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Sustainability & Adventure 2020


Each day in December 2019, we featured an aspect of sustainability and adventure we think will make an impression on the green agenda in 2020, shining a light on people, organisations and destinations that
 we think will be the ones to watch...



by Richard Hammond, Executive Producer, GT Films & Media

Transforming Our World: Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya
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Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya - a model for how to use wildlife conservation as an engine for development; video produced by Greentraveller for the World Travel and Tourism Council


Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition

Voluntary initiative catalysing action on carbon pricing globally

Who is acting more ethically: the non-flyer who eats meat twice a week, or the vegan who flies long-haul to help raise funds for a community-based safari in Africa, or the ecotourist who drives with their scuba diving equipment to the Mediterranean for 10 weeks marine conservation volunteering? Attempting to do the right thing can be bewildering, especially when you're not comparing like with like: reducing carbon emissions versus poverty alleviation versus biodiversity conservation. Such intangibles could be dealt with if there was a price on carbon, whereby limiting atmospheric carbon emissions is already factored in to every type of transport. The Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC) is bringing together leaders from government, business, and academia to support carbon pricing, share experiences and enhance the implementation of carbon pricing. Its model shifts the social costs of climate change to the source of the pollution, encouraging polluters to reduce emissions and invest in clean energy and low-carbon growth. The CPLC is administered by the World Bank Group and has 83 strategic partners, including The Nature Conservancy, The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group, World Economic Forum and World Wildlife Fund. One to watch in 2020!

In It For The Long Run

In It For The Long Run

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The Long Run

Association of nature-based tourism businesses committed to sustainability

One million animal and plant species are currently threatened with extinction. That's more than ever before in human history, according to a UN report published earlier this year. The Long Run is an association of private nature-based tourism businesses that is trying to stem (and ultimately reverse) this loss of biodiversity by working together "to define approaches and policy frameworks that drive conservation and community well-being in the long run". Its top tier members, such as Grootbos in South Africa and Caiman Ecological Refuge in the Pantanal, Brazil, have achieved The Long Run's Global Ecosphere Retreats (GER®) standard that is vetted by external assessors, such as NEPCon, which uses certification to positively impact land use, especially focused on forestry, agriculture and most recently tourism. The Long Run's growing network now has 40 members in 22 countries that help protect 5 million acres of nature and 'touch the lives' of 500,000 people. In 2020, it has ambitious plans to expand the network globally, ultimately to protect 20 million acres and touch the lives of 2 million people, by working with more nature-based businesses that excel across the '4Cs': Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce.


Andy Middleton

Chief Exploration Officer, TYF Adventure

As concern about climate change grows, 2020 is likely to see a surge in organisations claiming their sustainable tourism credentials, yet it can often be hard to distinguish the green from the greenwash. Andy Middleton has certainly been committed to sustainability for decades; his outdoors adventure company based in St Davids, Pembrokeshire TYF Adventure was the founding UK member of B Corps - the respected certification scheme that vets companies for their social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Other members include Intrepid Group and most recently Sawdays - the first accommodation platform in the UK to have gained the status.


In the summer of 2020, TYF Adventure is hosting the UK’s first B Corp Summer Camp in St.Davids, bring together the change-makers running impact-based businesses and their families "for 10 days of purposeful fun and deep play on the Pembrokeshire coast". Adventures include coasteering, driftwood barbecues, midnight sea kayaking, coastline swimming, running, and yoga.



Global Himalayan Expedition

Expeditions electrifying remote villages

Global Himalayan Expedition leverages tourism to provide remote mountain villages with solar electricity. It does this by using the money raised from adventure trekking trips in the Himalayas to help fund the installation of solar power microgrids in the villages enabling the residents to replace their old kerosene oil lamps with solar-powered LED lights, bringing both health and educational benefits while reducing the long-term release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Since it was founded in 2013 by Paras Loomba, it has organised treks for over 1,280 adventure travellers from over 60 countries, providing over 100 villages in the Himalayas with access to solar electricity - positively impacting 41,00 lives, including setting up locally run mountain homestays, establishing children's digital education centres, and training local women as telescope operators (for dark sky visitors) and as engineers (to date, they have electrified 27 of the villages with GHE).

In 2020, it is organising a series of 12-16 day 'Electrification Expeditions' in the Zanskar region of Ladakh, India and to Dolop, Nepal to simultaneously raise the awareness of climate change on the Himlayas while seeing first-hand some of the villages that are still 'living in darkness' who will benefit from the solar technology funded by each trip.


