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Travel booking companies

Finding an ethical and sustainable travel booking company.

Full rankings for 29 travel companies. We look at the carbon impact of flying and alternatives, accommodation eco-labels, the impact of holiday homes (including Airbnb), alternative sustainable holiday options, shine a spotlight on TUI and make Best Buy recommendations.

About Ethical Consumer

This is a shopping guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

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What to buy

What to look for when choosing an ethical travel booking company:

  • Do you want to travel with less climate impact? Choose destinations you can get to by train, coach, and ferry rather than flying.

  • Could your accommodation use less energy? Consider hostels, camping, glamping or other venues with high sustainability criteria, as an alternative to mainstream hotels and resorts. See our suggestions in the guide.

  • Are you looking to cut the impacts of the food you eat while away? Find vegan and vegetarian accommodation and restaurants on

Best Buys

Focusing on UK accommodation bookings, our Best Buys are Canopy & Stars, Independent Hostels UK and the YHA which offer glamping and hostel accommodation (with many including private rooms). Canopy & Stars, and Fairbnb also have options in Europe.

Recommended buys

For travelling abroad we recommend avoiding flying whenever possible by choosing destinations you can reach by train.

For accommodation, if you can’t find availability through our Best Buys above, try Homestay, or search for a place you can reach without flying, preferably with high sustainability criteria, and book direct.

What not to buy

What to avoid when choosing an ethical travel booking company:

  • Is your accommodation adding to the housing crisis? If you do use online platforms to find a room, watch out for hosts that have more than one listing or are renting out entire apartments that they don’t live in. Check out the non-profit alternatives to Airbnb below.

  • Is it a large chain? Try to find locally owned accommodation, shops and restaurants, where more of the money will stay in the local economy.

  • Is it a flight you don’t need to take? If you plan things differently, there are usually many other options to discover.

Companies to avoid

The lowest scoring company was TUI. We’d recommend avoiding all the companies that lost marks for tax conduct, but TUI lost extra marks in relation to deportation flights, modern slavery, and animal rights.

  • TUI

Score table

Updated live from our research database

← Swipe left / right to view table contents →
Brand Score(out of 100) Ratings Categories

Canopy & Stars

Company Profile: Sawday’s Canopy & Stars Ltd.


Company Profile: Fair Bnb Network società cooperativa

Independent Hostels UK

Company Profile: Independent Hostels UK

YHA hostels

Company Profile: YHA (England and Wales) - charity owner

Company Profile: Homestay Technologies Limited

Company Profile: N.V.

Love Holidays

Company Profile: We Love Holidays Ltd


Company Profile: Skyscanner Holdings Limited

Company Profile: Group Limited


Company Profile: Booking Holdings Inc

Company Profile: Booking Holdings Inc


Company Profile: Booking Holdings Inc


Company Profile: Booking Holdings Inc


Company Profile: Booking Holdings Inc


Company Profile: Tripadvisor Inc.


Company Profile: TUI AG


Company Profile: Airbnb, Inc.


Company Profile: Expedia Inc

Company Profile: Expedia Inc


Company Profile: Expedia Inc


Company Profile: Expedia Inc


Company Profile: Expedia Inc

Company Profile: Awaze Vacation Rentals Ltd

English Country Cottages

Company Profile: Awaze Vacation Rentals Ltd


Company Profile: Awaze Vacation Rentals Ltd

James Villa Holidays

Company Profile: Awaze Vacation Rentals Ltd


Company Profile: Awaze Vacation Rentals Ltd

Quality Cottages

Company Profile: Awaze Vacation Rentals Ltd

Quality Unearthed

Company Profile: Awaze Vacation Rentals Ltd

Our Analysis

Finding an ethical and sustainable travel company

If you’re taking a trip, it is still possible to visit a travel agent or ticket office, but these days you’re much more likely to be looking up options online yourself.

Huge tech companies have evolved into the travel space, known in the industry as OTAs (Online Travel Agencies). Their goal is to display options in a way that will seamlessly convert you from browser to buyer.

