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Intrepid becomes first tour operator with verified, science-based targets

Intrepid just became the first tour operator in the world with verified, science-based targets.

What does that mean, you might ask? Well…

Intrepid’s ambitious 2035 emissions reduction targets, in line with a 1.5°C future, have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The initiative is a collaboration between four organisations, including the United Nations Global Compact, who promote best practices around corporate climate action and independently assess and approve companies’ targets.

The tour company will be taking a series of actions to reduce emissions across its operations and trips, replacing transportation options on many of the company’s itineraries to lower-carbon alternatives.

For example, in 2019, Intrepid traded out internal flights with high-speed rail on a number of its trips in China. In Peru, the company switched to 100 per cent biodegradable containers for packed lunches on their trekking itineraries.

Beyond its existing tours, Intrepid will be expanding its newly launched range of closer to home trips to over 100 itineraries in 2021, providing tour options that will require fewer flights for domestic travellers.

Internally, Intrepid will also be reducing international business travel, procuring renewable electricity and transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy in its global offices by 2025.

The 1.5°C target is in line with the historic 2015 Paris Agreement, in which world leaders outlined a clear global response to the threat of climate change.

To reach its 2035 target, the company has committed to reduce absolute scope 1 (direct emissions) and scope two (emissions from heat and electricity) greenhouse gas emissions 71 per cent by 2035 from a 2018 base year.

Intrepid has also committed to reduce scope two (value chain emissions) greenhouse gas emissions from its offices by 34 per cent per full-time equivalent and from its trips by 56 per cent per passenger day over the same period.

There are currently  only  14 hospitality and tourism companies  in the world with approved targets, including  Hilton and InterContinental Hotels  Group, with an additional 14 companies within the sector of hospitality who are  committed to setting  science-based targets, including  Legacy Vacation Resorts and MGM Resorts International.

“Intrepid’s verified science-based targets mark the most significant step we’ve taken on our climate journey in the past 15 years,” CEO James Thornton said.

“Setting science-based targets is widely considered the most effective way for companies to take significant climate action, and we’re proud to be building our business towards a 1.5°C future.

“Our hope is that we can use this as a rallying cry to the entire industry that climate action needs to be a critical priority in travel’s post-COVID recovery. We simply can’t rebuild at the expense of the planet.”


Featured image: iStock/Don White



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