Our commitment to social responsibility and sustainable development is an integral part of who we are. Tourism is one of the world’s largest generators of economic activity and we are committed to learning more about how our holidays can benefit local livelihoods while at the same time protecting the environment.
Our approach to social responsibility strives to minimise our environmental impact, respect culture in our holiday destinations, and offer real economic benefits.
1. Carbon management
Climate change affects our destinations and therefore our business. We acknowledge that our greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming.
In 2008, we introduced a carbon managment strategy with the airm to manage and reduce our emissions. Every second year we measure our energy consumption, paper for brochure production, company cars, staff travel to work, copy paper, recycling and business flights for employees.
- CarbonNeutral: In 2003, Crystal Holidays became the first major UK tour operator to be certified CarbonNeutral® – an award it still holds today.
Our impact on destinations is primarily indirect, and we undertake regular inspections of accommodation, transport and excursion suppliers to assess not just health and safety, but also quality and sustainability.
Since 2009, we have been a part of the Travelife program providing best practice guidance and support for accommodation suppliers. It’s no surprise that Travelife awarded hotels are also our best performing in customer satisfaction questionnaires.
- Travelife: industry-wide standards for sustainability management
- World Care Fund: we match every pound donated by customers which goes towards projects that help make up for the impact holidaymakers have on the environment, and look after communities around the world. In 2009/10 this totalled over £40,000.
3. Our colleagues
Our aim is to make sustainable development tangible to each and every colleague within our business. We do this by organising relevant charity and fund-raising events each year.
- Just a drop: donated over £34,000 to support water generation and sanitation projects in Hayes & Jarvis destinations.
- Disability Snowsports UK: Helping to raise money and support events for disabled skiers throughout the UK. Since August 2010, over £110,000 has been raised in aid of this charity. In 2010/11 awareness and fundraising for local charities amongst our colleagues raised over £13,000. Further, Specialist Holidays Group colleagues are often found on the slopes of our European ski resorts, volunteering to support the activity weeks organised jointly by Disability Snowsports UK and Crystal Ski Holidays.
4. Our customers
Through our partnership with The CarbonNeutral Company, we became the first mainstream tour operator to offer customers the choice of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the CarbonNeutral® flights programme.
We encourage our customers to reach the destination by train. You can slash the carbon footprint of your holiday by up to 90% if you do. Taking the train rather than flying saves an enormous amount of energy – one journey to an Alpine resort saves the equivalent of leaving your TV on standby 24 hours a day for 22 years!
We also deliver quality communications designed to raise customer interest and demand for sustainable holidays.