The Long Run Declares a Climate Emergency
The planet we love is in the grip of a climate emergency. From record high temperatures to more frequent and intense natural disasters and mass extinction, the evidence has never been more apparent. Human actions have irrevocably changed our world, and it’s time for an urgent and unified response.
For ten years now, The Long Run has worked with some of the world’s most pioneering conservation businesses to advocate, support and champion tourism as a force for good. Key to this work is the knowledge that functional ecosystems underpin climate change mitigation, as well as health, peace and prosperity. Nature provides a robust life support system and protecting it has never been more crucial.
From the Patagonian rainforest to Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau, Long Run members help conserve or regenerate over 20 million acres of vital ecosystems. Thanks to the revenue made from sustainable tourism our members can protect these areas — some in perpetuity — against urban sprawl, irresponsible agriculture and forestry, mining, or other forms of unsustainable extractive land use.
Protected areas like these are cornerstones of biodiversity protection and help address the climate emergency. They not only minimise losses of stored carbon and increase carbon sequestration, but create more resilient ecosystems and reduce the impact of natural disasters. They also provide economic incentive for wider conservation efforts and are pillars of many local sustainable economies.
Our 4Cs framework of Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce ensures a long term and holistic approach that recognises the complex and dynamic balance needed between these elements to achieve a sustainable future. We help our members to drive change by putting sustainability at the core of business decision making and operations.
But this alone is not enough to respond to the existing climate emergency. The tourism industry is responsible for between 8 – 12% of the world’s carbon emissions and the number of international holidaymakers is growing at approximately 5% per year.
The Long Run accepts current IPCC advice stating the need to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030 to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming. As an organisation and a collective, we aim to go above and beyond this target.
Here are some of the key steps we are taking:
- Climate Action
- We are a founding signatory of Tourism Declares and look forward to actively supporting and growing the network.
- The Long Run’s focused Climate Emergency Plan will be publicly available by the end of 2020.
- Our targets are:
- The Long Run as an organisation to be carbon neutral by 2020;
- Ensure (and demonstrate) that The Long Run collective is carbon positive by 2025.
- We are strengthening our carbon monitoring system to help better understand our impact and be more transparent when reporting.
- We urge our members to develop clear climate emergency plans.
- We support our members to continually reduce their carbon emissions across every aspect of their business — supply chains, energy use, transport, excursions, suppliers, food and drink and operations, guests and partners — whilst strengthening climate change resilience in the landscape they operate.
- We believe that carbon offsetting is a last resort, and work towards reducing absolute carbon emissions before turning to offset as a solution.
- Our operational emissions are low (with a small team and no office), but we seek a continuous reduction. As such, The Long Run is encouraging the creation of regional hubs and training local representatives to reduce reliance on air travel.
- At the same time, we are committing to make our annual meetings carbon neutral.
- Climate Advocacy
- We continuously support members to share best practices, inspire others to reduce carbon emissions, become carbon positive and engage in nature conservation.
- We commit to use our collective voice to create positive change within the travel industry . Where relevant, we share best practice via case studies, make connections, and cross-pollinate ideas on a global and regional level.
- We acknowledge that aviation is the Achilles heel of our industry, and are compiling a policy to state how we, as an organisation, our members, and their guests can do everything possible to reduce emissions from flying.
- We seek opportunities to fuel and contribute to the on-going debate around travel at a time of a climate emergency. We aim to be an independent, authoritative and honest voice that helps to inform and drive change.
- Update our Standard
- Our Global Sustainable Travel Council recognised Global Ecosphere Retreats® Standard is one of the travel industry’s most rigorous and will be updated in light of the climate emergency by 2020. Relevant sections include Environmental Management, Green House Gases, Carbon Footprint, and Biodiversity Conservation.
- Grow the Movement
- We actively promote the role tourism can play in conserving vital ecosystems and biodiversity and encourage more people and businesses to protect nature. Beyond our members, we work with travel partners, academics, media, communities and investors to help them do the same.
- We seek opportunities to encourage the tourism sector to think about climate action at the early stages of their business development.
- We are growing The Long Run movement to ensure that more tourism businesses support climate change mitigation and prevent biodiversity loss continuously expanding our membership and disseminating knowledge.
About Tourism Declares
A new network of organisations, companies and individuals working in tourism has come together to join other industries and regions in declaring a climate emergency. Launched on 14th Jan 2020 at www.tourismdeclares.com, the declaration commits signatories to accelerate their own emission reductions in line with IPPC advice that the world needs to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030.
All signatories commit to the following five actions:
Develop a ‘Climate Emergency Plan’
Adopted by your Executive board within 12 months of your initial declaration, or sooner.
Share your commitment and progress publicly
Share your initial public declaration, your ‘Climate Emergency Plan’, and update on progress against your targets each year.
Cut carbon emissions
Accept current IPCC advice stating the need to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030 in order to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming. Ensure your ‘Climate Emergency Plan’ represents actions designed to achieve this as a minimum, through delivering transparent, measurable and increasing reductions in the total carbon emissions per customer arising from your operations and the travel services sold by you.
Encourage suppliers and partners to make the same declaration; share best practice amongst peers; and actively participate in the Tourism Declares community.
Advocate for change
Recognise the need for system change across the industry, and call for urgent regulatory action to accelerate the transition towards zero carbon air travel.