Launch of the Oxford SDG Impact Lab
easyJet holidays and University of Oxford announce partnership to establish Sustainable Development Goals Lab
17 November 2021 – UK tour operator, easyJet holidays and the University of Oxford announced today they are partnering to establish the Oxford SDG Impact Lab. The two will work together to identify challenges and opportunities for sustainable tourism. This will help easyJet holidays pursue its aim to be an industry leader in sustainable tourism that has a positive impact on the environment and local communities.
The holidays company recently launched its sustainability strategy, aligned with the sustainable development goals (SDG) of the United Nations. It has now become the industry partner at the Oxford SDG Impact Lab, where selected students will be mentored and trained to deliver academically rigorous, evidence-based reports whose aim is to improve key areas of social and environmental development in a number of destinations where easyJet holidays operates.
The Oxford SDG Impact Lab will be made up of 20 graduate students, mainly from the social sciences and humanities, and will get underway in January 2022. Students will identify challenges and opportunities to develop sustainable tourism in the focus destinations, supported and mentored by Oxford University staff, as well as a dedicated team of experts from easyJet holidays.
The students will employ a range of research methods to develop a proposal for their destination that advances at least one of the SDGs. The programme will include a four week research trip to destinations across Europe in the summer of 2022, to help develop proposals. Throughout the programme, easyJet holidays will support students, providing industry and business knowledge to help shape their proposals.
The programme will culminate in September 2022, when the students will deliver their recommendation reports. easyJet holidays will then decide which projects it will champion, to develop and support sustainable practises in its focus holiday destinations. At the end of the programme, easyJet holidays may ask one of the students to join the organisation to pilot one or more of the proposed projects.
Matt Callaghan, easyJet holidays Director of Customer & Operations, said:
“We only launched easyJet holidays in 2019 but we were always clear that when it comes to sustainability we want to lead the industry and we want to integrate sustainability into every aspect of our business, because, now more than ever, purpose beyond profit is essential.
“Which is why we’re so pleased to be working with the University of Oxford, combining our deep industry expertise with some of the brightest minds in the country, to help us identify where we can have a real impact and make meaningful change on the people and places that make our destinations so special.
“This is the first partnership of its kind and we’re really excited for the programme to get underway. We’ll be part of it at each and every step to provide our support and expertise,
and we look forward to seeing the recommendations from the SDG Impact Lab students on what we can do to deliver on our commitment to providing holidays that don’t cost the earth.”
Professor Alexander Betts, who is Co-Founder of the SDG Impact Lab, and responsible for graduate training across the social sciences at the University of Oxford said:
“We are delighted to be able to partner with easyJet holidays to launch the new SDG Impact Lab. It will offer our brilliant graduate students a unique opportunity to acquire practical skills and apply their talents to advance the UN sustainable development goals. The Lab represents a leap forward in our ability to support experiential learning and enable our students to change the world for the better.
“It’s important that our students can complement their academic studies with the acquisition of transferrable skills in areas such as leadership and project management. They need to be able to work within interdisciplinary teams and collaborate with business, government, and third sector organisation. The combination of a 16-weeks skills training programme with a field-based research internship makes this a pioneering step-forwards in how we deliver graduate education.”
Earlier this year easyJet holidays launched its inaugural sustainability strategy and became the first major UK tour operator to offset the carbon emissions directly associated from its package holidays, comprising the fuel used for flights and in-destination transfers, as well as the energy used from hotel stays. The new strategy focuses on three core pillars
– create better holiday choices which is about making sustainable travel affordable and accessible to everyone; keep our holidays special which is maximising the benefits and minimising the negative impacts of travel and tourism including a commitment to support hotels it works with to achieve certification by a GSTC accredited certification body or certification to a GSTC recognised standard, and transform travel for everyone which means embedding sustainability into business decisions and behaviours and driving meaningful change in the industry.
Notes to editors:
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About easyJet holidays:
easyJet holidays offers great-value beach, city and lakes holidays to more than 100 destinations across Europe, directly through its website and through over 3000 travel agent partners. The ATOL-protected holidays company combines easyJet’s flexible flight programme, with handpicked hotels and best-in-class technology to provide hassle free, personalised holiday experiences which can be secured with a deposit of just £60 per person. The holidays operator is an ABTA member too, providing additional reassurance to customers under the UK’s most trusted travel scheme. With a range of holiday types, from adult and family to luxury and undiscovered, transfers included on beach holidays, 23kg hold luggage included on all bookings, and over 5,000 hotels, across over 500 resorts, customers can holiday the way they want.
All easyJet holidays are covered by its Protection Promise, an industry leading policy giving customers ultimate flexibility, protection and reassurance and letting them book with total confidence. The Promise offers a refund guarantee, freedom to change a booking, a reduced balance due date, a Best Price Guarantee, and deposit refunds.
About the University of Oxford:
Oxford University has been placed number one in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the sixth year running, and at the heart of this success is our ground-breaking research and innovation. Oxford is world-famous for research excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. Our work helps the lives of millions, solving real-world problems through a huge network of partnerships and collaborations. The breadth and interdisciplinary nature of our research sparks imaginative and inventive insights and solutions.
The SDG Impact Lab was co-founded in 2021 by Professor Alexander Betts and Dr Edward Brooks. Its COO is Merolyn Whitaker and its Programme Manager is Ollie Cook.