This guide exposes the poor environmental and financial behaviour of some of the biggest online travel booking companies used in the UK. It also looks at several other key issues in the world of travel booking: ever expanding aviation; the highs and lows of tourism; holiday homes vs housing and accommodation eco-labels.

We have also rated some smaller and more mission-driven operations, and highlight some non-profit home-sharing sites, tips to help you travel flight-free, environmental package holiday operators, and a range of working holiday websites.

All the companies on our score table are in the business of offering options for travel booking, be it a flight, hotel or other type of accommodation such as hostels, glamping and spare rooms.

The only companies in this guide that own any of the accommodation or means of travel they are offering are the YHA and TUI. But through the sheer volume of commissions, advertising and merchant fees – not to mention tax avoidance – many of the others have got to the point where their highest-paid directors are creaming off literally millions in compensation each year.

The ethics of flying

Although it’s still the case that half the UK population is not taking an international flight in a typical year, it wasn’t that long ago that a holiday abroad was an even rarer thing. Back in 1997, protestors against a second runway at our own local Manchester Airport hung a banner that read ‘Global Warning, Final Warning’. It was known that aviation was expanding, but perhaps none of us realised quite how much.

It was only from the early 2000s that cheap flights really took off. The second runway built over the Bollin Valley at Manchester opened in 2001, and the budget airlines moved in. The British actually fly abroad more than any other nation.

And passenger numbers worldwide are expected to double in the next 15 years.

France, Holland and Austria took the opportunity, while bailing out airlines failing due to the pandemic, to attach conditions expecting them to meet certain climate targets. But the UK government went the other way. In the week before hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in 2021, it chose to cut the Air Passenger Duty tax on domestic flights. Aviation is hardly taxed anyway. There is no VAT on tickets, and no tax on jet fuel.

A flight from London to Edinburgh can be five times cheaper than travelling by train. And yet it can release more than five times the amount of greenhouse gases.

According to one study, a trip from London to Edinburgh emits 128 kg CO2eq by plane, and only 21 kg CO2eq by train. Any talk of airlines getting more sustainable is not keeping up with the expansion. Perhaps the ease of online flight booking is not helping.

How planes heat up the planet, infographic. Drawing of a plane with emissions of CO2, ozone, soot, cloud formation and contrails, and cooling effect of methane reduction.
The overall climate impacts of aviation, including non-CO2 pollutants as well as CO2, are estimated by the IPCC to be on average 2.7 times higher than the CO2 emissions alone. Source: Lee/Fahey, German and Austrian Environment Agencies, DLR. Courtesy of DW (Deutsche Welle).

Who's offering lower-carbon flight options?

For companies selling flights, we expected them to be helping customers make lower-carbon choices. We looked at what they said in their reports, and then used the websites of their biggest brands to look for a return flight from London to Edinburgh, to see what options they’d give. (NB driving distance is 414 miles, or 666 km.)

Kayak and Skyscanner were the only companies found to include any information on the carbon emissions of different options, although for Kayak this feature was not available when we searched its website using a mobile phone. None was found on, Expedia, or TUI, although they talked in their reports about the need for reducing flight emissions. Love Holidays and TripAdvisor did not even seem to acknowledge it was an issue.

Kayak's Least CO2 filter

Kayak had an image showing the five most important factors in its CO2 calculation: Flying direct, Aircraft type, Airline rating, Passenger load and Cabin class.

It stated that flying also creates non-CO2 pollutants like nitrogen oxides, ozone, soot particles, condensation trails and ice clouds that it takes into account when the plane is flying over 9000 metres where they have a more significant effect. Not all airline carbon calculators will include these additional warming effects, which can more than double the impacts.

Kayak work with Atmosfair, a climate consultation organisation, who also suggest ways to avoid the emissions in the first place. For example, have ‘a video conference instead of a business trip’, or ‘a longer vacation can take the place of two shorter ones’.

For the London to Edinburgh journey search, it suggested bus and train as the most eco-friendly options. If a trip cannot be replaced with a much lower-carbon alternative, Kayak’s FAQs say it is still worth searching for genuinely lower-carbon flights. For example, a 375 kg of difference in CO2 is the equivalent of driving a passenger car 1,500 km.

