As COP27 got under way in Egypt and World Travel Market ran in London, travel company Brown + Hudson announced that it will cap the number of travelers it sends to any destination at just 50 people per year.
“We are on a highway to climate hell,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in Sharm-El-Sheikh. Meanwhile, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili warned in London that “We have to do more and do better—we have no time to waste.”
Whilst tourism might not be the biggest contributor to climate change, its impact is significant. And we are witnesses. Unprecedented effects of climate change are affecting countries that welcome our clients, including India, the USA, the Maldives, South Korea, Cuba and South Africa.
“The industry needs to lead by example,” says Philippe Brown, founder of Brown + Hudson. “We are in the very privileged position of being able to take action. This is what we must do.”
One of the positives of this approach is that it will give Brown + Hudson’s experience designers the creative freedom that exists within constraint.
There are precedents for this kind of initiative. In 2019 outdoor apparel brand Patagonia updated its mission statement to “We’re in business to save our planet.” CEO Rose Marcario added, “We don’t just seek now to do less harm, we need to do more good.”
Brown + Hudson believes the entire travel industry could do more good, and be more mindful. Since 2021, the company has recommended that clients plan far in advance. The new initiative is another reason for clients to think strategically—but also open-mindedly—about their travels and what they want to achieve.
“Sure, this will have an impact on our bottom line,” admits Brown. “But the bigger bottom line is that in the context of climate change, we need to be more responsible.”
Whilst seeking inspiration for a client project, Brown recently dipped into Cormack McCarthy’s “All the Pretty Horses.” One line in particular stood out: “Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.” Never has this been more true.