Supporting Ukraine together. Check our homepage for further details.

Responsible Travel — Carbon Offsetting of all Tours and Trips

  • 546 views

Global warming resulting from excessive greenhouse gas emissions is one of the most urgent and biggest threats to a healthy planet in the years to come. Being a travel company who sends thousands of travellers on tours across the globe, we know how precious and beautiful our planet is and therefore also how important it is that we help combat climate change. All tours booked on Bookmundi are therefore being 100% carbon offset. We are also offsetting all carbon emissions resulting from bookmundi.com, servers and users browsing the website. This is a sizeable investment but one that we happily make to protect and sustain the environment that we travel and live in.

The carbon problem in a tourism context

In principle, it is important that all sectors seek to reduce and/or offset their carbon footprint to avoid contributing to climate change. However, especially the most carbon emission intensive industries have a responsibility to act swiftly and responsibly to address the issue. It is estimated that tourism accounts for 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide making tourism a significant contributor to climate change.

Bookmundi works with more than 1,500 tour operators which enables us to offset CO2 emissions on behalf of a large number of tours and trips worldwide. By offsetting the carbon footprint caused by all tours booked via Bookmundi this could potentially result in massive investments in carbon offsetting projects, ultimately helping to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsetting means offsetting greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming and climate change by investing in carbon offsetting projects that decrease greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, either directly or indirectly. Such carbon offsetting projects can amongst others be related with:

  • Projects that help reduce deforestation by preservation and protection of rainforest, forest and eco-systems.
  • Projects that improve bio- and eco-systems amongst others by planting more trees or restoring nature so that it absorbs more greenhouse gases.
  • Projects that invest in renewable energy sources coming from e.g. solar and wind power to reduce the need for burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil which increase greenhouse gases such as CO2.
  • Projects that help ensure that the world’s industries, factories and the society as a whole emits fewer greenhouse gases.

At Bookmundi, we are carbon offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from every tour booked.

How does carbon offsetting help combat climate change?

Because global warming is caused by an increased level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we need to combat climate change by reducing the level of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. In a Bookmundi context this is done by firstly calculating the greenhouse gases caused per traveller per tour and thereafter investing in carbon offsetting projects that reduce greenhouse gases to an equivalent level. In this way we can ensure that all the greenhouse gases resulting from the tours and trips travellers book via Bookmundi, are being offset and CO2 neutralized.

Similarly, all of Bookmundi’s indirect emissions resulting from our offices, servers, laptops etc. are also being offset.

Which carbon offsetting projects is Bookmundi investing in?

From wind power projects in India to solar power in Senegal and rainforests in South America, we invest in projects around the world to offset all tour emissions. We are currently investing in the following four carbon offsetting projects:

1. Planting 8 million trees in Colombia

Planting trees to offset carbon emissions
8,000,000 trees will be planted in the Orinoco Basin, in Colombia’s Vichada region.

One of the projects we support is located in the Orinoco Basin, in Colombia’s Vichada region. We are helping plant 8,000,000 trees in a land degraded by decades of cattle farming. The objective is to create near-natural forests with the main goal of producing high-quality hardwoods as well as sequestering carbon. Forest reforestation also facilitates sustainable timber production, thereby protecting indigenous rainforests from further deforestation, which in turn promotes biodiversity and restores the ecosystem of the region. The project therefore also plants trees that are suitable for timber ensuring that consumption patterns are sustainable and no longer damaging to natural ecosystems. The fragile and degraded areas are stabilized and restored in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner while creating jobs for locals in the region. The restored forest will provide shelter for indigenous and migratory birds and animals, and in particular the endangered ones. It will also create a natural habitat for native plants and insects to thrive in and enrich the soil of the region.

2. Building solar power in Turkey

Solar Panels for Carbon Offsetting
Karasu Solar will contribute 19,540 MWh of electricity to Turkey’s power grid every year, thereby promoting sustainable energy and providing jobs to the locals.

More than 11,000 km to the east of Colombia, we are contributing to a solar power project in Turkey — a country that runs on CO2-intensive fossil fuel — where 50% of electrical energy is produced by gas- and coal-fired plants. Once Karasu Solar, the photovoltaic plant we are supporting, comes into operation, it will produce 19,540 MWh of electricity every year and help reduce the carbon footprint of the country by 11,377 tCO2e per annum. In addition to making Turkey less dependent on polluting fossil fuels, this plant will also create jobs for the locals, thereby contributing to the economic growth in the region.

3. Building wind mills in India

Building windmills in India to offset carbon footprint
We invest in wind farms across various states in India that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by displacing the electricity generated by fossil fuels.

Traveling around 9,800 km further east from Senegal, we reach India. Around 70% of India’s electricity is generated by fossil fuels, but wind is increasingly playing an important role in shifting the country towards a low-carbon economy. We invest in a project that installs wind farms across various states, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions by displacing the electricity that would have otherwise been generated using fossil fuels. The project furthermore enhances the lives of communities by providing employment and capacity building opportunities while increasing domestic electricity more sustainably.

