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Thomas Cook Sustainability Report: Emissions Rise, Energy Use Drops

Thomas Cook Group, whose North American travel agency brands include MyTravel, ABATours and Exotik Tours, increased its scopes 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the company’s 2011 sustainability report.

Scope 1 emissions rose from just over 4.3 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2010 to 4.4 million in 2011. The company’s scope 2 emissions fell over the same period from 54,735 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2010 to 48,258 in 2011.

Thomas Cook, whose brands across 22 countries include charter package companies, financial service providers, hotels and airlines, attributes the jump in total emissions primarily to an increase in its aircraft emissions in 2011. Airline emissions rose due to an increase in capacity of 7.5 percent within Airlines Germany, owner of the Condor brand, as well as a 15.5 percent increase in long-haul flying year-on-year, the company says.

The company used 1.38 million tons of airline fuel in 2001, up from 1.35 million metric tons in 2010. This represents a jump of 1.65 percent. However, despite using more fuel, the company used it in a more efficient way. In 2011, CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer fell by 2.25 percent.

Thomas Cook attributes the drop to various fuel efficiency projects such as winglets, pilot training and weight saving initiatives. The company now boasts emissions of 73.7g CO2 per revenue passenger kilometer, a figure it says is among the lowest in the airline industry.

The company reported a reduction in energy use of 8.5 percent across the group. This reduction comes despite increases in diesel use and gas use. The company attributes the 1.6 percent increase in its gas use to combating the unusually harsh winter conditions experienced in the U.K., Ireland, Central Europe and Northern Europe in 2011.

Diesel use jumped by just under 29 percent year-on-year as the firm’s company car fleet switched from gasoline to diesel. As such, Thomas Cook’s gasoline use dropped 70 percent year-on-year. Its diesel use is still lower than 2009 levels.

Thomas Cook reduced its total waste per employee from 274 kg in 2010 to 269 kg per in 2011, a drop of almost two percent. In that time the amount of waste to landfill dropped almost 27 percent and the amount of recycled waste per employee increased almost 17 percent.

However, the company’s total waste reported increased from 8,041 metric tons in 2010 to 9,382 metric tons in 2011. The company blames the total increase on an improvement in reporting procedures.

Thomas Cook’s water consumption in office and retail premises increased from 573 million liters in 2010 to 593 million liters in 2011, a jump of three percent. The increase is due to an improvement in data capture, with water use now being reported quarterly, the company says. Also, the data now includes information from over 120 retail stores in India, something the firm didn’t include in 2010, according to the report.

The company’s hotels arm also increased both its water consumption and its water use per guest year-on-year. In 2010 the group’s hotels consumed 705 million liters of water and averaged 229 liters of water use per guest night. In 2011 these figures increased to 712 million liters and 232 liters respectively. The company says its Hi! Hotels brand saw an increase in water consumption due to bringing laundry facilities back on site at four hotels as well as introducing kids’ “Aquaplay” facilities at two branches.

The amount of paper used by the company has increased by just under 100 metric tons year-on-year, a 0.5 percent increase.  The company, again, blames this on better reporting, this time in its offices. But Thomas Cook has reduced paper used for brochure production by over 4,000 metric tons, or 19 percent year-on-year. In the U.K., the company reduced the number of pages in its brochures by 10 percent and the number of brochures by 11 percent year-on-year.

Some 94 percent of office paper and 51 percent of brochure paper is from sustainable sources, the report says.

The company also became the first travel agency to join the Travelife sustainability system for tour operators. The group is targeting Travelife awards for 1,500 of its suppliers by 2020 and plans to get all group-owned or controlled hotels Travelife Gold awards by the same year. It is also planning on integrating sustainability criteria into all its procurement processes by 2015.

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