In honor of Earth Day, Natural Habitat Adventures (Nat Hab) will offset carbon emissions from tour guest air travel. The change will be retroactive, officially beginning in January 2019. Annually, this means 40 million tons of CO2 will be counteracted, boosting Nat Hab’s offsets by 300- to 400-percent and decreasing the carbon footprint of approximately 8,000 travelers.
“We wanted to cover everything, from the starting point to the ending point,” Court Whelan, Nat Hab’s Director of Sustainability tells Parentology of their tours.
So what is carbon-neutral travel? This means taking a look at your trip and calculating the amount of carbon emissions that will occur as a result, then contributing to a project that sets out to eliminate carbon emissions. Myriad websites are available to help, including Vacation Footprint (see link below).
As a tourism company, Nat Hab has led the charge since its 1985 launch in making adventure travel and ecotourism sustainable. In 2007, Nat Hab was named the world’s first 100-percent carbon-neutral travel company — a feat accomplished by offsetting field and office operations carbon emissions (17,272 metric tons of C02 so far), as well as travelers’ tours and internal trip flights.
Good enough? Not in their estimation.
A problem Nat Hab noticed — travelers weren’t purchasing carbon credits when booking tours. “We had a five-to-ten percent opt in for guests, and our goal was to double that,” Whelan says. “Plus, the problem of international flights, which account for the main share of emissions, still wasn’t being addressed.”
Establishing a company-wide budget increase to cover the rest of the carbon emissions wasn’t difficult to accomplish. “It’s the right thing to do,” Whelan says. His hope: that other travel companies will follow suit and be inspired.
Already conservation partners with the World Wildlife Fund, Nat Hab has joined forces with sustainability consultants South Pole towards its latest goal. Their targeted approach will see carbon credits invested in three conservation projects: constructing wind farms in India, distributing fuel-efficient/electricity-generating cookstoves to Rwandan homes, and developing a rainforest biodiversity corridor in Zimbabwe.
To learn more about Natural Habitat Adventures phone 800-543-8917 (US & Canada) or 303-449-3711 (International). Even better, access their website here.
For help calculating the carbon footprint of your next vacation visit: Vacation Footprint.