On the first anniversary of the Canary Islands tourism sector joining the Glasgow Declaration, yesterday we held the “First Conference on the Decarbonisation Journey of the Canary Islands Destination”, where we presented the free digital tool available to Canary Islands tourism companies to measure and reduce their carbon footprint. With this next step in our sustainability strategy, we’re leading the decarbonisation of the destination and making the region a trailblazer in addressing climate neutrality.
During the meeting of representatives from businesses, public institutions and universities, we emphasised the importance of achieving a sustainable tourism model. The Canary Islands region has been a pioneer in tracing a road map for this goal, in line with the commitment we made in October last year when we joined the Glasgow Declaration.
We estimated the carbon footprint of the tourism sector for 2019, which has gone from 7.56 tonnes of CO2 to 7.34 tonnes this year. The difference is mainly due to a change in the method for estimating aviation emissions, which now uses data provided by the airlines, and represents a drop of 2.88%.
The carbon footprint of the Canary Islands tourism sector for 2019 has gone from 7.56 tonnes of CO2 to 7.34 tonnes in 2023.
Analysis by category of the impact on the total footprint of the destination - made up of a group of islands - shows that the greatest impact generated by tourism is from air transport, at 73.5%.
Current tourist demand is based on choosing a destination for its sustainability, an increasingly important criterion in travel decisions. According to a 2022 Booking survey, 58% of travellers look for more sustainable options, and 61% like to be informed about their environmental impact. Canary Islands Institute of Statistics data show that 30.5% of tourists who choose the Canary Islands would pay more to reduce their carbon footprint, and 42.4% would choose a more sustainable option if it was to their advantage.
Reducing carbon emissions by 50% and reaching net zero are ambitious goals that require the combined effort of the entire Canary Islands tourism sector. It was announced during the conference that the next “Islas Canarias” Tourism Awards will include specific categories to recognise and incentivise sustainability actions of businesses and professionals.
Reducing carbon emissions by 50% and reaching net zero are ambitious goals that require the combined effort of the entire Canary Islands tourism sector.
Climate Action Plan
The importance of the Canary Islands destination climate action plan was highlighted at the event. The tourism sector joined the Glasgow Declaration with its plan already in place, leading the way among Spain’s regions. In addition to taking on board the goals and commitments established in Glasgow for net zero by 2050, we set other goals such as measuring, assessing and continually sharing global information about the progress of the destination’s decarbonisation journey, supporting and accelerating the journey of the Canary Islands tourism industry, and promoting the Declaration goals to professionals, tourists and the people of the Canary Islands.
Five lines of actions were established, each associated with a series of measures to achieve the goals. One of the key actions is to create an integrated platform for the sustainability of the Canary Islands destination, to accompany businesses on their path to decarbonisation and help them draw up their own climate action plan within the four phases: calculate, define, reduce and offset.
Free tool for businesses
“Decarbonisation Journey” is the new digital solution we’re providing for businesses: a user-friendly carbon footprint calculator with guided steps, a self-diagnosis questionnaire, personalised recommendations and downloadable resources to activate a climate action plan. Currently under production, the tool is available at sostenibilidad.canariasdestino.com
Turismo de Islas Canarias is providing tourism companies with “Decarbonisation Journey”, a free digital solution with resources that include a carbon footprint calculator.
In a single tool, the free digital product combines solutions to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of Canary Islands tourism companies, making it easy for businesses of any size or type to measure their carbon footprint and activate a climate action.
The tool has been built using a methodology that currently includes scope 1 (emissions generated by fuel burning) and scope 2 (emissions generated by electricity consumption). Scope 3, indirect third party emissions, is expected to be added soon.
The methodology of the tool was tested in a pilot project with 35 Canary Islands firms that added considerable value to its development with their contributions. These firms were given first access in September.
The Sustainability Office provides a support service and answers enquiries about the “Decarbonisation Journey” tool.
To support small and medium size enterprises throughout the process, the initiative includes specialist advice from the Sustainability Office. As well as helping to manage projects associated with the destination’s climate action plan, the office provides a support service and answers enquiries about the tool through a webchat at email@example.com on working day mornings.
Training sessions will be available on environmental sustainability and the use of the tool, mainly for SMEs that have never measured their carbon footprint.
The “First Conference on the Decarbonisation Journey of the Canary Islands Destination” was held yesterday, 14 November, at Auditorio Alfredo Kraus (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), and was opened by Jéssica de León, Regional Minister of Tourism and Employment, and Mariano H. Zapata, Regional Minister of Ecological Transition and Energy.