What is Climate Friendly Travel? How can travel and tourism be aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement? How can the youth be empowered to become the drivers of change that the world needs today?
We asked Professor Geoffrey Lipman these questions during the last edition of #TravindyFest, the quarterly event run by Travindy Español where we connect with agents of change and sustainable tourism experts to talk about how they see the sector today.
What is Climate Friendly Travel?
According to Geoffrey, “Climate Friendly Travel is fundamentally shifting to low carbon in whatever form works for you. Then it has two anchors: one is the green path and the other one is the clean path”.
The green path is focused on specific actions that companies and communities are taking to follow the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). This global framework has 17 goals, 169 targets and 231 indicators, with only one SDG being existential – SDG13 Climate Action.
The clean path refers to how businesses’ activities & operations fit into the Paris Climate Agreement. As Geoffrey explains, “the Paris 1.5 trajectory means that you have to reduce your carbon by certain percentages over the next 30 years. This is a long time away, but you have to set your targets today to be 0 carbon by 2050”.
SUNx Malta: the organisation that makes Climate Friendly Travel a reality
SUNx Malta is a non-for-profit organisation that has been an advocate of Climate Friendly Travel since 2014. Their strategy is designed to help & empower travel and tourism companies and communities to transition to a low carbon future. In order to do this, they have created an Ambitions Registry, the first ever Diploma in Climate Friendly Travel and the STRONG Climate Champions program.
The Ambitions Registry is the first step for companies and communities to commit to the Paris Agreement and find their own way to fit their activities into the framework. All stakeholders are able to access help to create their plan and find examples & good practices from other companies and communities via the Sunx portal of resources.
The Climate Friendly Travel Diploma has been created in conjunction with the Institute of Tourism Studies in Malta. The Diploma features lectures from 25 professors and experts in climate change and tourism and was launched in 2020 with an initial cohort of 45 students from 30 different countries.
On completion of the Diploma, Geoffrey envisions the development of its students into climate champions. He says that “we want the people to take internships and to become trail-blazers for our plan to create a community of 100,000 STRONG Climate Champions by 2030. We want this community to be composed of and driven by young people, because the future belongs to you”.
SUNx Malta advocates for bottom-up transformation, calling for young people to get involved in helping communities and companies change their course. The idea behind Climate Friendly Travel is that the sector can look at the complicated global UN framework and find a way to implement carbon reduction actions to start the transformation needed.
Professor Geoffrey Lipman has an extensive background in travel and tourism. He’s lived and worked in many parts of the world and is a former Executive Director of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the First President of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). He has also worked as the Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in Madrid and now lives in Brussels where he is the President of Sunx Malta – Strong Universal Network.