PURPOSE AND CLEAN GROWTH
As COVID-19 continues into year three with no end yet in sight, business uncertainty remains our present and future reality in travel and tourism. Economists have said that society’s blinkered approach to the future risk of disease provides a lesson for our failure to address the potentially bigger catastrophic effects of climate change. Both disturbing scenarios are playing out now, warning us of the interconnected threats caused by human behaviour, and our enormous risk and vulnerability.
The science, the economics, the public sentiment and the solutions are now clear. The Eco-wakening global report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by WWF, tells us that brands that deliver on pursuit of purpose, that drive a culture of sustainable innovation, are front runners in consumers’ eyes – and they are watching. Many consumers believe that brands bear as much responsibility for positive change as governments, and businesses must commit to protecting nature and natural systems. Even if consumers struggle to make it a lifestyle, more already have a sustainability mindset and increasing the pressure on brands to make it easier for them to do so.
Drawing upon findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, the Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG) published a report on 26 August 2021 titled ‘The Final Warning Bell’. The report warns that reaching net zero greenhouse gas emission by 2050 is now “too little too late”, that current global emissions targets are inadequate, and that net negative (Carbon Positive) – rather than net zero – strategies are urgently required which removes more CO2 from the atmosphere than emitted. If not, it is likely that global temperatures will exceed 1.5°C as soon as 2030, taking the world into a zone of dangerous climate change.
Momentum has been building for some time around Brand Purpose (a reason to exist beyond just making money), Clean Growth based on conscious and sustainable principles (energy efficient and consumes fewer raw materials, uses renewable energy technologies and sustainable agricultural practices), and Climate Action (carbon reduction and offsetting to be Carbon Positive).
It’s no longer acceptable or smart for tourism companies and destinations, and the academia that supports this sector to delay actions. NOW offers bold sustainability solutions with financial support to qualified vanguards in 2022.
NOW’s vision for the future of tourism is aligned with UNWTO (United Nations World Travel Organisation), focused on innovation, education, sustainability, and green investment. We don’t have to choose between saving the planet and economic growth. We can have both, but we must act NOW, learn to adapt and work together to overcome challenges, embrace opportunities, and transition with urgency.
It must be NOW!