Traveloka’s Role in Achieving Net Zero Emissions in Indonesia Through ESG

Based in Indonesia, Traveloka has grown to become a unicorn with millions of users across Southeast Asia.

Net Zero Emission and Implementation by Indonesia

The term net zero emission (NZE) was first introduced at COP21 in Paris in 2015. The Paris Agreement resulting from this meeting identified various issues that participating countries needed to address, setting primary objectives to be achieved through the agreement’s implementation. The Paris Agreement, ratified by 197 countries as part of the Convention and adopted by 191 countries, aims primarily, as outlined in Article 2.1, to keep the global average temperature rise below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, and ideally limit the increase to no more than 1.5°C.

Indonesia has committed to reducing carbon emissions and has announced its intention to achieve net zero emissions by 2030 or earlier. Indonesia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) currently outlines the country’s transition toward a low-emission and climate-resilient future. However, Indonesia will also balance emission targets with its economic development goals.

As one of the countries that ratified the Paris Agreement, Indonesia is expected to develop a long-term low-emission development strategy, as stipulated in Decision 1/CP21 paragraph 35 and Article 4.19 of the Paris Agreement. Indonesia has submitted its long-term low-carbon plan to the UNFCCC, known as the Long-term Strategy for Low Carbon and Climate Resilience (LTS-LCCR). This document states that Indonesia aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2060 or earlier (Lindungi Hutan, 2023).

Traveloka as an Indonesia Unicorn

Traveloka is a leading technology company in Southeast Asia, founded in 2012, focusing on travel and lifestyle services. Originally established as a flight ticket booking platform, Traveloka now offers a wide range of services including hotel reservations, train tickets, car rentals, recreational activities, travel insurance, and financial services. Based in Indonesia, Traveloka has grown to become a unicorn with millions of users across Southeast Asia. Known for its innovation and accessibility, Traveloka is also active in sustainability initiatives and social responsibility, supporting local economic development and environmental conservation through the principles of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG).

Over the past four years, Traveloka has significantly contributed to the increase in Indonesia’s Gross Value Added (GVA), reaching approximately IDR 155 trillion between 2019 and 2022. Out of this total contribution, the tourism sector contributed nearly IDR 70 trillion, equivalent to 2.70% of Indonesia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Traveloka plays a crucial role in driving growth in the travel and tourism sector, particularly in the post-pandemic recovery efforts in Indonesia and the Southeast Asian region (PWC, 2023). How does Traveloka, as a renowned company in Southeast Asia, support the Sustainability Transition using the principles of ESG?

Traveloka and ESG

Environmental: Traveloka demonstrates a strong commitment to implementing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, particularly in environmental aspects. By adopting various initiatives and policies, Traveloka actively reduces its environmental impact from operations and enhances awareness of sustainability among their partners and users. As evidence of its commitment, in 2019 Traveloka announced a partnership with WWF-Indonesia, the oldest conservation organization in Indonesia. This collaboration represents a strategic step for the company in fulfilling its social and environmental responsibilities, showcasing Traveloka’s commitment to supporting sustainable tourism through initiatives focused on environmental, socio-cultural, and economic pillars (WWF, 2019).

Additionally, Traveloka has become the world’s first Platinum Sponsor for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) starting from 2022. This milestone signifies a historic contribution to advancing sustainability standards in the global tourism and hospitality industries. Joining GSTC has enabled Traveloka to promote a more sustainable tourism ecosystem in Southeast Asia and support sustainable tourism training for hotels and governmental institutions across the region. Traveloka has also integrated a search feature that facilitates users in finding and booking hotels certified according to GSTC sustainability standards (GSTC, 2024). Furthermore, Traveloka continues its sustainability efforts through carbon footprint measurement, waste management, emission reduction, mangrove planting in Bali and Lombok, and active participation in environmental clean-up activities as volunteers (Traveloka, n.d.). These initiatives underscore Traveloka’s corporate responsibility and adaptation towards environmental sustainability.

Social: Traveloka not only prioritizes environmental aspects but also places significant emphasis on social dimensions. As revealed in a recent study, 86% of businesses participating stated that Traveloka accelerates business growth in the Travel & Tourism, Food & Beverages, and Lifestyle sectors. More than two-thirds (67%) of businesses in lesser-known destinations reported a positive increase in visits after partnering with Traveloka. Respondents also noted significant sales growth, averaging between 50 to 75% following collaboration with Traveloka.

Beyond serving as a booking platform, Traveloka plays a crucial role in promoting local businesses and enhancing social inclusion within the travel and tourism industry. This effectively boosts visibility for local businesses, revitalizes interest in local tourism activities, and fosters appreciation for local cultural heritage (Redaksi, 2023). Another social initiative by Traveloka includes partnering with USAID to establish a Vaccine Booster Center in South Tangerang, strategically located near Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. This initiative stands as a pivotal support for Indonesia’s tourism industry amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccination has become a critical requirement for Traveloka stakeholders to ensure travel safety. Moreover, the center plays a crucial role in rekindling consumer interest in airlines, hotels, and tourist destinations by attracting vaccinated travelers (Irawan, 2022). Aside from environmental efforts, Traveloka clearly shapes a social impact for community welfare through its contributions.

Governance: Traveloka has demonstrated a serious commitment to implementing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, including in governance aspects. The company focuses on developing a strong and transparent governance structure, encompassing compliance with regulations and ethical business practices. During the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, Traveloka outlined five action pillars aimed at empowering and developing both its community and workforce. These pillars include: Human Resources related to employment, talent, and education; Innovation, digitalization, and creative economy; empowerment of women and youth; climate protection, biodiversity conservation, and circular economy; and policy framework, Governance, and investment. Particularly in the development of digital talent pillar, Traveloka collaborates with the Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemendikbud) through the Kampus Merdeka program and partners with Monash University for the Mitra 5.0 program. Additionally, in the pillar of innovation, digitalization, and creative economy, Traveloka consistently innovates to support partners and consumers by launching various products such as Traveloka Clean Partners, Buy Now Pay/Stay Later, and Traveloka Live. Under the climate protection pillar, Traveloka works with the government and partners to initiate the Pahlawan Pohon program through the planting of 50,000 mangrove seedlings, and collaborates with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to provide training to accommodation partners on sustainable tourism standards (Redaksi, 2022).

Conclusion: In conclusion, Traveloka has demonstrated a strong commitment to implementing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, reflected through various initiatives. In environmental aspects, Traveloka not only reduces its operational environmental impact but also actively promotes sustainability awareness among its partners and users. Its collaborations with WWF-Indonesia and its role as the Platinum Sponsor of GSTC are tangible evidence of its commitment to supporting sustainable tourism. Socially, Traveloka has made a significant positive impact on local business growth and social inclusion in the travel and tourism industry. Meanwhile, in governance aspects, Traveloka has built a robust and transparent corporate governance, with initiatives supporting human resource development, digital innovation, and regulatory compliance. Through these efforts, Traveloka has not only evolved into a successful unicorn in Southeast Asia but also emerged as a pioneer in addressing global challenges towards sustainability and social responsibility.

Hayuningrum Citra Maharsi
Hayuningrum Citra Maharsi
Master’s Student of International Relations majoring Digital Transformation and Competitiveness at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta.