Thomson and First Choice demand travel industry takes firmer

Thomson and First Choice demand travel industry takes firmer

Thomson and First Choice, has called for the travel industry to immediately
adopt full and transparent carbon reporting.

Parent company, TUI Travel PLC’s sustainable development report* released
in July 2009 and which includes specific targets for Thomson and First
Choice, revealed that the Group reduced its carbon emissions by 8% in the
2007/08 financial year (against a baseline of 2007/08).  In addition, the
Group has committed to a carbon reduction target of 6% by 2013/14 and has
set 70 targets to achieve this year.

Today, TUI Travel has also been commended by the Carbon Disclosure Project
(CDP) and has been included in the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index
(CDLI) for being within top-scoring 10% of FTSE350 companies, for the
second year running. The Carbon Disclosure Project represents investors
with $55 trillion in assets under management, for the quality of its carbon
data and understanding of how climate change affects the company.

Dermot Blastland, managing director of Thomson and First Choice, explains:
“It is rare within our industry to set carbon targets that stretch a
business and which they have to report against clearly, in order for
stakeholders and customers to understand.  Outside pressure is known to
improve performance.  If companies do not set objectives that they are
accountable for then they are not going to work as hard to achieve them.”

Dermot is challenging all travel companies, particularly airlines, to
develop and publish carbon efficiency targets that visibly illustrate their
total carbon footprint and their carbon emissions per passenger. Progress
against these targets should then be reported annually.


Dermot continued: “It shouldn’t just stop there.  Once full and
transparent reporting has been achieved, businesses need to commission
independent professionals to assess their performance against their targets
and provide assurance to consumers and stakeholders that targets have
indeed been met.

“If the climate change challenge is not tackled now, we may not have an
industry by 2050.  Travel companies need to put the right objectives in
place, measure their impact on the environment and set targets that they
want to achieve and be judged against. One of the goals of Tourism 2023**
is to set industry-wide objectives and measures for sustainable
development. TUI Travel fully supports this aim, and is proud to be a
founding member of the initiative.“

Dermot is also calling on the UK Government to incentivise and reward good
performance when setting environmental taxes – something which the
current Air Passenger Duty (APD) fails to do.


Thomson and First Choice have also announced today that over 100 hotels in
their Travelife audit programme have achieved a Travelife award. This means
that the companies have now helped more hotels achieve Travelife awards
than all other UK tour operators put together.

The travel company actively encourages all its hoteliers to use the
Travelife Sustainability System, which provides hotels with strict social
and environmental criteria. Top performers are awarded a Gold, Silver or
Bronze Travelife award for their commitment to the environment, employees
and local communities.  Tour operators can promote these achievements
through brochures and websites to allow consumers to make an informed
choice when booking a holiday.

Thomson and First Choice has reached this significant target by training
more than 90 team members to qualify as Travelife auditors, who have
conducted over 600 supplier sustainability audits over the past few years.
It also has a dedicated Sustainable Product team to oversee the
implementation of environmental management processes throughout its
flagship properties.