The beginning of 2023 has been a busy one, not only are we celebrating our big 21st Birthday in February, but we have also been awarded with a Green Tourism Gold Award for our ongoing commitment towards sustainability, within our office and operations.  We have also just released or Green Climate Action Plan for 2023, a requirement as a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration. The Glasgow Declaration was launched at COP 26, with the commitment, alongside many other tourism stakeholders, to halve our emissions by 2030.

During our 21 years of commitment to sustainable tourism development, we have navigated the different trends that have shaped the industry, including the vast growth of international travel and the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, until now, we have not witnessed such a significant movement towards a more sustainable and inclusive industry, with stakeholders from all areas making a stand for change.  

Change does not happen overnight, it requires planning, reporting and target setting, helping to reach the end goals. As part of our long-term commitment for change we have recently published an update of our Climate Action Plan, laying out our own internal strategy, helping to halve our carbon emissions by 2030. The Climate Action Plan is laid out to identify the five pathways that are essential for making this change (measure, decarbonise, regenerate, collaborate, finance). This blog presents an overview of our current actions in relation to these pathways, alongside our commitments for the next year.


At Acorn, we have been measuring our organisation’s emissions, giving us the ability to track and reduce our footprint. As part of this, we track using online carbon calculators (My Climate & Ecosphere+) helping to monitor both our travel and office emissions. We will publish the results both calculators on our website in the coming months.

We are very aware that our current business model relies on air travel to successfully deliver our international projects. We are working to reduce the number of flights we take and aim to be net zero by offsetting our Scope 3 emissions. This primarily involves donating to Atmosfair, which provides efficient cooking stoves in Lesotho. These stoves save 80% of energy, produce less smoke and reduce deforestation by decreasing the need for firewood.

As part of our free resource library and our Director Alison Burgh’s new position as Head of Sustainability at the Tourism Management Institute, we have also made a commitment in providing tips and recommendations for tourism stakeholders who are committed to joining the movement. This includes providing tools, resources, and knowledge sharing, alongside sharing best practice examples.


As part of our commitment to decarbonise, Acorn has committed to growing our client base within the UK, as well as taking on more desk-based projects with the objective of reducing the number of international flights, therefore cutting back our emissions. We are excited that at the end of 2022, we renewed our contract with the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries, (the CBI) to produce the Tourism Market Intelligence Studies for a further three years, from 2023 to 2025. This project is predominantly desk based, supporting SMEs in developing countries on how to better access and attract the European outbound tourism market by offering more diverse and sustainable tours.

Earlier in the year we also worked with Thanet District Council, helping to develop their Green Tourism Business Toolkit. This toolkit was created to help local businesses with tips and recommendations on changing their operations to help reduce their carbon footprints.

We are also very proud that our office in East Sussex has an EPC A rating for its energy efficiency. It is constructed from chestnut timber and is designed to help provide the maximum natural light; you can find out more here.


The concept of regenerative tourism has become very prevalent over the last year. The term is used to describe a type of tourism where guests leave the destination and its people in a better state than when they arrived. We have been working  on projects geared towards regeneration, some of these partnerships have been going on for many years, including:


Collaboration is key to creating a positive change. As part of this commitment we have been developing a range of different free resource documents, helping stakeholders with insight, recommendations and tips on how to begin their sustainability journeys; these can be found and downloaded here. In 2023 we have set a goal to publish at least six new resources.

We have also made a commitment to collaborate with non-profit organisations, such as sustainability certification schemes, helping to raise awareness of the important work they do. In 2021 we became a Green Destinations Representative, and in 2023 we aim to provide access to auditor training for one member of staff, for both Green Destinations and Travelife. As part of our commitment to Green Destinations we supported the application of five destinations from the developing countries to apply for the Green Destinations Top 100 Stories, providing a waiver on their application fee.

We have been working hard over the years to build long lasting collaborations and partnerships with clients and partners, working on a range of different projects that contribute to delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. At Acorn Tourism, we believe that implementing and acknowledging these SDGs through our work is an important way to support delivery of their key actions, thus helping to improve tourism that delivers for People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnerships.

Below is a snapshot of some of our past and present work, alongside the SDGs they stand for.

SDG 1 No Poverty

SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG 9 Industry Innovation & Infrastructure

  • Development of Tourism Statistics/Measuring Tourism/Economic Impact: Albania, Tunisia, Seychelles
  • Digitalisation of Tourism Services in Rwanda

SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production

SDG 13 Climate Action

SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals


Lastly, the pathway of finance outlines areas where we are committed to financing initiatives with the purpose of reducing our carbon emissions. Some of these have been mentioned in the commitments above. Our commitments include the procurement of eco-friendly alternative products, training and auditing costs, donations and investing in our operations to become Green Tourism Gold certified.

To find out more about our commitments within our Climate Action Plan, 2023 download it here.


Community-Based Tourism (CBT) - A Business Guide for SMEs
Product Development
Community-based tourism activities

A detailed study into Community-base tourism (CBT) was required to support SMEs and local communities to prepare their tourism product for the European market.

Walking Tourism - A Business Guide for SMEs
Product Development
Walking tourism in pristine mountains

This detailed business guide was conducted to support local tour operators throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America to compete effectively in the European tourism market for walking tourism.

Fully Independent Travellers (FIT) - A Business Guide for SMEs
Market Research
Backpacking in Asia

A detailed report about the FIT (Fully Independent Traveller) market segment was required to support SME’s to prepare their tourism product for the European market.



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