Sustainable tourism is viable

WTTC and faculty and scientists of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health have released two case studies on sustainability leadership by The Travel Corporation (TTC) and Intrepid Travel. This collaboration has encouraged the sharing of best practices and has supported sustainability as a core strategic priority to ensure the viability of the sector.

WTTC and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health have a long history of collaboration, working towards a more sustainable future for travel and tourism. Together, their work can help raise awareness, shift mindsets, and enact systemic change. Similarly, The Travel Corporation and Intrepid Travel have a mutual understanding that sustainability is a shared challenge and have championed sustainability for many years. The two believe it is best addressed through cooperation and support of one another’s efforts to address the topic.

The Travel Corporation

Using sustainable development goals to drive strategy

The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) case study focusses on the group’s efforts to ‘make travel matter’ and explores the way in which TTC has linked their sustainability strategy, as well as travel experiences directly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It champions sustainable travel through the setting of measurable sustainability goals, and ensures they are achieved through an integrated business function approach.The strategy aims to close any potential gaps in the expression of sustainability across the group, ensuring the group’s efforts to achieve its sustainability goals are fully engrained in the way TTC brands operate and how the group supports its efforts through its non-profit foundation, TreadRight, which the group funds entirely from its own profits.

Intrepid Travel

Certified B Corporation

Intrepid Travel’s case study showcases its status as the world’s largest certified travel B Corporation (B Corp). Intrepid’s certified B Corp status entailed external, independent assessment of its interactions with its workers, customers, community and the environment. The B Corp status is not specific for the travel sector, rather it brings Intrepid alongside global organisations across all sectors, including leading brands such as Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s, and is an example in the travel and tourism sector.

The Travel Corporation: Idea in brief

The  Travel  Corporation  (TTC)  embarked  on  its  journey  to  integrate  sustainability  into  the  business  with  the  launch  of  its  not-for-profit  foundation,  the  TreadRight  Foundation, in 2008.

With  leadership  from  TreadRight,  TTC  adopted  a  strategic  position  on  key  issues  including single use plastics, animal welfare and climate change.

In 2018, TreadRight and TTC’s sustainability efforts were brought together under the banner ‘Make Travel Matter’, which was adopted by the groups 40 award winning travel brands.

In  2020,  TTC  released  its  sustainability  plan  ‘How  We  Tread  Right’  that  presents  11  smart  sustainability  goals aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The strategy closes any potential gaps in the expression of sustainability across the group, ensuring it is now fully engrained in the way TTC brands operate and how the group employs its philanthropic efforts through its TreadRight Foundation.

WTTC’s work in the area of Sustainable Growth focuses on eight key areas

Inclusion, Diversity & Social Impact

Climate & Environment Action

Sustainable Travel & Tourism Partners

Sustainability Reporting

Destination Stewardship

Future of Work

Illegal Wildlife Trade

Human Trafficking

Intrepid Travel: Idea in brief

Identifying as a B Corporation (B Corp) has helped Intrepid Travel guide the business to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability.

The  ‘B’  standing  for  ‘beneficial’,  a  B  Corp  is  a  defined  business  classification  that  balances  purpose  and  profit. Becoming a certified B Corp is helping the company to be better and do better – integrating the values, culture, processes and high standards put in place by its founders and leaders at all levels.

Intrepid’s  certified  B  Corp  status  entailed  external,  independent  assessment  of  its  interactions  with  its  workers,  customers,  community  and  the  environment.  The  B  Corp  status  is  not  specific  for  the  travel  sector; rather it brings Intrepid alongside global brands across all sectors.

In setting out on its own journey towards B Corp status in 2015, Intrepid adopted a set of external pressures and standards that encourage the company to continue working towards its social and sustainability goals.

How ‘make travel matter’ experiences contribute to the SDGs


The experience contributes to ending poverty in all its forms, everywhere


The experience contributes to ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education


The experience is helping to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women and girls


Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and/or sanitation for all


The experience is contributing to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all


The experience is addressing and/or reducing inequalities within the country


Educates guests on the sustainability and resiliency of community


Educates guests on sustainable consumption and production


Educates guests on the climate crisis and takes action to address its impacts


Contributes to the conservation and sustainable use of marine ecosystems


Educates guests on the importance of natural ecosystems, wildlife conservation


Sustainability is now a growing business priority, with businesses expected to decarbonise and adapt for the future. The COVID-19 crisis has elevated the need for action on sustainability issues. The climate crisis is a risk that no business can afford to disregard, so we must continue to drive this message forward in our sector.

Gloria Guevara Incumbent President & CEO, WTTC

This is an important collaboration where sustainability, public health and business come together to advance research-led practice in the travel and tourism sector. Given the importance of the travel and tourism sector for people, planet and shared prosperity, academic inquiry in the field is central to inclusive and sustainable growth.

Dr. Wendy Purcell Lead Researcher for the cases, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

I have a deep respect for Intrepid’s long-standing efforts to integrate sustainability into their business and believe that our collaboration with one another on the matter is indicative of the fact that we will achieve much more as a sector than as potential competitors when it comes to truly addressing our industry’s footprint.

Brett Tollman, Chief Executive Officer, The Travel Corporation

Our industry does not exist without thriving communities and a healthy planet, and we all have a role to play in influencing a more equitable future. We are proud to stand alongside TTC to help advance the sustainability agenda and create positive change.

James Thornton, Chief Executive Officer Intrepid Travel


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