Skyscanner's Greener Choices

Skyscanner had some 6% less CO2 ‘Greener Choices’ but was a lot less convincing. “It’s our mission to lead the global transformation to modern and sustainable travel”, said the flight-search website, “we believe that travel has the power to change us. And we have the power to change travel.”

Ok, it had become a founding member of the industry-led sustainable tourism campaign “Travalyst”, along with,, TripAdvisor and Expedia, as well as Google and Visa. The Travalyst website stated: “Our shared goal is to make sustainability reporting – and eventually supply scoring/indexing – a core part of the consumer experience; where consistent information is published globally across all travel platforms.” It said it wanted to build on the success of Skyscanner’s Greener Choices index. But how good is Greener Choices?

Skyscanner states: “we know plane travel puts a significant strain on the environment. It's time to reconsider the choices we make when we want to fly.” But it did not offer any non-flight options even for a domestic trip from London to Edinburgh.

It stated: “We analyse the aircraft model flying the route, checking for fuel efficient engines and other modifications. We calculate emissions based on factors like distance, capacity and cruise time. Since most emissions come from take-off and landing, direct flights are often the greenest.” But it did not mention the significant additional impacts of non-CO2 emissions.

All of the options it labelled as lower carbon for our search were from EasyJet. We took a look at EasyJet’s Sustainability pages. It stated, “Since 2000, over a 20-year period, we reduced our carbon emissions per passenger, per kilometre by over one-third, and our aim is to bring this down further.

It did list ways it had become more efficient, “having modern and fuel-efficient planes, flying them in ways which avoid noise and an unnecessary use of fuel, and flying them full of passengers.

However, we should perhaps be wary of reductions per passenger, from a company whose turnover more than doubled in the 10 years between 2009-2019, and which has been a key player in the promotion of air travel through cheap flights.

Flying, fairness and justice

One interesting perspective, held by the ‘A Free Ride’ campaign, is to focus on fairness in relation to flying. It points out that, in Britain, 70% of flights are taken by just 15% of the population. The annual tax subsidy to air travel is estimated to be more than £11 billion and flying is the fastest growing cause of climate change. A Frequent Flyer Levy would allow everyone one tax-free return flight a year but charge a bit more tax for each extra flight.

There is also a campaign led by aviation workers, called ‘Safe Landing’, which calls for a just transition. Safe Landing states simply, “The projected growth of aviation is incompatible with safe levels of global warming” but rejects the argument that we need that growth for jobs. A transition could increase jobs by transferring passengers to lower emission travel and tourism, but it needs to include retraining so that existing workers don’t lose out in the process.

Two people with rucksacks waiting to board a train

The joy of slow travel: flight-free tips

Travelling longer distances by train opens up a whole new world of experiences, but it can be a bit more complicated than just getting a flight. Luckily, you can learn from an expert at the Man in Seat 61 website, packed full of detail about the easiest routes, cheapest tickets, and which websites to book through.

For many countries, you can use the UK website. But sometimes there are advantages to using others – the German Deutsche Bahn website, for example, allows you to schedule in a couple of stopovers, so you can spend a few hours somewhere on the way to break up your journey.

The journey itself can become an exciting part of a holiday, instead of something to get out of the way. Seat 61 also includes information on the Eurostar, night-train options (which are making a comeback), and ferries to Europe. For multi-trip adventures you should also check out Interrail tickets, which give you several travel days over 1 or 2 months, or 1-3 months continuous travel, throughout 33 countries of Europe.

The first part of this year has also seen the release of a new Lonely Planet guide to train travel in Europe, with some breathtaking photos of trains emerging from, gliding along beside, between, or looking out onto mountains. For cheaper options there are coaches too. For local bus journeys, Rome2Rio seems to include options that even Google Maps doesn’t know about.

If you’re just travelling within the UK, you might be delighted to find out about the possibilities at this website takes advantage of the crazy pricing systems we have in the UK by finding the best places to split the ticket for the cheapest fares.

It’s also worth looking into any discount railcards available, such as regional Rover tickets, Family Railcards, or the Two Together card in the UK which costs £30 for you and a companion.

