reductions is going to be the big trend across the board in 2024, there are more and more technological solutions coming online and investments are needed so that these solutions scale,” Shannon says.
According to the World Economic Forum, ‘new technologies are key to achieving arguably one of the greatest challenges for humankind, the transition to net zero.’
“Some ways we have invested to date include ensuring that at our offices we are nearly at capacity in our ability to produce renewable energy. Looking ahead to next year we are heavily focused on our Scope 3 emissions, these are those produced by our partners and suppliers.
“There are several ways we can reduce our scope 3 footprint, such as by favoring electric and or biofuels, and by changing our routes such that we are on the road a little bit less and staying in places a little bit more. We can also greatly reduce these emissions by saying ‘no to more stuff’.”
You may also enjoy reading: How your travels with Luxury Gold help conserve nature for future generations
Say “no to more stuff”
We’ve recently discovered that the branded merchandise we give away at TTC produces 2,500 tones of carbon emissions every year. So, from today (7 December) we will launching a new project, saying ‘no to more stuff.’ Luxury Gold’s Sustainability Officer Gemma Myhill tells us more.
“Focusing on the non-essential carbon emissions that we emit as a business; we identified that 2500 tones of emissions go into the branded merchandise that we give away every year. This is the equivalent to 6.5 million car driven miles worth of carbon emissions that could be completely removed from our ecosystem.
“Instead, we can donate the money we would’ve used for merchandise designed to give away into projects that focus on nature-based carbon solutions to climate change. So, we asked ourselves, do we actually need more stuff? And the answer is no.”
“The nature-based solution projects we have chosen to support are Project GreenWave’s Kelp Climate Fund and Rainforest Rescue’s Daintree Project,” Gemma tells us. “There are two existing partners of our not-for-profit foundation, TreadRight. The fact that we already have strong relationships in place to leverage is a testament to how much sustainability is engrained in our core.”
GreenWave trains and supports ocean farmers in the era of climate change. Donations will be made to their Kelp Climate Fund which enables Kelp farmers to play a climate-positive role with their ocean farms, including carbon and nitrogen removal and habitat restoration. Each donation will fund the planting of 40lbs of kelp, which will help capture carbon and restore marine ecosystems.
Each donation to Rainforest Rescue restores 1 square metre of Australia’s Daintree Rainforest, and will preserve biodiversity and remove carbon from the atmosphere through planting, maintenance and restoration programs. Rainforest Rescue’s partnership with Traditional Owners, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji, is helping to broaden and deepen our understanding of the rainforest, and the plants and animals that make the Daintree, or Julaymba, so remarkable and worthy of our protection. This is the world’s longest continually evolving rainforest, protecting the Daintree provides ecosystem services which helps to support the Great Barrier Reef – the rainforest and the reef provide rain and clean water that is good for everyone. Rainforest Protection and Restoration is good Climate Action.
To learn more about sustainable luxury travel, our sustainability strategy and journey to Net Zero, read our Climate Action Plan.