Client: Foundation Innovation Alliance (SIA - Stichting Innovatie Alliantie) with funding from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW)
Funder: RAAK (Regional Attention and Action for Knowledge circulation) The RAAK scheme is managed by the Foundation Innovation Alliance (SIA - Stichting Innovatie Alliantie) with funding from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW).
Early 2013 the Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Transport started work on the RAAK-MKB project ‘Carbon management for tour operators’ (CARMATOP). Besides NHTV, eleven Dutch SME tour operators, ANVR, HZ University of Applied Sciences, Climate Neutral Group and ECEAT initially joined this 2-year project. The consortium was later extended with IT-partner iBuildings and five more tour operators.
The project goal of CARMATOP was to develop and test new knowledge about the measurement of tour package carbon footprints and translate this into a simple application which allows tour operators to integrate carbon management into their daily operations. By doing this Dutch tour operators are international frontrunners.
Why address the carbon footprint of tour packages?
Global tourism contribution to man-made CO2 emissions is around 5%, and all scenarios point towards rapid growth of tourism emissions, whereas a reverse development is required in order to prevent climate change exceeding ‘acceptable’ boundaries. Tour packages have a high long-haul and aviation content, and the increase of this type of travel is a major factor in tourism emission growth. Dutch tour operators recognise their responsibility, and feel the need to engage in carbon management.
What is Carbon management?
Carbon management is the strategic management of emissions in one’s business. This is becoming more important for businesses, also in tourism, because of several economical, societal and political developments. For tour operators some of the most important factors asking for action are increasing energy costs, international aviation policy, pressure from society to become greener, increasing demand for green trips, and the wish to obtain a green image and become a frontrunner among consumers and colleagues in doing so.
Project management was in the hands of the Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Transport (CSTT) of NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences. CSTT has 10 years’ experience in measuring tourism emissions and developing strategies to mitigate emissions, and enjoys an international reputation in this field. The ICT Associate Professorship of HZ University of Applied Sciences has longstanding expertise in linking varying databases of different organisations. Its key role in CARMATOP was to create the semantic wiki for the carbon calculator, which links touroperator input with all necessary databases on carbon emissions. Web developer ibuildings created the Graphical User Interface; the front end of the semantic wiki. ANVR, the Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour operators, represents 180 tour operators and 1500 retail agencies in the Netherlands, and requires all its members to meet a minimum of sustainable practices through a number of criteria. ANVR’s role was in dissemination, networking and ensuring CARMATOP products will last. Climate Neutral Group’s experience with sustainable entrepreneurship and knowledge about carbon footprint (mitigation), and ECEAT’s broad sustainable tourism network, provided further essential inputs for CARMATOP. Finally, most of the eleven tour operators are sustainable tourism frontrunners in the Netherlands, and are the driving forces behind this project.