"Most people on holiday wish to relax, slow down, have fun and find spiritual balance. It is possible to meet these needs without travelling great distances. Even a walk or a bike ride starting at your own front door can be a memorable experience." Atmosfair

If you need to travel for work, you could ask your workplace about taking the train. It may be more expensive, but many workplaces are trying hard to cut their carbon emissions so may well keen to look at this. Many trains in Europe also have good Wi-Fi, meaning you can work on the train if needed. You could ask your employer to look into joining Climate Perks which supports employers to offer paid ‘journey days’ to staff who travel on holiday by train, coach or boat instead of flying, as one London museum has done.

Atmosfair's tips for climate-friendly travel

  • Travel to nearby destinations.
  • Make the trip by bus or train.
  • Explore your travel destination by bike or on foot.
  • Visit places with good public transportation systems or car-sharing offers.
  • Choose accommodation with energy-saving measures, eco-labels, etc.

Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency

The UK's Green Tourism Label is one of the signatories of the Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency initiative, which was initiated in 2020, led by responsible tour operators including Much Better Adventures. Signatories sign up to a commitment to deliver a climate action plan within 12 months, and then to report annually on targets.

This created the framework for the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, launched at the COP26 climate conference in November 2021. Signatories include big names such as Deutsche Bahn and Skyscanner, and any who fail to submit an action plan within a year will be removed. We await the results. Let’s hope the direction of travel is a good one.

Carbon footprint of travel and accommodation

The graphic below highlights the carbon impact of flying compared with the accommodation associated with travelling.

Average emissions of a return flight London to Marseille (south of France) is 762 kg carbon. The average carbon footprint per guest per night is 14.99 kg carbon. This flight emits 25 times more greenhouse emissions than an average 2-night stay. With lower-carbon accommodation, the difference is even more extreme.

Infographic with picture of plane and return flight from London to Marseille with 762kg of carbon. Two nights accommodation produces 30kg carbon.
Average carbon footprint per guest night 14.99 kg, average emission return flight London to Marseille (south of France) 762 kg. This flight emits 25x more greenhouse emissions than an average 2-night stay. With lower-carbon accommodation, the difference is even more extreme. Figures taken from and Design and copyright: Moonloft.

Tourism and sustainable holidays

This guide is focused on websites for booking your own accommodation and transport, which could be for a holiday or not, but it seems only right to devote some space to the wider phenomenon of tourism. As an almost $9 trillion economy worldwide in 2018, it is obviously an important vehicle in the distribution of wealth, and many many jobs are attached to it.

However, as travel journalist Helen Coffey discusses in Zero Altitude, there is a huge issue with ‘economic leakage’. Instead of the money spent by tourists flowing into local economies, much of it can be captured by multinational companies either running hotels and resorts or providing imported products to meet tourists’ demands.

Zero Altitude is primarily a book about learning to travel without flying, but Helen also discovers lots of other different approaches to travel along the way. For example, the company Much Better Adventures formed to address this problem of wealth extraction. Instead of as little as 5% of tourist spend staying in the destination’s local economy, they make sure, for their customers, it’s 80%.

Other companies like Intrepid, commit to staffing their teams with local people and using local suppliers. They are also partnering with the MEET programme which works with communities affected by over-tourism, to train local guides to deliver eco-tourism.

Helen also mentions, a list of 100 places working to balance local needs with tourism so everyone benefits. A particularly inspiring example is New Zealand, now looking at the ‘four capitals’ – redesigning tourism so it will contribute positively in a social, cultural and environmental way as well as financially. They are also now focusing on the domestic market, so that tourism doesn’t involve such high emissions per visitor.

“The response”, says Helen, “has blown me away. The first time I asked for tips and trip ideas on social media, I was inundated with wonderful replies - I was immediately struck by the passion and enthusiasm people had when sharing their favourite journeys by train and boat, in stark contrast to the lacklustre way passengers usually talk about air travel. It quickly brought home the fact that flying less comes with benefits far beyond the climate impact; slow travel adds a whole other dimension of excitement and adventure”.

Airbnb and holiday homes

In 2021, we co-published a report with Manchester University on how Airbnb trains selected landlords to lobby for favourable regulations.

