HomeExchange reveals the results of its impact study

The tourism sector accounts for approximately 8% of global carbon emissions*. As a stakeholder in the tourism industry and a committed company in this sector, we believe that we have a responsibility and are taking action to reduce this figure.

In partnership with OuiAct, a consulting firm specializing in climate strategy, we have conducted an impact study on the behavior of our travel community, as well as the emissions related to travel. The goal of this study is to better understand the carbon footprint of traveling and to change the practices of the sector and of the travelers.

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What we learned from the carbon impact study

The results of this study are clear: although as a form of accomodation, home exchanging is one of the lowest emitters (after camping in a tent), it is the choice of the mode of transportation and activities that carry the biggest weight in the carbon footprint of holidaymakers.

Among the key findings of the impact study:

  • Carbon emissions related to transportation generally represent the largest part of the total carbon footprint of a tourist trip. Of course, air travel is the most significant factor: trips involving air travel (45% of our community's trips) account for nearly 88% of total CO2 emissions!
  • Tourist activities are the second most important measure for reducing emissions during a trip and can account for up to 62% of the total footprint.
  • As far as accommodation is concerned, choosing a home exchange is 49% less carbon intensive than staying in a hotel or a holiday club.
  • Food and drink practices and waste have a relatively small impact on the total carbon footprint, but they can contribute significantly to a traveler's individual carbon footprint when they choose a low-carbon mode of transportation such as travelling by train. HomeExchangers are particularly sensitive to waste management which, although minor in the overall carbon footprint, remains a key issue for biodiversity!

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What are the action measures to reduce our carbon impact as a community of travelers?

As a company, we are committed to reducing our own carbon footprint but also to implementing an action plan to encourage our members to adopt more environmentally-friendly travel practices. While home exchange is a low-carbon way to travel compared to other accommodation options, it is only the first step to traveling more sustainably.

Our motto? To make simple travel desirable!

And for this, we are committed to:

  • Showcasing more and more local destinations or those accessible by train, and showing the infinite possibilities of escaping from reality without going to the other side of the world.
  • Encouraging our community members to highlight low-carbon activities near them, and excluding the most carbon-emitting activities from our recommendations.
  • Developing the exchange of primary residences, which emit less than secondary residences, as well as the adoption of energy-efficient habits.
  • Promoting environmentally-friendly food practices: non-meat, local, and seasonal products.

This study is part of the climate strategy that we initiated in 2019. These results confirm the importance of acting on factors other than sustainable accommodation to reduce the carbon footprint of travel. We have therefore decided to initiate future actions to reduce the carbon footprint of each of our members by -4% to -6% per year by 2030.

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Are you part of the tourism sector? Join us!

If more and more tourism stakeholders engage in similar approaches, more data will be available to complete our analyses in order to identify the best ways to reduce our collective carbon footprint.

We therefore call on all tourism stakeholders (companies, communities, associations) to join us in a more sustainable approach.

*according to a study across 160 countries, published in 2018 in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change