‘Whatever comes out of COP26, AITO will be involved

AITO Deputy Chair, and ACT member, Derek Moore wrote for TTG in November 2021 discussing ACT's role as a signatory and launch partner of the Glasgow Declaration.

Original article: https://www.ttgmedia.com/news/whatever-comes-out-of-cop26-aito-will-be-involved-31329

November 5th 2021 Derek Moore, AITO Deputy Chair


AITOs climate thinktank (ACT) began, as so many good ideas do, at the late night bar at the 2019 AITO conference in Wroclaw.

A small group, half a dozen AITO members, discussed their mutual feeling that AITO, an association that has for 30 years placed sustainable tourism at its core, should be addressing the wider issues around the climate crisis.

The ACT was thus conceived, powered by members’ passion to understand and address issues around the climate crisis, only to be put on hold for most of 2020 owing to Covid-19.

But when it reconvened in late-2020, the group had swelled in numbers, and it swiftly agreed the think tank needed a website separate from AITO – aitoclimatecrisis.com.

Looking ahead, this is an exciting time for ACT. We have been involved in the preparation of the Glasgow Declaration to run alongside Cop26, and will be signatories and launch partners of this document.

But what has the ACT achieved in the last year? The first task was the AITO Climate Crisis Declaration. We also announced AITO will work on an “evolving action plan” to achieve its climate goals, with our ultimate aim being to reach net-zero emissions across the AITO family.

Meanwhile, in September, the AITO office indicated on the website significant changes to its operations, including an aim to achieve carbon neutral office space, as well as carbon neutral travel for conferences and commuting for both staff and delegates.

Regular meetings have determined the ACT’s two-fold mission: engaging with AITO members on climate issues, snf engaging with fellow travel industry stakeholders. The latter is necessary as we clearly do not claim to be experts about, or to have the answers to, the climate crisis. We are, however, passionate about finding the way forward.

We welcome anyone who can assist us at ACT, AITO member or not, to widen the field of engagement to fellow stakeholders, climate mitigation experts or members of academia.

What will come out of COP26, we wait to see. But whatever transpires, we feel sure ACT will be involved.

Derek Moore is deputy chair of AITO. He is among several industry professionals to write for TTG to coincide with the COP26 climate summit, whose columns have appeared online this week.

‘Under no illusions’

Upon the signing of the Glasgow Declaration on Thursday (4 November), ACT chair Jono Vernon-Powell said: “This is a really proud moment for AITO, confirming that we are squarely behind action, not just talk.”

Chris Rowles, AITO chair, added: “With sustainability always having been a major part of AITO’s DNA, we are under no illusions as to the task ahead. Our ultimate goal remains to reach net zero emissions across the AITO family, ideally before 2050.

“At present, it is solely AITO’s HQ and office team which have signed up to be a launch partner of the Glasgow Declaration at COP26.

“We hope that, in due course, and with AITO’s help and encouragement, many of our members will join us on the journey that we started two years ago with the creation of ACT.”

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