The report summary states: “Since 2008, numbers of short-term lettings, many of which might otherwise house permanent residents, have expanded dramatically. The associated problems, around housing shortages, tourism, taxation and urban conviviality, have led to social movement opposition and local attempts to regulate.”

In October 2018, Airbnb’s Dublin offices were occupied in protest at its impact on the housing crisis. Take Back the City who organised the protest stated that there were three times more properties available on Airbnb in Dublin than were being advertised for long-term rent.

Cartoon of a pretend Airbnb listing for a whole town, available to hire for £150,000 a night
Cartoon by Mike Bryson

This is just one chapter of an international story. Barcelona has been fairly prominent in its response, including local protests against the impacts of over-tourism. These impacts include crowding, noise, rising rents and house prices, and the disappearance of corner stores as tourist shops spring up instead. We also found stories of fake listings in London, homelessness in Cornwall, a crackdown in Biarritz, and much more. 22 cities in Europe are calling for new laws for a ‘digital single market’ to tackle the growth of short-term rentals facilitated by online platforms, which include Expedia and

While Airbnb at first seemed to be an exciting new way to make a bit of extra money from a spare room, and for some hosts it still is this, less than 10% of listings are actually of this type.

Most are from people who own more than one property, and may even be managed by a specialised company. You can go some way towards seeking out the ‘genuine’ hosts by taking a closer look at their profile to see if they have other listings; by checking reviews to work out if they are living in the home; or even by asking directly.

We have included two alternatives to Airbnb on our table. Homestay states on its website in the FAQs for potential hosts: “A host lives in every homestay listed on We don't list entire homes.” Fairbnb is a collectively owned project that splits its 15% commission fees 50/50 with local community projects.

A previously free alternative which is seen to have betrayed its roots is Couchsurfing. While sleeping on a sofa wouldn’t work for everyone, it has been described as “the internet’s biggest hospitality exchange and one of the largest gift-economy experiments ever”. It launched in 2004, several years prior to Airbnb, and for the first five years was run by volunteers. The ethos was that it would always be free, but in 2011 it became a for-profit corporation, raised venture capital, ditched the volunteers and introduced ads and fees. 

Below we list some other non-profit and free alternatives that are available as more ethical options for travel and tourism.

Sustainable travel and holiday options

Below we list some non-profit and free home-sharing alternatives to Airbnb, as well as more sustainable accommodation options which includes brands in the score table.

Alternatives to Airbnb

BeWelcome is run by a non-profit organisation registered in France and calls itself an international hospitality exchange network. Members may offer a place to stay, or provide dinner, a guided tour, local information, or just meet up for a coffee or a beer. It also has online groups based on locations or interests. is run by a non-profit foundation registered in UK and lists almost 50 ‘circles’, including Hitchhikers, Vegans & Vegetarians, Musicians and Climbers, so you can find likeminded members to meet while travelling, host each other and make friends. It is “being built by a small team of activists who felt that the world of sharing is being taken over by corporations trying to monetize people's willingness to help each other.”

Warmshowers is run by a non-profit in Colorado, USA, and is a network for reciprocal hospitality specifically for touring cyclists, complete with podcast. It now has a joining fee of $30 but is mostly supported by donations from users.

Alternative accommodation options on the score table

Canopy & Stars is a B Corporation, which includes assessment of its environmental standards, and takes into account that it is half employee-owned and treats its workers well. It has also been part of launching, a collection of B Corporation-certified travel companies. started in 2016 in Italy and Amsterdam, ‘to create a just alternative to existing home-sharing platforms’. It is democratically governed and is looking for more Ambassadors if you are interested in bringing Fairbnb to your region. It is only just beginning in the UK and Ireland, with upcoming destinations in London and Galway.

Independent Hostels is the UK’s network of independently owned bunkhouses and hostels. The website includes maps of regions all over the UK, details of walking groups and festivals, as well as maps of accommodation along long-distance trails from the Coast-to-Coast walk to Offa’s Dyke.

