Climate Change and Sustainable Business Futures Essay Example
Climate Change and Sustainable Business Futures 3
CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS FUTURES
Climate Change and Sustainable Business Futures
The tourism industry has risen to become one of the leading industries in Australia. Among major players in the Australian tourism industry, the name Intrepid jumps into mind. With a global audience, this company is a pace setter in the tourism sector. Small group travel is their most novel idea with the aim of ensuring maximum grassroots/local experience for their clients at very minimal costs. Being in the tourism industry provides that Intrepid must maintain a good relationship between itself and the natural, social and economic environment. An evaluation of the above inter-relationships and the broader subject of climate change and sustainability of the business model adopted by Intrepid are therefore necessary.
The relationship between any company in the tourism industry and the natural environment is a symbiotic one. Without the various natural attraction sites around the globe, Intrepid would not be able to promote the small group travel. It is the thrill of adventure among nature’s wonders that drives Intrepid clientele. Intrepid, therefore, depends on its natural environment to woo clients. On the other hand, nature does depend on efforts of tour companies such as Intrepid for its protection. The creation of awareness of the existence of some parts of nature by Intrepid ensures the protection of nature and the wildlife found in it (Lück, 2003). If say, for example, one visits an exciting mountain range, one will be more inclined to protect that mountain range so that they may have more exciting expenditures. The exposure of nature’s attractions to more people helps in the appreciations of these sites and thus the more willing to protect nature.
Any company aiming to earn good profits must first build a good rapport with its social environment. Intrepid benefits from its social environment and in return must reciprocate those benefits. First, Intrepid drives its revenues from its social environment. The society to whom Intrepid advertises its services forms its social environment. This social environment ensures the continued existence of the company as a business entity. The society around Intrepid and its subsidiaries also benefit from the existence of the enterprise. First, employment creation ensures that improved living standards for the community members employed to work in the company (Andereck, and Vogt, 2000. Second, hiring people ensures that there are fewer jobless people around hence reduces the rates of crime in the society. The unique business model by Intrepid where they support grassroots/local experience ensures the promotion of local cultures, thus benefiting the local communities (McKercher, Ho, and Du Cros, 2005). Nothing is more fulfilling to a community than having their culture appreciated by others. Payment of taxes by Intrepid also ensures contribution to the construction of social amenities and infrastructure such as roads, railway, and hospitals which are beneficial to the society. Intrepid, therefore, benefits from the society and the society benefits from Intrepid.
When discussing the relationship between Intrepid and its economic environment, the financial matters come into play. The symbiosis tale of Intrepid and the various aspects of its environment continues. Profits for Intrepid ensures that there is growth for the company. Growth for Intrepid indicates that Intrepid will be in need of more suppliers for the various necessities of day to day operations. The increase in the number of businesses showcases an expansion and growth in the economic environment thus a growth in the GDP (Belloumi, 2010). The core business of Intrepid, ensuring people tour various destinations, ensure an increase in business for the various local businesses and thus an expansion in the economic environment. However, the relationship between Intrepid and the economic environment is a two-way traffic. The healthier the economy, the more clients Intrepid receive due to increase in disposable income among people and thus increase the amount of profits received earned by Intrepid.
When analyzing the relationships between Intrepid and its natural and social environments, one cannot dismiss the issue of climate change. As one of the major global concerns in the modern times, climate change is a top agenda for any company in the tourism industry. Climate changes massively affect the tourism industry. In the first place, climate change has led to the rise in sea levels, ocean temperatures, and acidity. The results are devastating effects on the tourism industry. The rise in sea levels results in submersion of coasts and islands. These two natural attractions, Intrepid would receive a major blow in its profits. The increase in ocean temperatures and acidity due to increased presence of carbon dioxide results in bleaching of coral reefs and destruction of other marine attractions (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2007). The result is fewer clients due to the depletion of these marine attractions and a company like Intrepid takes another hit.
In addition to the rise in sea levels and ocean temperatures and acidity, climate change has also resulted in increased desertification. Increased desertification brings about water scarcity and increased temperatures which reduce hospitability of the areas to both locals and tourists. With the dependence on local experience, Intrepid would feel the pinch of desertification even more. Tourists will not be willing to travel to inhospitable areas due to the scarcity of water as conflicts are likely to occur as water is vital for human survival (Perry, 2000). Climate change, therefore, negatively affects the tourism industry.
