How do Finnish tourism companies measure their carbon footprint and what can bedone to reduce it? : a case study of 10 companies
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Tourism is one part of traveling, being traveling for pleasure, and it can better be defined as people staying at a destination, outside their ordinary environment for at least one night (Mason, 2015; Page & Connell, 2006), while at the longest usually staying for one year (Yu, Kim, Chen & Schwartz, 2012). When talking about climate change and the greenhouse gases, traveling becomes an important aspect accounting for 5% of the global carbon dioxide emissions (Hall, Scott, Gössling, 2013; Peeters & Dubois, 2010, p. 477). Tourism also accounts for 8% of the global greenhouse gas emissions (Carbon Brief, 2018; Lenzen et al., 2018). Altogether tourism can have a carbon footprint of 4.5Gt CO2 and it is expected that the emission factor will increase 3.2 percent per year, up to 2035. From the emissions of tourism 75% is caused by transportation, 21% is caused by accommodation and 4% is caused by activities. Additionally, food usually accounts for about 25% of the total emissions caused by humans. The thesis aims to answer the questions ‘How can Finnish tourism companies measure their carbon footprint, in which phase they are in measuring the carbon footprint and how have they succeeded so far.’ These questions will be answered by conducting a case study where 10 companies doing business in Finland will be interviewed. The selected companies are of different ages and sizes and they represent different functions. This thesis is of qualitative nature and it used semi-structured interview questions. Finnish tourism companies measure their carbon footprint by using primary and secondary data, and the previous year or the previous three year’s average are used as baselines. The companies also use the Greenhouse Gas Protocol corporate standard and available carbon footprint calculators and emission databases. Additionally, some companies use a third-party verification. All the companies have not measured their carbon footprint yet. These kinds of companies show increasing interest in calculating it in the future by themselves, or with help from another company. There are many ways for the Finnish tourism companies to reduce the carbon footprint of tourism. The ways are related to becoming more energy efficient, switching to renewable energy, recycling and avoiding waste, as well as reducing the use of plastic and disposable utensils. Also, they make environmentally friendlier choices regarding the vehicles they use. Finally, it was possible for all the companies to create a carbon handprint, by being able to decrease their customers’ carbon footprint. ...
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