YHA (England and Wales), originally the Youth Hostel Association, calls itself a 90-year-old movement, whose charitable object is “To help all, especially young people of limited means, to a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside, and appreciation of the cultural values of towns and cities”. However, it is open to all ages without needing membership, and has over 150 hostels as well as lots of cabin and camping options. Scotland (Hostelling Scotland) and Northern Ireland have separate associations.

Full online access to our unique shopping guides, ethical rankings and company profiles. The essential ethical print magazine.

Sustainable accommodation and eco-labels

There are now a plethora of eco-labels for travel and holiday destinations. Remember though, if you separate the destination (e.g. certified eco-yurt) from the mode of travel to get there (e.g. private helicopter), you’re not getting a fair assessment of the trip as a whole.

Some labels do look at the travel to get there but then use carbon offsetting (which we have criticised in our review of corporate net zero schemes) to give higher scores. Having said that, paying attention to the impacts of the destination does have some value.

Richard Hammond of the Green Traveller website lists some of the most well-established schemes you’re likely to come across.

UK eco-labels

  • BREEAM – for buildings
  • David Bellamy Blooming Marvellous Pledge for Nature – UK holiday parks
  • Greener Camping Club – campsites in Wales and England
  • Green Tourism, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

Eco-labels in Europe and international schemes

The lists include: Alpine Pearls, Bio Hotels, Blue Swallow EU Ecolabel, and Tourcert.

There are also country- or region-specific labels such as Ecogîte, and Gîtes Panda in France, Fattorie del Panda, and Legambiente Turismo in Italy, and Sustainable Travel Ireland (previously Ecotourism Ireland).

Worldwide schemes include B Corp, Earth Check, Green Globe, Green Key, Travelife, and Blue Flag (for beaches and boat operators).

There is a Dutch social enterprise called bookdifferent that uses the same database of hotels as, but gives all accommodations a ‘stay green check’. If a place is certified by a reputable eco-label, it will receive one to four green hearts, representing how well that certification covers four different ‘pillars’. These are: effective sustainable management, fair and equal treatment for employees and destinations, respect for local traditions, and environmental initiatives to minimise impact.

Bookdifferent only recognises eco-labels that meet the following criteria:

  1. Publicly available standard
  2. Third party audit
  3. Onsite assessment

It lists 30 eco-labels, including the UK’s Green Tourism label and GSTC. For small-scale accommodations that might not be certified, you can look for the green footprint symbol instead, although avoiding flying will always save more carbon!

Open suitcase packed with clothes, camera and suncream

How do travel booking companies rate on key ethical issues?

Our rating system looks at a number of issues when reviewing how ethical a company is. Here we highlight three issues and note how well the brands scored.

Travel booking companies and tax avoidance

Unfortunately, global online travel agencies have ideal structures to avoid tax. One approach can involve routing the sales of bookings made around the world through a chosen part of their family tree that is located in a low-tax jurisdiction. This way they can avoid paying tax to the countries where the actual accommodation is based.

This can represent a huge loss to countries which previously would have collected contributions from each individual hotel or campsite. And a huge gain for the online agencies, their shareholders and high-paid directors.

With the exception of Love Holidays, all other large companies on our table scored our worst rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies, due to having operations based in tax havens. For Airbnb,, Expedia and TripAdvisor, we also found recent criticisms in the press, relating to tax avoidance in the UK, US, Italy, and Australia.

Excessive pay and travel booking companies

Another way to pay less tax, as well as to take advantage of the tax you’ve already avoided paying, is to award huge sums to your executives. Other than Lastminute, all of the large companies on our table were marked down for paying salaries of over £250k.

Airbnb, Booking Holdings, Expedia, TripAdvisor and (Skyscanner) lost whole marks for remuneration over £1million.

Airbnb was the worst, with an executive remuneration package for its CEO of $120 million, albeit $119 million being stock awards. This may be the highest we’ve ever seen.

Travel booking companies and climate change

Only three companies on our table, Independent Hostels, Fairbnb and Canopy & Stars, all small companies offering environmental alternatives, scored our best rating for carbon management. All were tackling their own operational impacts and working with their accommodation providers to reduce their emissions too.

All the others scored worst.

