We're going Net Zero
We’re going beyond carbon neutral and have set our sights on net zero. With verified carbon-reduction targets in place, a dedicated carbon fund to support our low-carbon projects, and support for carbon removal and biodiversity projects from our non-profit, The TreadRight Foundation – it’s time to get to work.
First, what’s the difference between carbon neutral and net zero?
Carbon neutral means you’re balancing the carbon you’re emitting by reducing the same amount of carbon elsewhere. Sounds ideal right? Not quite- the climate crisis demands we stop producing carbon period. This is where net zero comes in – it’s a plan to get to zero emissions by 2050, and then compensate for any emissions we’re still producing . This means we’re focusing on our own business and investing in low-carbon fuels and technology to reduce our emissions. Having verified science-based targets will guide our efforts and hold us accountable for ensuring these reductions happen.
As the saying goes – you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Our teams have taken significant time to understand and calculate the carbon footprint of our trips so we can get them down to zero. Check out how we do this below.
How we measure the carbon footprint of our trips: All the Details
In 2020, Radical Travel Group worked with an independent consultant, Synergy Enterprises, to build a customised Trip Carbon Calculator for our team to measure the emissions associated with our trips, from the moment we pick you up to when we drop you off. It covers all included transport, accommodation and meals. This was a huge undertaking, and some of you might have questions on how, exactly, we did this – well, you’ve come to the right place.
About our Tour Carbon Calculator
Radical Travel Group worked with an independent consultant, Synergy Enterprises, to build a customised Trip Carbon Calculator to help us measure the emissions associated with our trips. Our Trip Carbon Calculator was developed in alignment with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, an internationally accepted emissions accounting and reporting standard. In 2022, the Trip Carbon Calculator was updated to allow for greater granularity in the data collection and results gathered by the trip itinerary measurements. As a result, data collection in future reporting years will be able to capture carbon conscious decisions and show reductions in emission totals.
The most relevant and up to date emission factors at the time were selected from international reporting bodies. Emission factors are coefficients that allow us to convert activity data into greenhouse gas emissions. They may differ based on the country or region the activity is taking place in. Where emission factors were not available, custom averages were developed.
- DEFRA GHG Conversion Factors
- International Energy (IEA) Agency Emission Factors
- Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmark (CHSB) Index
- CO2 Connect
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Use Associated with Production of Individual Self-selected US Diets.
What’s in and out of scope?
Here’s what we considered in scope:
- Transfer emissions: Include emissions from all forms of transportation during a Radical Travel Group trip. This includes transfers that are included in the trip and transfers that result from Free Time Add-On experiences. Emissions from transfers are calculated by taking transfer modes, distances, fuel type, passenger numbers and number of vehicles used for selected trips.
- Accommodation emissions: Accommodation emissions are based on average energy consumption by room type from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. A regional energy factor is applied resulting in a unique average for each room type in each region.
- Meal emissions: Emissions from meals have been calculated based on two main identifying factors – buffet vs. non buffet and vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian meals. Synergy Enterprises developed customised emission factors for each meal type that accounts for food production and food waste. Emissions are only calculated for meals included in the trip itinerary.
Here’s what we considered out of scope:
- Each traveller’s air travel to and from the destination
- All pre and post services not included in the base price of the trip
- Emissions produced by facilities or buildings we visit on our trips (i.e. museums). These emissions are considered the responsibility of the facility as determined by internationally accepted principles for emissions accounting.
- Meals purchased by the traveller, above those included in the cost of the trip
What is the average carbon footprint per person per day on a Radical Travel Group tour?
Using our Tour Carbon Calculator, Radical Travel Group calculated the emissions of 14 tours with consideration of region and distance travelled, seasonality, and number of included and optional experiences. We measured these tours to identify an average carbon footprint per passenger, per day. This worked out to 10.82 kg CO2e per person per day.
Average carbon footprint per passenger, per day: 10.82 kg
What else is Radical Travel Group doing to reduce its carbon footprint?
Radical Travel Group works closely with our parent company, The Travel Corporation and has a Climate Action Plan in place. Learn more about it here.
Across the business, from our tour operation to our accommodation in the Highlands & Islands, we are taking several steps to reduce our carbon footprint:
We use the most fuel-efficient Euro 6 coaches, and we are assessing the use of biofuels for these coaches.
All of our premises are run on 100% renewable electricity: our shop and bus yard in Edinburgh, and our accommodation on Skye and Loch Ness.
We work with local suppliers to continually increase the selection of the freshest local food products we use, reducing GHGs associated with transport and increasing local food security.
We have a dedicated “Green Team” who ensure we operate in a more sustainable way. Examples include switching to an accredited sustainable stationary supplier, getting bottled milk delivered to our Edinburgh office, signing up to the “Bike to Work Scheme” and installing a shower at our HQ Edinburgh office. These steps have led to us achieving a gold Green Tourism award across all our businesses.
To help restore the Caledonian Forest we have pioneered an Eco Scheme where you can make an optional £2 donation when booking any tour. We will match every £1 you donate, with proceeds going to the leading Scottish environmental charity, the Trees for Life.
If you have questions about our approach to measuring Radical Travel Group's emissions or ways to improve, email us at email@example.com.