If we want an honest debate about climate change then we can’t ignore methane, produced from agriculture, particularly livestock, bio-degrading of our waste, and of course leaking out from the extraction of fossil fuels.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the second biggest contributor to human-caused global warming after CO2. Per unit of mass, methane is 84-86 times stronger than CO2 over 20 years and 28-34 times as powerful over 100 years.
The Harmony Quality mark in Sustainability was delivered to the Harmony Institute, University of Wales Trinity Saint David in October 2020, following a TLC 6 months review of Harmony approaches and how the principles of Harmony could be implemented in a real world setting or industry, in this case Tourism. After review by David Cadman from the Harmony Leadership, it was forwarded by him to the Sustainable Markets Initiative (led by HRH Prince Charles), where the response was very engaging and positive, “The work you have done to incorporate the Harmony principles is incredible”, “HRH is very eager to explore” “meaningful collaboration”. It has since been adapted for tourism generally and the Built Environment. And particular elements within the paper have formed the basis that others have developed and implement in their own approach. We are proud that it has already acted as an inspiration to those in leadership positions within the environmental movement.
So how much information do you need to says let’s do this a different way. Clarity and Simplicity are essential to let consumers know that your sustainability approach is good for the climate, biodiversity and cultural heritage. A forty eight point plan for reductions of energy, water and waste is great, but keep that to the due process, who needs a sustainability degree if all you want to do is book a hotel room.
What is the outcome? Can you put a price on it? Can you ask the consumer to contribute and offset against the harm they are doing.
Delivered by TLC on the 3rd of November 2020 to leaders in the environmental movement. We proposed a global fund for nature. and were delighted to see the concept adopted in February 2021 with a £7.5 billion target.
The additional component of localised fund was not adopted but we recognise that sometimes institutions focus on their own message and ambitions.
—————————————————- The TLC team have separated out three core functionality elements to support sustainability delivery:
Audit & Accredit – Total Harm Assessment through Natural, and Human & Social Capital financial evaluation; leading to Harmony level of accreditation;
Offset Fund (Global and Local) – A fund derived from Offset for People, Planet & Place, and;
Action and Improvement – (Funded from Offset) – Sustainable practice and education, for Restoration and Protection of People, Planet & Place.
Tourism, resorts and destinations need to stop subsidising their price by eroding the natural environment and the cultural and heritage sites we visit. But the principle responsibility is with the customer and visitor. Cheap ticket comes at a cost to the natural environment and the local communities. Lets move towards the paying the correct price and True Value of the things we really care for.
Well yes it does and it can, tourism contributes around 8% -10% of CO2 emissions.
And a colleague of ours in the Maldives identified 72% of their destination carbon footprint was the flight to and from their resort.
However, over 2020 there are a number of destinations where the loss of tourism has significantly impacted the restoration and preservation of their wildlife and biodiversity, Costa Rica being most recently in the news.
We need to square this circle of harm and benefit. And the way to do that is to be honest about the true range of harm: measuring, assessing, and putting a financial impact value to it, then addressing those harms through offsetting or mitigating through restoring, protecting and rewilding to not just an equal value but greater than the harm cost.
A 2019 Science journal study revealed that 83 per cent of the world’s cultivable land is used to feed livestock. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, meat consumption accounts for around 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and there is now broad consensus among scientists that stopping fuel emissions alone will not be enough to meet the climate targets outlined in the Paris agreement.
We at TLC are not rampant vegetarians, but we get that certain animal products may need to be considered a little more carefully, just taking beef off the diet makes a dramatic change in CO2, and that 80% more powerful global warming gas, methane. My Welsh business partner says go for more lamb, but she would because the Welsh love their sheep. Your choice, but little changes, by lots of us, make a world of difference.
The awareness that every business is dependent on nature, is key to putting an appropriate value to that resource. You can’t keep taking out without putting back. Our position is that we are now in such a deficit, that just being neutral to climate, biodiversity, water; is not enough. You have to put back a little bit more, so that you become Good for People Planet and Prosperity. It is not an eco-warriors dream, there’s a sound economic position here, a position that consumers are willing to pay a premium towards.
The Biden administration plans to boost the figure it will use to assess the damage that greenhouse gas pollution inflicts on society to $51 per ton of carbon dioxide. But the number could reach as high as $125 per ton.
The US Interagency Working Group also set a $1,500-per-ton cost for methane emissions and $18,000 for nitrous oxide.
Tourism can lead the way by asking our customers to “offset” the Carbon and other Green House Gasses, and harm their visit does to the climate, biodiversity and cultural heritage. This customer based offset can be readily identified and if the resort or destination chooses, it can be applied as an “opt-out” of the bill, like the service charge in a restaurant. Our TLC review of research identified that across a range of hospitality products, and even RevPAR on hotel rooms, customers are willing to pay a premium for sustainability.
“Tourism has been described as the world’s largest transfer of resources from rich to poor, dwarfing international aid,” BBC
“the largest voluntary transfer of cash from the rich to the poor, the ‘haves’ to ‘have nots’, in history”. Even if one allows for considerable “leakage” Guardian newspaper
UNWTO “The sudden fall in tourism cuts off funding for biodiversity conservation. Some 7% of world tourism relates to wildlife, a segment growing by 3% annually. The impact on biodiversity and ecosystems is critical. In many African destinations, wildlife accounts for up to 80% of visits, and tourism revenues enable marine conservation efforts. Several examples of community involvement in nature tourism show how communities, including indigenous peoples, have been able to protect their cultural and natural heritage while creating wealth and improve their wellbeing. #conservation#tourism#biodiversity