In an industry that is based on people wanting to see and enjoy the world, its surprising that some had no information at all on their websites about reducing their climate impacts. These were Awaze, Homestay, Love Holidays, and TripAdvisor.

Airbnb, Expedia, Lastminute, Skyscanner and TUI did acknowledge that they had climate impacts but were not yet annually reporting on their emissions. YHA reported its emissions but was not forthcoming about how it would be reducing its own impacts, although it had been in the past.

Booking Holdings was the only large company on the table that was publishing its carbon emissions as we would expect, but still scored worst as it did not show plausible ways it had cut them in the past. It claimed to have reduced them, but this was based on the purchase of “unbundled energy attribute certificates” (EACs), which are an offset certificate scheme like REGOs (which you can read more about in our Energy Suppliers guide EC189), rather than actually reducing its own energy use.

Alternatives for more sustainable holidays, tourism and travel

While researching this guide we found a number of companies offering interesting package holidays in the UK or Europe which, although we haven’t formally rated on the score table, we’d like to mention.

There are also a range of options for working holidays, which provide accommodation and usually also food in exchange for perhaps a few hours work a day. Click on each link provided for more detail on what they offer.

Alternative package holidays

Private packages

Rewilding Europe: “We offer unique experiences that directly support wild nature and wildlife comeback in some of Europe’s most special places.”

Byway Travel: “Joyful journeys by train and boat. 100% flight free.”

Inn Travel: “each carefully crafted Inntravel Slow holiday or short break ... has been created in accordance with the principles of Sustainable Tourism.”

Group packages “supporting a global community of independent, locally owned businesses, and helping protect the planet's most inspiring natural environments, just by being there ” “sociable, fun and relaxed weekends away, adventure holidays and day experiences"

Either private or group packages “Action-packed days outdoors glide into relaxed evenings, with like-minded people” (or Ireland or England) “Our vision for 21st century tourism is one in which the industry can play a major role in helping people to enjoy, experience and connect with the amazing natural environments in which we live.

Working holidays

For volunteer / working holidays, we have focused mainly on UK projects, or platforms for hosts and volunteers to find each other, and working holidays which provide accommodation and usually also food in exchange for perhaps a few hours work a day e.g WWOOF. “HelpX enables working holiday makers to stay with local people around the world and gain practical experience.” “Work, travel and live with the locals” “Be part of something incredible... Our vision is of a revitalised wild forest in the Highlands of Scotland”. “Stay in wonderful places by house sitting and caring for cute pets.” “Volunteers Base (VB) is a moneyless help exchange network.” “volunteer working holidays to help waterway restoration". “A Workawayer is: a traveller who wants to give back to the communities and places they visit." “Safely travel as a volunteer, have lifechanging experiences, and make a positive impact on the world." “Sustainable living on local organic farms & family homes worldwide!”

Companies behind the brand

TUI scored lowest on our ranking system partly because it is so big. It is currently a FTSE 100 company, which are those companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with the highest value of publicly traded shares. Therefore it appears in reports such as the Business & Human Rights FTSE 100 & the UK Modern Slavery Act report, published annually for three years after the Act was introduced in 2015. By 2018 TUI was still only scoring 39% in this assessment and failing to show the leadership necessary to help lift standards at an industry level. The highest scoring company achieved 78%.

It also lost marks due to continuing to sell trips to animal parks where orcas are kept in captivity, despite years of campaigns against this. Other companies including, Expedia, TripAdvisor and Airbnb have stopped supporting SeaWorld.

In March 2022, campaigners announced victory after a year of organising to stop TUI’s involvement in deportation flights from the UK. It is still marked down for this in our database, as it has failed to make a public statement to explain why it has stopped but, by February 2022, it had not run a deportation flight for six months. The StopTUI campaign began online in April 2021, which lead to 13 local groups forming around the UK, who held demonstrations outside TUI shops and put on marches, building towards a national day of action on 28 August 2021. The campaign circulated testimonials online by people harmed by the hostile environment and read them out at protests across the UK.

Want more information?

See detailed company information, ethical ratings and issues for all companies mentioned in this guide, by clicking on a brand name in the Score table.  

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