The power of green travel

Now more than ever we're seeing many companies start to market and brand themselves as eco-aware. There used to be cynicism about this, where it was referred to as ‘green-washing’ however, with a lot more emphasis on eco-friendly behaviour and practices, we’re seeing brands really embrace it, while addressing the rising demand. Covid19 has taught us how swiftly and dramatically consumer demands change, for example when it comes to flexible cancellation, refunds and full transparency when making bookings. Even during these challenging times, environmental concerns and actions are fast moving on from the niche sector and towards a nation-wide priority.

Data that shows consumers demand for sustainable or ‘green’ brands is rising. This is especially prevalent in the travel industry, which has been criticised for damage caused to the environment. According to, 70% of global travellers say they would be more likely to book accommodation knowing it was eco-friendly, whether they were looking for a sustainable stay or not.

The need for 'green investing'

It’s worth noting that while we’re seeing brands embrace sustainable initiatives, they need to start presenting it as a ‘must have’ and not just a ‘nice to have’. This also means applying it to their mission and vision statements. Sustainable or ‘green investing’ is key if brands want to not only better connect with their customers but address their values, hopes and fears.

In a recent interview* Andreas Hoepner, Professor of operational risk, banking and finance at UCD’s Smurfit Business School and a member of the EU Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance said that ‘’If organisations are committed to supporting the Paris Agreement and achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050, then their staff should be trained in this area. Investors would also definitely expect that from organisations.”

How can companies offer sustainable travel?

Intrepid, a carbon neutral tour operator has invested more than £2.5m into grassroots projects globally and donated 100% of profits to help rebuild Nepal after the 2015 earthquake.

Much Better Adventures, ensures at least 80% of the cost of a trip goes into the local economy and conservation projects. It works with charity Cool Earth, a leader in addressing climate change.

When travellers are selecting an airline, Skyscanner gives them the option to choose airlines with 'reduced co2 emissions’.

In the UK, Go North East bus company is making a £12 million investment in 54 high-specification, environmentally-friendly buses to add to their fleet of 170 low-emission buses.

Brighton & Hove Buses introduced the UK's first extended-range double decker bus that is powered by electricity -each bus has a small Euro VI diesel engine on-board to recharge the batteries.

Attracting millennial spend

When it comes to sustainable living, the younger generation are increasingly embracing eco-friendly brands. A recent consumer survey from McKinsey & Company across 60 countries found 73% of Millennials say they would pay more for environmentally friendly products and 65% of Gen Z say they look into the origins of products before buying them.

Likewise when it comes to travel, a 2019 survey from travel commerce platform Travelport shows that more than half of millennials choose eco-friendly transportation and accommodations when traveling.

Sustainable travel benefits all

Of course the environment is the main beneficiary when we start to respect it more but there are multiple positives for all in moving towards more sustainable travel.

  • Better physical and mental health

Providing improved public transport or walkable / cyclable routes provides access to exercise and leisure pursuits, giving visitors and locals a better quality of life overall.

  • Better quality air

Using public transport, cycling and walking reduces the quantity of pollutants that contribute to poor air quality.

  • A more beautiful place

From a tourist and local perspective, cities should be places for people to spend time in not just pass through. Less reliance on 6-lane dual carriageways, and more use of cycle and walkways will add to the efficiency and beauty of a city.

A unique selling point right now that will soon become a ‘must have’ for customers. Customers are looking for a greener alternative and those who move quickly to offer this will see positive returns.

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Irish Times - Sustainable Investing Article

Medium - Sustainable Transport's World-Saving Potential - Brands Helping Consumers Green Up Their Act

Medium - The World-Saving Impact of Sustainable Transport

GST Council - Responsible Travel Trends and Statistics 2020