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First we went carbon neutral. Now for the next step: committing to carbon reductions and supporting the transition to a low-carbon future.
At Contiki, we want you to experience the life-changing benefits of exploring the world. We want you to see the big five on safari. To wander pristine coastlines or listen to the roar of a rainforest, intact and teeming with wildlife. We want to share the gift of travel with you and generations to come.
But unprecedented things are happening to our planet – the impacts of climate change are universal, and ignoring them won’t make it go away.
In 2022, we offered carbon neutral trips and invested in high-quality carbon credits. But the science has spoken, and it’s clear that we need to reduce our emissions before anything else (including offsets). We need to focus on reducing our emissions to get them as close to zero as possible. Our Climate Action Plan outlines how we will reach net zero GHG emissions across the value chain by 2050 from a 2019 baseline year, with accompanying short-term and long-term targets that are validated by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) (this group is legit – nothing gets past them as they ensure all emissions are accounted for). So, in partnership with our parent company, The Travel Corporation, we’ve put in the work. Now it’s time to smash these targets:
Short Term Targets (2030)
Long Term Target (2050)
Setting reduction targets is just one of the steps we’re taking to decarbonize our business. That’s why we’ve reset our Climate Action Plan to guide our efforts. Because we need to keep learning and adapting as the world moves closer to a lower carbon economy.
Here’s how you can reduce your carbon footprint while travelling:
Coach travel has been proven to have substantial environmental benefits, including reducing congestion and causing less pollution per passenger kilometre than any other transportation option. Coaches have been proven to emit fewer greenhouse gases on a per passenger basis than either train or car travel (DEFRA - Dept for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs GHG Conversion Factors 2019).
Science-based targets are carbon reduction targets that align with the scale of global reductions required to keep global temperatures below an increase of 1.5 degrees. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is an organisation that ensures science-based targets are aggressive enough to do our part. In 2022, our parent company, The Travel Corporation was the first tour operator with validated science based net-zero targets.
Meat production is the primary source of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide. When you’re travelling try a new vegetarian or vegan dish – check out our Contiki vegan trip here.
Frequently Asked Questions
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How does travel contribute to climate change?
Whenever we start a car or jump onto an airplane, we emit harmful emissions into the air, known as greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). GHGs are caused in part by the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) to keep our gas tanks full and our fossil-fuel based transportation system moving. GHGs trap heat from the sun within our atmosphere and the more GHGs that we emit into the atmosphere, the more heat is trapped – warming our planet.
What is a carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint encompasses the total amount of carbon that was emitted into the atmosphere to provide a product or service.
How did you calculate the carbon footprint from my trip?
Contiki worked with a third-party consultant to measure the carbon footprint of our trips. Here’s what we considered in scope:
- Transfers: any transportation provided as part of the trip
- Meals: any included meals as part of the trip
- Accommodations: all accommodations included within the trip.
We took a regional approach to measuring these emissions, to ensure country and regional specific emission factors were used where possible. We will review and update the carbon footprint of our trips every three years using our custom trip emission calculator.
Here’s what we considered out of scope and will not be included as part of our trip carbon footprint
- Traveller’s air travel to and from the destination
- All pre and post services not included in the price of the trip
- Emissions produced by facilities or buildings we visit on our trips (ie. museums). These emissions are considered the responsibility of the facility as determined by internationally accepted principles for emissions accounting.
- Meals purchased by the traveller
What else is Contiki doing to reduce the carbon footprint of its trips?
We’re taking several steps to reduce the carbon footprint of our trips:
We’re implementing food waste management systems at our special stays, Gasthof and the Chateau to measure and reduce our food waste.
What are science based targets?
Science based targets are ambitious carbon reduction targets approved by the Science Based Target initiative. They ensure businesses reduce their emissions to limit the global temperature increase to no more than 1.5°C (essential to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change). Contiki is working at an industry level through the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) to create roadmaps for setting science-based targets. From there we can evaluate when and how to set science-based targets.
Why did you stop carbon offsetting?
In 2022, when we set our science-based targets we aligned ourselves with the Net-Zero Standard which focuses on emission reductions through direct action within our own business and supply chain. This prompted us to establish a dedicated carbon fund to finance our low-carbon transition. This means that rather than offsetting the emissions we might produce, we are investing in emissions reductions across our business.
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