Climate change is a huge threat to our natural environment and poses an immense risk to the places we visit. There are many ways we can take climate action to keep our planet protected for future generations; we can scrap our use of single-use plastics, up our recycling game to include items like clothes, be more conscious of the food we waste and use renewable, clean energy wherever possible. But when it comes to travelling, we have a few more factors to consider.
Tourism accounts for around 8% of global carbon emissions and, as travel becomes more affordable and accessible, this figure will continue to grow. By offsetting our carbon emissions we are taking a vital step towards tackling this unavoidable issue.
WHAT IS CARBON OFFSETTING?
Carbon offsets for travel mean compensating for the amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions we generate by investing in environmentally friendly projects. These projects reduce the existing CO2 in the atmosphere by storing and capturing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases or by preventing more emissions from occurring elsewhere. Some projects also support local communities, providing things like employment, biodiversity and reforestation. Some examples of carbon offsetting projects include reforestation through tree planting, the development of solar field facilities for renewable energy, and the supply of efficient cookstoves and clean water for developing countries.
HOW DOES BUCKINGHAM & LLOYDS OFFSET OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT?
We are constantly evaluating all aspects of everything we do at Buckingham & Lloyds to remain as environmentally friendly as possible. This includes factoring in ways we can support carbon offset schemes within our processes.
Travel is a huge part of what we do and ensuring our air travel is as eco-friendly as possible has always been a top priority. For this reason, we make sure all of our partnered brands share our ambitions for quality service as well as the future health of our planet.
Our private jet partner, SHY Aviation, poured its efforts into measuring, reducing, offsetting and validating its carbon emissions to become officially carbon neutral in 2019. SHY supports a different carbon reduction project every month, investing in programmes to maximise its positive impact on the world. In April 2021, SHY is supporting a biogas initiative in Kenya, swapping the fossil fuels used by locals with a manure mixture to generate heat from a stove and create boiling water that is safe to drink. This provides the local community with a natural, renewable energy source.
Why We Believe in Sustainable Travel
Carbon offsetting could be fundamental in our ambitions to reduce our carbon footprint on the world. But there are a few problems.
One of the major issues with carbon offsetting is its use as a justification for reckless carbon-heavy behaviour. There are no guarantees that carbon offsetting projects will benefit the planet for years to come either; trees from planting projects to tackle deforestation, for example, can be prone to deterioration and natural disasters (look at what happened in Australia last year). Solely relying on offsets to reduce our carbon footprint may be risky if we are truly committed to tackling climate change.
To effectively reduce our carbon footprint when travelling, our best option is to use carbon offsetting in collaboration with sustainable travel. Sustainable travel is an approach to tourism that encourages a mindful evaluation of the environmental, social, and economic impacts of our actions abroad – both now and in the future. Sustainability is extremely important to us and you can find out more about how we support sustainable travel here.
HOW TO OFFSET YOUR TRAVELLING CARBON EMISSIONS
Despite its potential downsides, offsetting your carbon emissions is a positive way to keep your travel carbon footprint as close to net-zero as possible. The process is very straightforward and can be completed easily online. Here are a couple of steps you can take to get started with offsetting your carbon emissions.
1. Consider sustainable travel
While you’re planning your journey, take some time to consider the most sustainable ways you can travel; mainly, think about how you can avoid taking to the skies where you can. Aviation is responsible for 2.4% of global carbon emissions and, once all other gases and water vapour trails left by the engines are considered, this figure rises to an overall man-made global warming contribution of 5%. If you can reduce your time spent in the air as much as possible, you’ll be well on track to keeping your carbon emissions as low as can be.
Based in the UK? Our London Aparthotels are perfect for a summer staycation.
2. Calculate your travelling carbon footprint
Whenever we travel, we generate tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, like methane. There are so many ways we do this and it’s often tricky to identify all the factors. Some of the ways we create these emissions include our means of transportation, the type of accommodation we stay in, the food we eat and the activities we participate in. While it’s almost impossible to calculate the precise contribution our travels have on the environment, we can get a good idea by focusing on the most significant contributor – flying.
By honing in on the journeys we plan to make in the air, we can work out what our travelling carbon footprint is likely to look like and how much carbon we will need to offset. To do this, try these carbon footprint calculators:
Carbon Footprint – with this calculator you can select a specific tab for travel.
WWF – this questionnaire gives you an idea of your overall carbon footprint.
3. Choose a carbon offset project
Once you’ve got an idea of your carbon footprint, you can start looking into some carbon offset projects to invest in. Carbon offset schemes aim to maximise carbon emission reductions through a variety of means. The financial contribution you make to these projects will depend on the amount of carbon generated by your footprint calculator; a flight from Edinburgh to London could cost anything between £1.32 to £12.95, depending on things like the airline class you will be sitting in. Here are some places you can check out that offer a range of carbon offset schemes:
Gold Standard was established by WWF in 2003 to ensure carbon offset projects conduct their operations with integrity and contribute to sustainable development. With the adoption of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, Gold Standard launched a best practice method that is used as a high-quality certification for carbon offset projects. It has a plethora of carbon offset schemes to get involved in.
Climate Neutral Group helped to set up the voluntary carbon market and pioneered carbon finance for community development projects. It also delivers some of the largest and most ambitious carbon offsetting programmes in the world, including Amazon deforestation in Brazil.
ClimateCare has clear goals to limit the global warming temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius, protecting the planet for future generations. Its mission is to help organisations reach net-zero CO2 by 2050. ClimateCare’s carbon offset projects meet all international standards and do fantastic work supporting local communities in developing countries.