Self-catering businesses have a part to play in accelerating climate action within the tourism sector, starting with every business having a climate action plan. Regardless of your starting point, creating a plan can provide a framework to better manage your business’ climate impact and support Scotland’s wider commitment to achieving Net Zero by 2045. A climate action plan sets out implementable actions that can help increase efficiency to reduce costs, meet customer demand, and build resilience, as well as benefiting and enhancing our environment and communities.
To support you in your journey to Net Zero, VisitScotland has collaborated with Green Tourism to create an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to developing a climate action plan for businesses in the tourism sector. The guide offers an overview of climate change and Net Zero, what this means for tourism businesses in Scotland, and how taking action can benefit your business and help meet customer’s expectations. There are also downloadable workbooks available to help monitor and measure your business’ emissions, identify specific priority areas, and ultimately, create and manage your own climate action plan.
A good Climate Action Plan is not just about reducing your emissions. It’s about understanding how the Net Zero transition will affect your business, your community, and the environment.
Creating a Climate Action Plan will help you to:
The VisitScotland guide, aligned with the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism, takes you step-by-step through the process of creating a Climate Action Plan for your business. The guide will take you through:
The steps build on each other and the first three steps in particular benefit from being carried out in order. You can also dip in an out to find information and inspiration as needed on your climate action journey.
Your sustainability journey is a powerful story to be shared with your staff, customers and your local community. With visitors increasingly looking for meaningful, responsible and unique experiences in Scotland, sharing your business’ sustainability story in an honest and authentic way can help meet growing customer demand and attract new customers.
To attract this market, there are several actions that you can take to prove your commitment to taking meaningful climate action. Be sure to shout about your achievements and sustainability credentials on your social media channels and website, as well as sharing straightforward evidence and information to support your successes. It is important to be transparent by acknowledging that you are on a journey. Customers, stakeholders, and the wider community, do not expect perfection, but they do appreciate integrity and honesty.
Becoming a member of a sustainable tourism certification scheme or signing up to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism will not only provide opportunities to enhance your sustainability, but it will also demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment and will provide further promotional opportunities.
It is also important to share your story with your team to increase employee awareness and engagement, which can help improve the success of your sustainable ambitions and actions. Staff training is a great way to ensure everyone understands your ambition as well as the practical actions that are required. Creating a dedicated green team and producing an environmental policy can also drive internal climate action. For more tips and ideas on how to communicate your story, find further resources on visitscotland.org.
Author of guidance: ASSC/VisitScotland
Date of guidance: July 2023
Disclaimer – Guidance Sheets are written by experienced Members of the ASSC and other experts. The information in the ‘Guidance Sheet’ is provided by the ASSC for use by Members in support of their own independent business decisions. It does not constitute advice or instruction for which the ASSC can be held liable in any way whatsoever. All Members and other readers remain responsible for the consequences of any decisions taken whether in the light of information gained from this Guidance Sheet or not.