A rising sea level
This project examines the relationship between climate change mitigation and business innovation.

Business Innovation and Climate Change Mitigation


Southwest Tourism

Project team

Prof. Tim Coles
Dr. Claire Dinan
Ms. Anne-Kathrin Zchiegner

About the project

Global environmental change is perceived to present the tourism sector with several opportunities as well as challenges. This year-long research programme in conjunction with Southwest Tourism examines the nature and implications of the relationship between climate change mitigation and business innovation. 

Mitigation requires innovation:  that is, the introduction and management of change to products, processes, producers, premises and organizations. Innovation requires investment and new business plans. ‘Win-win’ scenarios exist:  low(er) carbon and cleaner technologies can deliver positive environmental change and significant cost savings at a time when utility and fuel bills have increased at above-inflation rates. 

However, businesses innovate at different rates for a range of reasons including their size, access to capital and ideas, culture, and location. Especially innovative businesses gain so-called ‘first mover advantage’ in the market place, while the commercial gains to ‘early adopters’ and especially ‘the late majority’ are far more limited. 

This work promotes greater climate change mitigation by facilitating greater innovation among businesses in the tourism sector. It sets out to develop and disseminate dedicated resources, guidance and advice to enable businesses to enhance their business models at a time of recession while also contributing to a reduction in their environmental load. 

The work focuses on accommodation businesses and attractions. Measurement and monitoring are central concerns. Although a number of innovators have introduced mitigation measures, it would appear that they do not take the next step, gauging and appraising the outcomes.


Innovation, Knowledge Creation and Knowledge Transfer
Service Processes and Operations
Travel, Transport and Sustainability

Related business events

In May this year the University of Exeter in conjunction with South West Tourism and RegenSW ran three half day workshops around the South West of England.

At these workshops over 100 tourism businesses from across the region were given the opportunity to hear the headline results of the University’s research on Climate Change Mitigation and Business Innovation. A variety of short presentations from RegenSW, Global Action Plan and the National Trust complemented this, providing participants with practical advice on reducing energy and water bills as well as generating your own energy. Participants commented that ‘It is reassuring to know that there is help out there for businesses and homes to switch to greener ways of generating energy.’

Businesses were eager to hear about cutting cost, improving quality, reducing environmental impact and renewable technology. Receiving credible information as well as first hand experience was very welcomed by all businesses as ‘people are not aware enough of the implications of climate change’ as one participant stated.

The ‘infectious enthusiasm of all the presenters’ combined with a mix of renewable energy suppliers and business “champions” supplied the participants with piles of information, new ideas and contacts. Leaving the workshop many participants commented that, ‘We learnt a lot, focused on what we were already doing and what we wanted to do in the future.’



Switch on to a greener outlook

Switch on to renewable energy


Clear about carbon

Global Action Plan - Survive and thrive in the low carbon economy

Mill Brook Cottages - Renewable energy production and monitoring

RegenSW - The benefits of renewables and how to do it

Rosemundy Cottages - Switching on to savings

Project summary presentation