My journey to becoming a sustainable travel expert

Marie Rowe on 27 December 2022
At the start of 2022 I set out my single biggest business goal for the year; to focus on sustainability and to find ways to run a greener business whilst helping my clients to make more responsible choices when it comes to travelling.

In a World where the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly obvious, I am passionate about advocating the importance of everyone doing their bit, no matter how small, to help save the planet from a future of vicious storms and extreme drought. Running a Travel Agency business, and being a keen traveller myself weighed on my conscience daily.

The long range effects of Global Warming will ultimately impact our ability to Travel the World. In years to come, places like New York, the Maldives and Dubai will be under water. On one hand I am desperate to save this from happening to prolong the existence of travel but, on the other hand, I feel a huge amount of guilt for facilitating travel which is one of the largest contributors of C02 emissions. You see my dilemma?

My goal was threefold:

1. To run a sustainable home based business where my office and work related tasks are eco-friendly and to make responsible choices to minimise my carbon footprint.

2. To help my clients make responsible travel choices and in turn to attract more eco-conscious clients to book travel with me.

3. To help my clients offset the impact of their travel and compensate for their carbon emissions by making equivalent reductions elsewhere.

A year on, I am delighted and proud to be able to share that I have achieved those goals to a point where I am comfortable doing what I do and enabling my clients to do what they want to do, in a way that is much better for our planet, and leaving us with a clearer conscience.


My biggest goal for office life was to become 100% paper free. I am pleased to say that I think I am now very close to that goal. The only exception is when I book niche or specialist travel through a third party partner who still insists on providing printed collateral which I have to pass on to my clients. You could argue that it's them, not me, but I take responsibility for who I choose to work with so I'm happy to cop the flack here. This only represents a small amount of my business now because I'm increasingly choosing to work with partners who also operate a paperless system and I've nearly nailed it...

I send my clients digital quotes, itineraries and tickets through the MyTC travel app.

I use a digital business card instead of printing business cards.

I take notes using Evernote instead of buying paper notebooks.

I cancelled all my subscriptions to printed trade publications because I can read them online.

I don't order or hold any brochure stock.

I also walk and use public transport wherever I can and I’ve started to track my driving miles so I can offset my carbon emissions with a tree planting scheme.


An increasing number of hotels are putting positive social and environmental impact at their heart. Regarding themselves as guardians of special places that have existed long before them, they are introducing ways of operating that actively conserve the environment and educate local communities on how best to care for it. If it is possible to make a conscious choice to stay at places, like these, that are leading the way, I want to make sure that my clients know about them.

Our Green Leaf symbol denotes products that meet sustainability standards recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, which means they’re working to reduce their environmental impact and better serve the communities in which they operate.


I have started offering a free service to help my eco-conscious clients calculate the carbon emissions for their travel and advising them to mitigate the effects by planting the right number of trees to make equivalent reductions in developing countries.

Trees are one of the most powerful absorbers of carbon emissions - by planting trees in developing countries as we travel, we also help to restore ecosystems, biodiversity & support local communities through the dignity of employment - together building a more sustainable & equitable world.

My sustainability goals for 2023 are:

1. To continue to grow my business with the health of our planet in mind.

2. To further develop my ability to offer sustainable travel solutions to my clients and give them the knowledge that their travel is a force for good.

3. To be a true advocate for sustainability within the Travel Industry by sharing my knowledge and ideas to inspire agents to run greener businesses and sell responsible travel options.

If you're looking to travel responsibly in 2023, I would be delighted to help you find the perfect hotel to suit your criteria with 'green leaf' status, or create an adventure itinerary packed with authentic experiences that support the local community. I can help you calculate your carbon footprint, offset your carbon emissions, and satisfy you knowledge that your travel is a force for good.

I look forward to hearing from you.