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Britons care more about costs than their carbon footprint, finds Tootbus study

The first week of July is expected to be the hottest on record as climate change continues to heat up the world, according to UN officials.

As London Climate Action Week recently wrapped up, business leaders and policy makers made it clear that ambitious action needs to be taken now to make sure we achieve our target of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Recently, there has been no shortage of sustainability-focused initiatives in the transport sector to reduce emissions, as well as global temperatures. From a £200m pledge for nearly 1000 new electric and hydrogen buses to the removal of all diesel-only trains by 2040, it would seem Britain is leading the charge on tackling the climate crisis.


But recent research shows that other countries don’t agree – ranking London as one of Europe’s least sustainable cities.

New research by Tootbus, a clean energy sightseeing company, shows that European tourists rate London poorly as a sustainable city – with only 2% of French respondents and 4% of Belgian respondents putting it at the top.

While predictably London was outranked by Europe’s most sustainable cities including Oslo, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, the study also shows that London ranks below less-green cities including Paris, Prague, and Berlin.

And as tourists strive for a balance between affordability and eco-consciousness amid the cost-of-living crisis, it’s clear that sustainability has taken a back seat for everyday Britons as they travel overseas too.

In the research, Britons admit that when booking a trip, they care more about improving their value for money than their carbon footprint. With respondents expressing concern over the perceived costs of travelling more sustainably, the majority considered price to be the decisive factor when selecting their travel provider.  

Arnaud Masson, SVP of Sightseeing at RATP Dev, commented on the findings, stating, “There is still a challenge to prioritize sustainable travel habits on travelers’ agendas. It is the responsibility of tourism operators, along with stakeholders and policymakers, to lead the way for the benefit of both themselves and the planet. Tootbus has already taken significant strides by investing heavily in our sustainable fleet across all the countries where we operate.”

The findings go to show the critical role that tourism operators must play in promoting sustainable travel options – suggesting a dire need for increased awareness, financial incentives, and official regulations to encourage stakeholders to adopt sustainable practices.  

As European tourists seek authenticity and affordability in sustainable city breaks, it is imperative that both travel providers and tourists alike work to accelerate climate action.  And in the run-up to the Global Stocktake at COP28 in just a few months, the urgency to do so is becoming greater.

RATP Dev and its subsidiary Tootbus – which is a signatory to the Glasgow Declaration created at COP26 – are pioneering a sustainable approach to tourism and eco-friendly travel, and claim that they are committed to driving the shift towards environmentally conscious travel experiences, ensuring that exploring new destinations can be both accessible and eco-friendly.

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