Walking the Green Line
Amid the irony of international dignitaries busting the world’s carbon emissions budget by jetting around the world to talk about the climate change emergency, and the controversy around the environmental legacy of the World Cup, ‘You. Smart. Thing.’ continues to work with destinations, venues, and events to address sustainability, and the cost-of-living crisis, by nudging people into better travel habits.
Flights are of course an ongoing challenge. Electrification perhaps presents light on the horizon for the aviation industry, supply-chain challenges, the sheer weight of batteries and the physics of propulsion notwithstanding. Sadly, the sector is deeply invested in combustible fuels, and replacing 747’s and A330’s, still in production, with long-distance autonomous electric passenger jets is a major transformation programme that will take years. I’ve reached out to Elon with a plan to accelerate this and will keep you posted on our progress!
In the meantime, small changes, at scale, are our only hope of getting anywhere near to our net-zero targets. “But can’t we just offset?”, I hear you say. Well sorry, but that’s a bit of a COP out. (Excuse the pun!)
Sure, we should embrace the carefully managed removal of emissions that can’t be avoided. Though costly, there are biodiverse technologies that actually sequester carbon from the atmosphere in a reasonable timeframe, rather than buying a random field and planting monocrops that will die out before having any effect whatsoever. The more efficient approach, however, where possible, is undoubtedly behaviour change. And we’ve proved that is it possible, in more places and for more events than you might imagine.
So how do we move people? Motivation requires emotional as well as physical engagement, which typically comes down to marketing.
We’ve done it before. When I grew up (during the 80’s) few people considered recycling. Now it’s the norm. General waste here, plastics and bottles there. I urge those old enough to think back to when we introduced that messaging, and the tech that supported it… bins with different coloured lids! I urge those young enough to think forward, beyond 2050… will you say, “Remember when they used to talk about the climate change emergency?” or “They’ve been talking about the climate change emergency for years, and we’re still making things worse!”
Walking the green line, in budgeting terms, is of course tricky to say the least. With global energy supply challenges almost all organisations with any form of physical presence are faced with hugely increased costs.
Energy is both the cause and the effect. Common sense (and medical science) tells us that active travel and shared journeys improve wellbeing. They also dramatically reduce cost, and our collective carbon footprint. So, what are we waiting for? The problem is that Scope 3 emissions – externalities predominantly generated by visitor travel, and that represent the vast majority of an organisation’s carbon footprint – are considered beyond the control of the destinations, venues and events that cause them, yet this is where the sphere of influence is greatest in terms of motivating behaviour change. At least, emissions from visitor travel were considered beyond the control of destinations, venues, and events, until now.
Local authorities, major events, festivals, Destination Management Organisations, business and retail parks, health and education campuses, and smaller venues are all using our travel demand management technology to plan and provide better access to places, some remote and underserved by public transport networks. They have configured our intuitive online visitor-facing travel assistant to optimise data capture, people flow, dwell time and revenue generation, offering content-enhanced wayfinding and curated low-carbon door-to-door travel plans that nudge visitors towards more sustainable travel.
I hope you find our blog and travel insights posts valuable, and we look forward to working with you into 2023 and beyond!