With today’s travellers more environmentally conscious than ever and a younger generation who are turning words into actions, the fight for a cleaner planet is taking huge strides. But it’s just the beginning. With this mission in mind, ROLZO has teamed up with independent luxury travel agency Travel Matters to combat the effects of climate change together and promote using sustainable modes of transportation.
ROLZO is passionate about sustainability and offers the world’s largest fleet of electric vehicles (EV’s) while Travel Matters has crafted responsible travel experiences for over 20 years.
Here, Travel Matters founder Karen Simmonds and ROLZO’s CEO and founder Tom Ripert discuss the partnership, why sustainability is so important and what they hope to achieve together.
Why is sustainability important to your business?
Karen: Because it’s the core of our business! The principle of sustainability should always be an outward projection of how our decisions affect the environment and those around us. At our core, there is a simple and distinctive structure of organelles that create life. This system relies on the natural balancing of life. Even a minute change in PH can cause our cells to die. Much like how we are now directly seeing the death of our beautiful planet, due to the likes of carbon emissions and the burning of fossil fuels. Environmental degradation is just one facet of sustainability. Therefore, Travel Matters believes it has a responsibility to educate all travellers about the economic influences of tourism and the social imbalances it can cultivate. Once we can put ourselves in the shoes of our neighbours – irrespective of their background, race, gender, sexuality, political alignment and/or religion – it will only be then that we can start restoring and nurturing relationships. If we all take responsibility regarding themes of sustainability, we will all take a step closer to becoming a Global Citizen!
Tom: At ROLZO, we strive to reduce emissions of CO2 and pollutants by making more and more electric vehicles (EVs) available on the road. We also partner with climate and sustainable development expert Climate Care to offset carbon emissions associated with our clients’ journeys. We know how much business affects communities and building for the future in the most sustainable way possible will benefit everyone. Whether it’s a rural village or an urban neighbourhood, we have a responsibility to care for the environment, help communities and shape attitudes towards a cleaner planet for everybody. Unavoidable emissions are offset through projects including two world-leading clean cooking projects in Bangladesh and Ghana. Together, we can support projects that both deliver positive outcomes for the environment and improve the lives of local communities.
What do you hope to achieve with the ROLZO/Travel Matters partnership?
Karen: Travel Matters looks to ROLZO as somewhat of a mentor! Everyone is under the impression that the travel sector’s biggest crux is aviation. Yes, of course it is detrimental to the environment, as it accounts for 12% of global CO2 emissions. However, compare that to road transport emitting 74% of CO2 emissions, and it’s clear that we are wholly too concerned with one sector. ROLZO has the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be partners with the market leader who is shaping the way in terms of transportation services. We also love that ROLZO has an unbelievable network of partners that stretch across the globe. We believe that they have a real influence and will make a difference helping anyone go carbon neutral.
Tom: ROLZO and Travel Matters are on the same learning path when it comes to living and running our businesses more sustainably. Our mission is to partner with travel professionals like Travel Matters to help counteract climate change by educating travellers and helping them to enjoy sustainable journeys in cities around the world. Electric Vehicles are the future and we will be there every step of the way. So, whether it’s through a soothing ride with a professional chauffeur or taking the wheel of an EV itself, Travel Matters’ clients are able to enjoy a clean electric future with ROLZO. Travel Matters has been showing how the world can travel more responsibly for many years now and their positive mindset should be the norm, not the exception. With this partnership, we hope to make a real difference in the fight for a cleaner planet and a sustainable future.
What sustainable travel trends do you see emerging in the next few years?
Karen: ‘Trend’ isn’t a phrase I like to use. It implies something is fleeting and dictated by fashion or whatever is popular at the time. If we are going to progress as a species, we need to adopt a lifestyle change. Don’t get me wrong, we want people to travel as it’s the best education they will ever gain. However, we want travellers to be savvier about how they reach their destination and what they do whilst they are there. For instance, experience the beauty of the countryside and book a train ticket. Spend a little more money and don’t cave into buying flights with stopovers. Spend more time at your destination and invest directly into the local community. Employers are encouraging working remotely more than ever so take advantage of this. Travel Matters has assembled a downloadable guide on how to become a more responsible global tourist and how you can ‘Make Your Travel Matter’. It’s a good start!
Tom: Sustainability is not just a trend for ROLZO, it is a call to action spurred on by our world changing at a faster pace than ever and with the recognition that earth’s resources are not endless. We’ve discussed concepts like Slow Travel before at ROLZO and Karen has already touched on a few of its elements that encourage more considerate travel. The environmental benefits of spending longer in a destination and avoiding excess air travel are undeniable, and I hope more travellers want to explore the world in a more compassionate way. If you lead by example and show the positive effects of your responsible journeys, it will become less of a ‘trend’ and more of a collective step forward for humanity and the planet.
In your view, what are some of the biggest environmental challenges facing the industry at the moment?
Karen: I would say that the biggest hurdle we face is embracing a renewable lifestyle. Travel Matters has recently teamed up with JUMP, who are helping businesses and workforces all over the U.K realise their potential in terms of achieving a NET ZERO status. What I mean by this is that every decision you make will have a consequence…much like the ‘Law of Cause and Effect’. If we can monitor and measure the benefit we are having on the environment, by making small changes to our lifestyles, we will be part of a collective network of ecologically responsible citizens. Don’t fill that kettle up all the way. Turn the light off. Recycle that bottle. Repair that jumper. These are all small things that add up! The younger generations are leaps and bounds ahead of us. They make these decisions unconsciously, meaning this system of belief works. We can’t solely rely on them though, as we will be handing over our most precious commodity, the earth, like a baton.
Tom: Climate change and the burdens placed on air quality, especially in cities, are among the key challenges we face. It’s no surprise that the cities embracing environmentally-friendly forms of travel like cycling and electric vehicles – Copenhagen or Stockholm, for example – are the ones with the least pollution and the cleanest air. It doesn’t just benefit the people who live there either – it’s better for wildlife, for the surrounding countryside and for the mindset of anybody who visits. I think this issue is the one that our partnership can have the most positive impact on.
A few closing thoughts…
Karen: The future of sustainable travel starts at home. If we can re-educate ourselves and take responsibility for our own actions and those who are immediately around us, we don’t have to impede on other livelihoods. It is so important to remember that our holiday destination is someone else’s home. You wouldn’t trash your own living room, so don’t trash someone else’s.
Tom: No single company can remove the carbon footprint on its own but the hundreds of companies working together and educating travellers, collectively, can help reduce the environmental impact. We are all in and dedicated to our ambition to guide the industry forward and change the way the world moves. I think a global shift is taking place, but everybody needs to play their part. Positive ventures like ours are just the beginning of something bigger.