On the Path to Decarbonization, Expedia Group Announces 2040 Net Zero Commitment and Near-Term Science-Based Targets

By: Aditi Mohapatra
Sep 27, 2023 3:35 PM ET
An office building with glass walkway over a lush green courtyard.

Travel is transformative — a true force for good. At Expedia Group, we know that the global travel industry must transform to realize a Net Zero future, and we are committed to playing our part.

As a step toward realizing that commitment, we are excited to release our first Climate Action Plan. Expedia Group has been carbon neutral since 2017, and we are now increasing our ambitions and committing to reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations by 2040, from a 2022 base year.

We are committing to the Science-Based Targets initiative and propose initial near-term targets, including:

  • Reducing our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions 75% by 2030.
  • Continuing to match 100% of our electricity usage with renewable purchases through 2030.
  • Engaging with our value chain to ensure that 75% of our suppliers by emissions have also set science-based targets by 2028.

Additionally, the plan contains a more robust greenhouse gas inventory for our operations, and an assessment of the risks and opportunities posed to our business by climate change. In the year to come, we will build on the vision set out in the Climate Action Plan by:

  • Establishing an internal, cross-functional climate governance and oversight through a Net Zero working group.
  • Developing a detailed Net Zero Roadmap that outlines how we will achieve our interim and long-term targets.
  • Integrating a climate lens into the strategic planning processes and KPIs of relevant teams across our business.

Beyond our operations, we are committed to catalyzing the wider travel industry’s ability to achieve the global goal of halving emissions by 2030 and reaching Net Zero as soon as possible before 2050, as set out by The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, which we signed in 2022.

Powering more sustainable journeys

From day one, our business has been built on providing trusted information to travelers, connecting them with a wide range of quality travel products, and supporting suppliers in meeting our travelers’ diverse range of needs. This is likewise where we will anchor our contribution to a Net Zero future for the global travel and tourism industry.

In our Climate Action Plan, we outline our commitment to ensuring travelers are able to choose relatively more sustainable options, with the goal of making lower-carbon travel and tourism products a preferred choice across our platform and eventually the default for the global industry. We know this is important to travelers, as sustainability-related terms, like references to solar panels, recycling, or the elimination of single-use plastics, have recently doubled in how often they are mentioned in traveler reviews.

In support of the commitment to provide travelers with information, we have launched a number of new sustainability-related features on our platform over the last year, such as showing information about the average carbon emissions of flights, or the eco-certifications received by hotels. And we are already seeing an impact — for example, a filter for electric vehicle chargers at hotel and vacation rental properties has become quite popular.

Supporting responsible travel

Our Climate Action Plan further articulates our commitment to supporting suppliers in offering more sustainable tourism to travelers, while enhancing resilience and climate adaptation for destination communities.

To that end, we are thrilled to announce alongside our Climate Action Plan the launch of the new Nature Positive Tourism Fund, founded in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a global non-profit.

The fund will demonstrate how tourism can be a force for environmental conservation and climate action as well as community development.

The Fund aims to:

  • Provide local people and organizations with working capital loans at below-market rates, as well as grants and access to technical experts, to improve product quality and tourist experience of nature positive tourism infrastructure, operations, and services; and support the transition away from fossil fuels.
  • Identify and improve best practices and standards in nature positive tourism in collaboration with key stakeholders across the industry, including Indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • Expand nature positive tourism opportunities in the critically important conservation areas where WCS works, including building community-owned and community-operated tourism facilities and services.

We are excited to embark on this project with WCS and continue expanding our work. Together, we will show travelers the value of nature while ensuring nature positive tourism delivers economic value for the local people contributing to conservation efforts in these critical habitats.

Looking ahead

Travel broadens horizons, strengthens connections, and changes perspectives, bringing the world closer together. The travel and tourism industry is one of the biggest economic drivers for many communities around the world, and when done responsibly, the industry has the potential to protect natural ecosystems and contribute to a Net Zero future.

With this Climate Action Plan, encompassing our 2040 Net Zero goal and interim decarbonization targets, as well as our commitments to powering sustainable journeys through new product features and industry partnerships, we are setting out our vision for a more prosperous planet and responsible travel ecosystem. These are some of our first steps, as we embark on the journey toward achieving Net Zero emissions for our own operations, and moreover as we collaborate with partners, peers, suppliers, and travelers to ensure global tourism is both vibrant and sustainable for generations to come.