Thomas Cook halves electricity use

Travel and tourism giant Thomas Cook has slashed electricity use across its entire office and retail network by 55% and total energy use by 35% since 2010.

In its 2014 Sustainability Report, the British group claimed the reduction was due to a combination of streamlining locations, installing new technologies such as LED lighting and increasing the focus on energy efficiency, with 38% of energy usage now coming from renewable sources.

In the UK, Thomas Cook’s programme of investing in its retail network has led the company to replace older lighting systems with the new LED lighting technology, saving more than 1.5 million kWh of electricity; reducing its carbon footprint by 800 tonnes and saving £170,000.

Continuing its shift of focus towards renewables, the company’s Northern European Airline will soon generate 20% of its own power after receiving approval from the authorities to install the largest solar system in Copenhagen Airport on the engineering hangar roof.

Thomas Cook was shortlisted as a finalist in edie’s 2014 Sustainability Leaders Awards for its carbon management initiatives. View the full 2014 shortlist here and winners here.  

WasteThe agency highlights a 53% reduction in paper consumption through digitalisation of the business, with more than half of paper used coming from sustainable sources.

The report states: “We use paper predominantly for the production of holiday brochures. Although we have committed to use paper from sustainable sources, 62% of brochure paper came from sustainable sources in 2014, as we continue to find ways to reduce the amount of paper used overall.”

Total waste produced from office and retail increased in 2014, although Thomas Cook put this down to ‘increased accuracy in measuring and reporting waste data.’ They also point out that more than half the waste produced is recycled.

WaterWater consumption from Thomas Cook-owned hotels decreased from 925 million litres in 2013 to 871 million litres in 2014.

“Water is a vital part of our business, but water scarcity is now a reality in many parts of the world,” read the report. “Our accommodation suppliers use significant quantities of water and it is our responsibility to help them to reduce the water they consume as well as educate our customers to avoid wasting water.”

INFOGRAPHIC: Thomas Cook sustainability progressLooking forward, the travel agency states it is “in the process of reviewing its sustainability strategy and material aspects, with the objective of launching its strategy by 2015”.

The report reads: “Tourism continues to be… one of the largest industries in the world. The reality is that such opportunity also brings responsibility. For example, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Network (UNWTO) associates travel and tourism with 5% of global carbon emissions.

“We believe that well-managed tourism is capable of generating positive economic and social development. At Thomas Cook Group plc we are just as committed to sustainability as we are to our Transformation.”

Lois Vallely

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