Home » Climate Update: How we’re progressing towards a 1.5°C future 

Climate Update: How we’re progressing towards a 1.5°C future 

written by Natalie Kidd August 23, 2022
Intrepid Impact Report 2022

Our half-year Climate Update provides a behind the scenes glimpse on how we’re advancing our climate action.  

Welcome to the first of our mid-year Climate Update that takes a look at our goal to reduce global emissions in line with a 1.5°C future. In 2018, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of the threat of allowing global temperatures to rise more than 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures.

Last year, as part of our Ethical Marketing Guidelines, we made a commitment to improve the level of transparency around our climate action work. You’ve probably noticed there’s no shortage of companies committing to ambitious climate goals, but many of them offer little by way of transparency into how they are making meaningful strides each year.  

While we publish this information annually in our integrated annual report, we felt it was important to share the details on all the climate work happening throughout the year. We’d love to hear what you think! Drop us a line at accountability@intrepidtravel.com

1. Our trips and offices: Carbon emissions update  

Ongoing (expected Q4 2022)

Each year, Intrepid measures how much carbon our business generates – that includes our 1,150+ trips and 40+ offices around the globe. This is a core part of our decarbonization plan as we can only reduce what we measure.  

Last year, we changed the way we measure emissions from trips to ensure we get an accurate view of how we performed compared with previous years.  

Previously, we averaged out emissions by region and trip style, but we’ve modified our approach to look at emissions at the individual trip level. It’s a big job, and it’s taking a little longer than we expected, but there are big benefits to changing the way we measure our trip emissions. By calculating emissions for every individual trip, accounting for carbon emissions from accommodation, transport, activities and included meals, we’ll truly understand where we can make improvements.  

We’re also keen to understand what this new way of measuring each trip tells us about changes we’ve already made to itineraries, such as removing short-haul flights from some trips, using e-vehicles where we can and travelling by train.  

Trip emissions for last year will be published here so stay tuned for more.  

2. Our trips: Introduced new plant-based meals  

Completed April 2022

One of the ways we can reduce carbon emissions on our trips is through the meals that are included. In fact, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, plant-based foods and diets are one of the biggest opportunities the world has to limit climate change.  

Now every one of our twenty-one Real Food Adventures include at least one plant-based meal experience. Not only do travellers get to try a tasty, fresh meal, plant-based options also come with a much lower carbon footprint than animal proteins. The climate impact of plant-based foods is typically 10 to 50 times smaller than that of animal products.  

That means delicious meals that are also better for the planet.  

3. Our team: Citizen science in support of nature  

December 2021 and May 2022 

Through the Intrepid Foundation’s partner Blue Carbon Lab, forty members of our Melbourne/Narrm* team have had the opportunity to contribute to the regeneration of coastal wetlands of mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses – also known as blue carbon. Blue carbon plays an important role in carbon reduction, because it actually draws down carbon thirty to fifty times faster than trees and locks it away in the ground.  

Reducing carbon emissions and slowing the rate of global warming is critical – but we also recognise that preserving and regenerating nature is just as vital.  

Our team will have another opportunity to support nature with Blue Carbon Lab later this year.  

4. Our team and offices: Engagement on climate action  

Ongoing, January – June 2022

We believe sustainability starts with our own culture and teams. During the first half of 2022, our teams around the world have engaged in climate action and sustainability and advanced their individual action in a number of ways.  

Our global environmental impact manager hosted a series of one-to-one climate advocacy sessions with six offices around the world to inspire and educate around climate action. Two hundred and five members of our team (or about 30 per cent) have attended.  Other activities and improvements include:  

  • Our new Toronto office location was selected with sustainability criteria in mind, including proximity to public transport to reduce emissions from commuting via car.   
  • We introduced an improved recycling waste management program in Thailand. 
  • Organic waste collection and use of wastewater from water filtration was introduced in India.  
  • We completed our first airport transfers using electric vehicles in Sri Lanka – the first time we’ve used this technology in that country.   

5. Our industry: Advocacy  

Ongoing, January – June 2022

As global travel reopened through 2022, the travel industry has rapidly shifted into rebuilding operational capacity.  

At the same time, Intrepid has endeavored to maintain industry advocacy on climate change wherever possible. Several senior leaders from across our global teams spoke on sustainability at industry events.  

This included a virtual keynote by our global environmental impact manager who chose to ‘visit’ Tourism Victoria’s IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Conference in British Colombia, Canada, via a virtual link, to save on a long-haul flight and the associated carbon emissions.  

Intrepid continued to support a number of industry associations and groups, including the Adventure Travel Trade Association, the UK’s Institute of Travel and Tourism and the Glasgow Declaration Capacity Building Working Group, among others.  

In the second half of this year, we continue to embed lower-carbon experiences and inclusions in new trips, guided by our 2021 trip emissions data, and look forward to welcoming a new Indigenous purpose specialist role to our team.

Our integrated annual report will be published in April 2023 and our next Climate Update in June 2023.   

*Narrm is the Aboriginal name for Melbourne and comes from Woi Wurrung, the language spoken by the traditional owners of the city and its surrounds. Tourism Australia has adopted Aboriginal dual naming for capital cities in Australia and we’re pleased to acknowledge Australia’s First Nations cultures and histories in this way.  

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