Equally important, climate change leads to the destruction of biodiversity. The extinction phenomena have become prevalent due to climate change (Bellard et al., 2012). Destruction of biodiversity has a significant negative impact on the tourism industry because the demand to visit areas with depleted biodiversity will fall rapidly. A decrease in demand for bookings in tour travels will eventually lead to losses for a company like Intrepid. Losses for Intrepid means that jobs will be lost and other related businesses will close resulting in economic contraction.
On the other hand, tourism activities conducted by companies such as Intrepid contribute heavily to climate change. In the first place, the various means of travel to various tourist destinations results in the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. By use of airplanes, ships, diesel powered trains and motor vehicles in travel by tourists to reach the various local destinations puts Intrepid at the forefront in contribution towards climate change and global warming (Hamilton, Maddison, and Tol, 2005). The provision of cruise ship services by Intrepid ensures that more fossil fuels are burnt resulting in increased emissions and thus climate change and global warming.
By the same token, various tourist facilities such as hotels contribute heavily towards climate change. Various accommodation facilities contribute towards carbon dioxide emissions (Peeters, and Dubois, 2010). Despite the small group adventure business model by Intrepid, various accommodations are required by their clients. These accommodations require various heating facilities and air conditioning which in the long run affect climate change.
From the above, it is clear that climate change affects the tourism sector negatively and companies such as Intrepid suffer the consequences. However, tourism activities also result in climate change. Due to the clear inter-relationship between climate change and tourism sector, companies such as Intrepid and the whole tourism industry need to pro-actively adopt strategies and policies that regarding climate change and sustainability. A critical evaluation of the plans, management strategies and policies regarding climate change and sustainability, adopted by Intrepid and those that can be adopted by all players in the industry is important. Intrepid is at the forefront in ensuring sustainability through their Carbon Management Plan. In this plan, the company realizes that it is unavoidable for them not to contribute to carbon emissions thus adopt a carbon neutral stance. In this position, the company has adopted projects that neutralize and reverse the effects of their emissions. Examples of these projects include the Akbuk Wind Farm in Turkey which aid in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, ceramic water purifiers provision in Cambodia and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Kasigau Corridor REDD+ in Kenya which reduces and prevents deforestation (Intrepidtravel.com, 2017).
The UNWTO proposes mitigation measures that can quickly be adopted to ensure sustainability. Lower consumption of energy is one of the proposed measures. This mitigation measure can easily be achieved through alternative power generation methods such as the wind and solar energies. These low emission sources of energy would significantly ensure sustainability mostly in the accommodation aspects of the tourism industry. Better insulation methods will substantially reduce the impacts of air conditioning on climate change and also reduces energy consumption. The development of technology has resulted in total electric cars (emission free) and hybrid cars which significantly reduce emissions through road transport (Scott et al., 2008). Low energy consumption is, therefore, integral to ensuring sustainability in the tourism industry.
Air transport is an integral part of the tourism industry. However, there is no technology to provide emission-free air travel. Despite this, there are measures to be adopted to reduce the emissions. The use of biofuels in replacement of fossil fuels, adoption of new and more optimal airframes, and improved air traffic management are some of the measures that will substantially reduce the impact of aviation, and the tourism sector, on climate change (Scott, Peeters, and Gössling, 2010). Low emissions from the air travel sector ensure sustainability in the tourism industry as the impact on climate change is significantly reduced.
To ensure better sustainability, other management strategies have been identified. One good example is carbon offsetting. To ensure sustainability, carbon sinks are created to offset the consequences of emissions. This method is easy to adopt as carbon sinks are easily created through the planting of trees (Becken, 2004). Carbon offsetting is a policy that can be readily adopted by tourism companies as these trees can later function as attraction sites.
In conclusion, it is clear that Intrepid has a symbiotic relationship with its natural, social and economic environments. Intrepid benefits from the various aspects of its environment which also benefit from the operations of Intrepid. Despite the above symbiosis, it is clear that climate change has negative impacts on the business activities of Intrepid and other tourism companies. However, tour operations by Intrepid and the general tourism industry have negative effects on climate change. In spite of the above, Intrepid has adopted measures to mitigate the effects of its emissions to the environment. Other steps and strategies are available for adoption by other companies in the industry to ensure sustainability and a reduction in emissions.
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