Explore to offset carbon for all its trips
Explore, the UK-based adventure travel company, has committed to offset the carbon from all its clients' flights from January 2008. Explore supports the view that that air travel leaves an environmental footprint, but claims to be doing its bit to redress the balance by offsetting the CO2 emissions generated from every customer flight taken.
Ashley Toft, Explore's Managing Director, said: "We have thought long and hard about the current environmental concerns and are convinced that carbon offsetting all customers' flights is a step in the right direction. We take our responsibilities towards the environment very seriously and that is why we have included carbon offsetting in tour costs from 2008 onwards".
Native trees will be replanted in Uganda. Photo: The Face Foundation
Explore will be supporting Climate Care projects, such as exclusively providing the carbon funding for an innovative renewable energy scheme in Pune, Maharashtra in India and contributing to a forest restoration scheme, certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, in Kibale National Park, Uganda. In response to the controversy over ‘planting trees to offset’ debate Explore claims that simply 'planting a tree' is not an effective carbon offset. This is because in time this tree will either die and re-release its carbon into the atmosphere, become diseased or be destroyed by forest fire. In deforested areas, the best approach is to plant and nurture starter species, which allow the regeneration of the entire ecosystem. In Kibale Forest National Park, Climate Care is helping to fund a programme to replant native species of tree in areas previously cleared by felling. These new plantations are under the protection of the National Park. This, along with the fact that the forest will quickly develop a natural fire resistance, means that the risk of the trees dying or being felled is limited. This project is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and employs 400 people in the Kibale area.
Customers making their own flight arrangements when joining an Explore tour are also encouraged to take responsibility for their CO2 emissions by carbon offsetting through Climate Care.
Explore already audits all of its tours for their responsible tourism credentials. All aspects of tours are considered, from the use of fuel to transport options, treatment of animals and its positive impacts on the local economy.
For more information, see www.explore.co.uk/explore-formula/responsible-travel
Article by Catherine Mack, freelance travel writer, responsible tourism.