18th February 2020
As a travel company we have a responsibility to the countries, communities and environments we visit. With this responsibility comes the opportunity to make a genuine difference.
In this time of climate crisis, and pressure on all sectors of the travel industry to look at its practices and help reduce carbon emissions, it has never been more important for us here at Wild Frontiers to re-assess our own responsible travel policies, measure our own footprint and step up our commitment to reduce carbon emissions.
Wild Frontiers has automatically off-set staff and clients’ international flights, when booked through us, for 15 years. We were among the first UK-based tour operators to implement the initiative in 2005, contributing to renewable energy projects.
In 2020 we are taking this even further and focusing on reducing our carbon footprint, both operationally in our UK and US offices, and on the ground in destination. To help us do this, we are working with specialist consultants at EcoAct to put together a carbon reduction management plan with the aim of becoming carbon neutral in 2021.
Through measuring, reducing and off-setting carbon emissions, in the air and on the ground, we realise we have much to do to achieve this.
STAGE 1 - Calculate the operational carbon footprint of both our UK and US offices
Identify areas of carbon footprint reduction based on the following criteria:
Action: Set operational carbon emission reduction targets and work with staff across all departments to put a reduction plan in place to achieve the set goals
STAGE 2 - Calculate the ground emissions of five of our most popular group tours
Identify areas for reducing on tour carbon emissions, including:
Action: Work with our operations team, local ground handlers and accommodation providers to develop a structure to implement changes
STAGE 3 - Use Stage 3 templates to calculate the carbon emissions of further group tours
STAGE 4 - Use best practice from Stages 2 and 3 to implement carbon reduction on tailormade holiday itineraries
This will be an on-going process, which we know will have its share of challenges, achievements and failures along the way. We plan to document the various phases of the process openly and honestly in a series of blogs, which we hope will not only keep our clients up to date with our activity to reduce carbon emissions, but will help others make changes and put their own actions in place.
While working on our carbon reduction management plan, which looks at modes of transport, accommodation, food and waste, we will be contributing to carbon reduction projects in the destinations we visit. This contribution will off-set approx. 1.5 tonnes of carbon per passenger for ‘on the ground carbon emissions’.
‘To put that into perspective, 1.5 tonnes of carbon emissions is the equivalent from London to Dublin 19.5 times’ - EcoAct
We will also continue with our flight off-setting programme, as well as work with partners and clients to help them make more informed choices on reducing their own footprint.
The type of EcoAct carbon off-setting projects Wild Frontiers will be supporting through the programme include:
This Gold Standard certified project enables families across Vietnam to use animal and human waste to generate clean, sustainable energy. This saves precious income for poor families, reduces emissions, improves health and ultimately turns a problem of waste into a solution. The programme trains local workers to build and maintain biogas digesters, which provides rural communities with clean and affordable energy using waste that would otherwise have remained untreated.
A Gold Standard cookstove project was developed in Sudan to improve household health by replacing traditional cooking methods – burning wood and charcoal inside the home – with low smoke LPG stoves. 90% of households in Sudan use biomass for their stoves and for every 10 trees cut down, only 1.5 are regrown. In addition to this, burning wood releases large amounts of particulates, carbon monoxide and other pollutants. So the project helps to reduce both deforestation and the risks to human health caused by the burning of biomass.
Close to the ancient city of Machu Picchu, in the VilcabambaAmboro conservation corridor, the construction of an inter-oceanic road uniting Brazil with Peru jeopardises the tropical rainforest and one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. This verified carbon standard project dramatically reduces deforestation and the threat of moving communities and illegal logging by increasing surveillance in the area and establishing sustainable forest management practices. This saves precious habitat relied upon by endangered species and tribal communities.