TICOS Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the Tourism Industry Carbon Offset Service (TICOS)?
A.TICOS is a tourism industry-wide service formed to address the industry's need to respond to the growing threat of climate change from carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. It sources and funds projects that have carbon reduction and wider sustainable development benefits. It is available to any UK based travel and tourism business. Businesses using our service are known as 'Service Users' and are able to choose which project they wish to fund.
Q. What is carbon reduction and carbon offset?
A. Carbon dioxide (or CO2) is the main gas produced in the burning of fossil fuels. This, and other gasses known as greenhouse gasses, are important factors in climate change. Carbon reduction is finding ways to reduce energy consumption and or the amount of gasses released. Carbon offsets are financial instruments that give a value to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Offsets are typically generated from emissions-reducing projects, such as renewable energy. TICOS operates within the Voluntary Emissions Reduction (VER) market.
Q. Why do we need an industry-wide service?
A. There are a growing number of voluntary carbon offset schemes operated by companies but none of these is specific to travel and tourism. Because there is no single regulatory framework for voluntary schemes they vary considerably in the standards to which they operate and in their calculation of carbon benefits. There are three key reasons why we have developed an industry-wide service.
- By working collectively at an industry level, to a common standard, we can establish a consistent process that is understood by all.
- We provide a complementary range of services to the industry to allow all our Service Users to better understand and deal with carbon reduction. For example, all businesses using the TICOS service will also have access to technical assistance and expertise from TICOS Staff.
- Our Service will allow a better understanding of the issues by customers and suppliers of the industry. All funds raised will be administered to a strict operational procedure of due diligence and all Service Users will have a certainty that money raised will be allocated to projects of their choice.
Q. How will money be raised?
A. All customers buying travel and tourism products from a TICOS Service User will be invited to make a contribution to offset the carbon cost of their product. This will usually be through an opt-in or opt-out item added to invoices. Contributions will be entirely voluntary.
Q. Will the service be mandatory for members of participating trade associations?
A. No. The use of TICOS will be voluntary but we hope that every travel and tourism business will support it so that the industry can be seen as working collectively in a self-regulatory manner.
Q. What will happen to the money raised?
A. All money raised will be administered by TICOS to fund projects offered by us. Projects may also be proposed by the Service User. All our projects are evaluated for their carbon and wider sustainable development benefits such as providing social, economic or wildlife improvements in tourism destinations. Costs in establishing and administering the service will be carefully controlled to ensure value for money and to release the maximum amount possible to projects. Over a five year period establishment and operational costs should be no more than 20%, plus VAT where applicable; this compares very favourably with existing offset schemes where costs are typically around 40%.
Q. What sort of projects will TICOS support?
A. Projects are sourced worldwide and must demonstrate that they can:
- Reduce or offset carbon emissions in real terms. Only projects where there is a real additional and measurable carbon saving will qualify for funding.
- Have wider sustainable development benefits which favour the environment, wildlife, pro poor policies and community improvements.
- Have a significant tourism element.
Q. How will projects be identified?
A. There will be two main ways of identifying projects. Members of supporting organisations have staff, suppliers and customers in almost all tourism destinations. Many of these have an intimate knowledge of the environmental issues they face and what solutions are needed. We invite those working in the industry and customers to submit their ideas for us to work up into projects that meet our criteria. Secondly, through our contacts with national and international NGOs, we endeavour to identify projects in World Heritage sites and other areas of particular importance to tourism.
Q. How will I know that a TICOS project has been successful?
A. Each project has its own dedicated page on the project section of this website, which will be regularly updated to show progress. TICOS will publish an annual report giving details of the progress of each project. TICOS will continue to be at the forefront of new industry research and best practice in attempting to deal with the threat of climate change.