Here are two case studies from the tourism sector - both combining organisational and sector-wide change. 

First Choice and the Travel Foundation

First Choice (part of TUI Travel plc) has been exploring sustainable tourism for longer than most mainstream holiday companies.  Their in-house CSR team wanted to build the capacity of team leaders from across the organisation, so they could understand how their work impacts on people and on places.  They also wanted to build a shared vision of how they could reduce their environmental impact, while improving their social impact.

Working closely with First Choice, and the specialist chairty the Travel Foundation, I developed a series of linked training workshops where people could learn and be enthused, as well as collaboratively agree on what they could do differently in their own work.  The training plan and accompanying materials were then made more generic so they could be used by any other company in the tourism sector.  You can find out more about this here.


ABTA is a membership organisation for UK-based travel and tour operators. As well as playing a role in developing sector-wide responses to environmental and social pressures, ABTA is an SME with its own sustainability impacts.  Those impacts are the ones you'd typically expect for an office-based organisation: electricity and fuel-use, paper and other consumables, travel and so on.

To play a convincing leadership role, ABTA needed to consider its own direct impacts. It was also important that those people in the organisation whose work influences the sustainability of members should have a chance to think about this and identify their own action plans.

I designed and ran a series of half-day workshops where staff from all parts of the organisation considered their direct impacts and what they could do to improve them.  They also learnt about their industry's impacts - from airline emissions to working conditions - and planned together how to promote more sustainable practices.

A strategic approach

Thinking about training and learning - capacity building - should always begin with the real-world outcomes: what do you want to achieve, as an organisation, that you're not achieving at the moment?  In order to achieve that, what do people need to do differently, or more?  In order to do those different things, or more of the good things, what skills and knowledge do which people need?  (The other barriers to the changed behaviour may not be to do with skills or knowledge - they might be authority, or permission, or resources for example.)  And then, in order to improve the right people's skills and knowledge, what's the best learning intervention.  It may be that you don't yet know what it is that people need to do differently, in which case some piloting, action learning, consultation or other "commissioning process" may be needed.


Learning together about sustainable development.