Innovation Category Finalist
"If you cannot measure it," said Lord Kelvin, the scientist who developed the absolute temperature scale, "you cannot improve it." Nowhere is this truth more urgent than in the field of carbon reduction. Which travel option is more carbon efficient? Which airline? Which airplane even? Add the choices of hotels, tour operators and activities, and the challenge for a travel company trying to develop more environmentally responsible products for their customers becomes increasingly difficult. How would they know if taking the train to spend a week skiing in the Alps is more or less carbon intensive than flying to Finland for a long weekend?
Until now, a significant problem was that most carbon calculators focussed on only a limited part of the tourism package - either aviation or accommodation for example, hampering any efforts to accurately assess an entire holiday's impact. However, thanks to Carmacal, the first B2B carbon calculator for tourism enterprises, things have now become a lot easier to measure. Developed by an ANVR-led expert consortium, Carmacal is the only carbon calculator to be able to provide climate footprints at the level of airline/aircraft combinations per route, while also estimating the carbon footprint for 500,000 accommodation options around the world. It means that tour operators can assess the carbon impact of the packages they offer more thoroughly than before, and look for ways to make them more efficient.
Although developed in the Netherlands, the calculator has global reach, as it is web-based and has been built with an English interface. For travel companies who begin using it, there is the opportunity to both make their products more energy efficient and generate potential cost savings by adapting their products based on what they learn. As the industry begins finally to fully grapple with its climate impact, this could be just the tool it needs.