Photo: Pousada Trijunção

Pousada Trijunção, Cerrado Savanna

New lodge in the largest savanna region in South America

Not nearly as well known as the Amazon or the Pantanal, the wooded grasslands of Brazil's Cerrado Savanna cover 2 million square kilometres - equivalent to the size of England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined. It's home to more than 850 species of birds, 251 mammals, 482 reptiles and amphibians and 1,200 fish as well as about 5% of all plant species of the world. Some of South America's most important rivers (Amazon, Paraná-Paraguai and São Francisco) begin in the Cerrado, but according to WWF, its native habitats and rich biodiversity are being destroyed faster than the neighbouring rainforest due to unsustainable agricultural activities, particularly soy production and cattle ranching, as well as the burning of vegetation for charcoal.

The newly opened Pousada Trijunção lodge - in the heart of 33,000 hectares of protected land within the savanna - is hoping to draw attention to this threatened region in 2020. As well as taking part in a range of adventure activities (such as alligator night-spotting by kayak), guests can visit its Maned Wolf project, which is being run in collaboration with the NGO Oncafari who have worked with jaguars at Caiman Ecological Reserve in Brazil’s Pantanal.


Mendip Hills AONB; Paul Miles/Greentraveller

National Landscapes

A new future for AONBs and National Parks

2020 could see the biggest shakeup of the running of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) since they were founded 70 years ago. The 166-page Landscapes Review (written by Julian Glover, Associate Editor at Evening Standard) - an independent review published earlier this year - called for a new way to manage the 10 National Parks and 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England which were brought into being in 1949. The review called for the establishment of a new National Landscapes Service, which would act as a unified body for both National Parks and AONBs, creating a 1,000 strong ranger service to be the “friendly face” of national parks and help engage schools and communities.


The proposal builds on government commitments to protect and enhance the natural environment, which include a pledge to restore 75% of protected sites to favourable condition, invest £50 million to help plant new woodlands through the Woodland Carbon Guarantee, and create a vast Northern Forest – which will see 50 million trees planted from Liverpool to Hull over the next 25 years, as part of a drive to increase woodland spaces to fight climate change.



Connecting Cities to National Parks By Bus

As far as we know, Toronto-based Parkbus is the world’s first dedicated city-to-park transit system. Its core proposition is to take people by bus from inner cities (Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, Halifax and Vancouver) to the National and Provincial Parks of Canada (e.g. Algonquin, Killarney, Killbear, Grundy Lake and Rockwood), encouraging urbanites to experience the great outdoors, while reducing traffic pressure on Canada’s most popular wilderness destinations.


Since it started in 2010, it has taken over 100,000 passengers. It also provides two other key community transit services to the great outdoors: ActiveDays - for young adults - to try to build an outdoors community; and NatureLink, which supports new immigrants, helping them appreciate the Canadian outdoor experience; some 5,000 people per year benefit from these two services. In 2020, it will be running a new service from Ottawa to Gatineau Park - its first regular service from the nation's capital.


Jeremy Sampson

CEO Travel Foundation

Jeremy is the new boss of the Travel Foundation, the UK charity/NGO that works with tourism organisations to improve the impacts of tourism in destinations worldwide. Its latest work (published with Cornell University’s Centre for Sustainable Global Enterprise and EplerWood International) focussed on Destinations at Risk: The Invisible Burden of Tourism.


Given the likely increase in interest in sustainable tourism in 2020, the Travel Foundation is in a prime position to capitalise on its expertise in this field, and with Jeremy at the helm (he took up the post in September), we think 2020 could be a pivotal year for the organisation. He previously has led large-scale sustainable tourism initiatives for the International Union for Conservation of Nature Mediterranean Cooperation Centre and was Adjunct Professor at the International Institute of Tourism Studies at George Washington University School of Business.

Daniel Elkan



Taking the train to the slopes

Over the last decade, we've seen Snowcarbon develop from a germ of an idea to a fully-fledged online resource for how to travel by train to European ski resorts in France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. Its passionate co-founder Daniel Elkan says the idea of the site is "to slash the carbon footprint of ski trips and to make the journey part of the holiday". If you're unsure about the opportunities for travelling by train for a ski holiday, use its 'Ask Snowcarbon' service where the team will give you advice on train times as well as resort info.


For 2020, Daniel tells us he's excited about new overnight routes to Austria with Alpen Express and NightJet. There's also a campaigning edge to Snowcarbon and in 2020 it will be launching initiatives to encourage more rail options to the Alps, and for train companies and ticket websites to make it easier for skiers to book rail travel.



Host of UN's COP26 in 2020

All eyes will be on the Scottish city of Glasgow in November 2020 as it hosts the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). The summit will bring together over 30,000 delegates from around the world, including climate experts, business leaders and politicians. It will be a huge opportunity for the United Kingdom to show the world how it is intends to honour its commitment to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and it will also see the launch of a decade of delivery and action for The Global Goals. Today, the European Union launched its