WTTC and UN Climate Change in new partnership to tackle climate change
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN Climate Change) have agreed a common agenda for Climate Action in Travel & Tourism, it was announced today at the WTTC Global Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Recognising the ambition set by the Paris Agreement to maintain temperature levels at 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and the economic importance of Travel & Tourism to the world’s economy (10% of GDP and 1 in 10 jobs), the Common Agenda sets out a framework for the two organisations to recognise and address the linkages between T&T and climate change.
Speaking at the event in Buenos Aires, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change said “This is the first time the T&T sector has actively engaged on a global level with the UN Climate agenda. We recognise that T&T has a huge role to play in addressing climate change. While climate change itself poses significant risks to some tourism destinations, in many of the most high-risk areas, tourism can provide opportunities for communities to build resilience to its impacts. At the same time, as a fast-growing sector, T&T has a responsibility to ensure this growth is sustainable and sits within the parameters set by the Paris Agreement. I call on players across the sector to join us in the move towards a climate neutral world. I am delighted that WTTC is committed to working with us in this ambition.”
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, commented “Sustainable growth is one of WTTC’s strategic priorities and climate action is a pillar within that. This is a huge opportunity for our sector to really engage in a meaningful way with the global climate agenda. We are already seeing how climate change is impacting our sector with extreme weather events, rising sea levels and destruction of biodiversity.
There are many different initiatives from across the WTTC Membership and beyond to reduce the impact of Travel & Tourism on climate change and through this new Common Agenda with UN Climate Change we will have a platform to communicate actions and integrate them into the broader initiatives which UN Climate Change is leading, with a particular focus on the upcoming COP24 in Poland.”
Given the importance of Travel & Tourism to the world economy and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the growing imperative to address climate change in a meaningful way, WTTC and UN Climate Change will work together towards a carbon neutral world with the aim of:
- Communicating the nature and importance of the interlinkages between T&T and climate change
- Raising awareness of the positive contribution T&T can make to building climate resilience
- Reducing thecontribution of T&T to climate change and supporting quantitative targets and reductions
WTTC has been actively engaged in climate change conversations since 2009 when the Council set out a comprehensive framework for the sector and set an aspirational target of reducing total carbon emissions by no less than 50% by 2035 with an interim target of 30% by 2020 with a follow up report issued in 2015.
Chris Nassetta, WTTC Chair and CEO of Hilton added “We recognise the very viability of our industry during the Golden Age of Travel depends on a planet that can support and sustain our growth. Building on the global scientific consensus around decarbonisation efforts that came out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and WTTC’s subsequent call for the dialogue on carbon to turn to science-based targets, now it is time to turn that dialogue into action. As Chairman of WTTC, I encourage our Member companies and the wider industry to follow the Paris Climate Agreement and incorporate its objectives into their own actionable science-based targets.”
In my two-year term as Chairman of WTTC I would like to see the sector exceed its 30% target by 2020 and to do so, will work with WTTC research arm and share our LightStay methodology to drive carbon reductions across our operations.”
Chris Nassetta was joined on stage by WTTC Vice Chairs Gary Chapman (President Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group), Manfredi Lefebvre (Chairman, Silversea Cruises), Jeff Rutledge (CEO, AIG Travel), Hiromi Tagawa (Chairman of the Board, JTB Corp) and Brett Tollman (Chief Executive, The Travel Corporation).