4. Reducing deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon

reducing deforestation in Peruvian Amazon
Investing in the Vilcabamba-Amboró Conservation Corridor in the Peruvian Amazon means protecting 100,000 hectares of the rainforest, monitoring 35 endangered species found there, and saving its tribal communities.

Traveling back to South America, we find ourselves in Madre de Dios, a global biodiversity hotspot located in southeastern Peru, within the Vilcabamba-Amboró Conservation corridor. The conservation area is threatened by encroaching human settlements that have resulted from the Interoceanic Highway. Issues like deforestation, environmental degradation and habitat fragmentation are already visible in areas where the highway has been in operation for sometime. Bookmundi is investing in a project that dramatically reduces deforestation and the threat posed by communities moving into the area. The project will save precious habitats relied upon by endangered species and tribal communities, and protect 100,000 hectares of the Peruvian Amazon while monitoring 35 endangered species found there. It will also curb the impact of human immigration by incorporating rainforest-monitoring and sustainable forest management practices. So far, more than 470 jobs have been created to protect the area and develop sustainable forest management practices.

How exactly do Bookmundi’s trips become carbon offset?

From a high level, Bookmundi calculates the carbon emission caused per traveller per trip and invests in carbon reduction projects to offset the carbon emission caused. Our carbon offsetting approach and methodology has been verified by an international and professional climate consultancy, ensuring that we always as a minimum offset all CO2 equivalent emissions on every tour. When we calculate the CO2 emissions per trip, we calculate from the starting location of the trip to its ending location. Any international fligths to and from a tour's start and end point are not being carbon offset. 

On a more granular level, greenhouse gas emissions resulting from package tours and trips are primarily coming from these four sources:

  • Transportation: Transport is generally the most carbon intensive factor when you book a tour. Emissions are derived from e.g. domestic flights, bus transportation, private vehicles etc.
  • Accommodation: Most accommodations emit carbon emissions on an ongoing basis via the use of electricity, heating and water supply.
  • Food and drinks: Every food type eaten has a carbon footprint attached to it resulting from its production, to processing, to storage and transportation, to distribution, purchase and finally preparation.
  • Activities on tour: Daily activities on a trip such as whale watching, hot air balloon rides, ATV trips, desert safaris or sailing or scuba diving involves carbon emissions as well.

Bookmundi calculates the carbon footprint for each of its tours by looking into the above four factors for each tour. We seek to adjust for any regional and national factors that might come into play when estimating the carbon footprint. As an example, when we look at accommodation, we consider each type of accommodation and the resulting emission factor and we also drill down to a national level to determine the right carbon emission factor resulting from every accommodation type.

When a traveller books a tour on Bookmundi resulting in the equivalent of e.g. 500 kg CO2 emissions we subsequently invest in carbon offsetting projects that either directly or indirectly offsets emissions corresponding to at least 500 kg CO2. In this way we neutralize any carbon footprint resulting from tours booked on Bookmundi.

What carbon offset trips mean for Bookmundi travelers?

Bookmundi still provides amazing tours and trips all around the world, from qualified and reputable tour providers, just now in a sustainable and carbon-offset manner. As a traveler, you do not have to worry about additional fees, as the carbon offsettings are already imbedded into the cost of each trip and we still offer a best price guarantee for all the tours we sell.

Frequently asked questions on carbon offsetting in a tourism context

Question 1: What if the tour has already been CO2 offset via other means?

The vast majority of the tours that we offer were not previously carbon offset. However, if a tour is already carbon offset, Bookmundi does not offset the tour again.

Question 2: Is Bookmundi able to accurately calculate the carbon emissions per traveller per tour?

Yes, we are able to come up with a good estimation of a tour’s carbon emissions as we take into account the tour’s local CO2 footprint conditions; the type of accommodation, type of transport, the geographical differences etc. It will not be 100% accurate, but we always make sure to add in a buffer so that we on average always offset more carbon compared to what was emitted on the tour.

Question 3: Are you sure that the carbon offsetting projects you invest in will help combat climate change?

We have hired an environmental consulting house to advise in general on sustainable principles and as part hereof, they also help select the best carbon offset projects available. Aside from getting their input on each carbon offsetting project that we invest in, we also only invest in carbon offsetting projects that have obtained the Gold Standard and/or are VSC certified.

Question 4: Will offsetting all CO2 emissions reduce climate change?

Yes, offsetting CO2 emissions will definitely help reduce climate change as we offset any CO2 equivalent emissions caused by the trips. We acknowledge that on its own carbon offsetting is not a silver bullet, but it is part of the solution to combat climate change. To fully combat climate change we should not only fully carbon offset ongoing and future greenhouse gases, but also make up for all the past emissions emitted since the beginning of the industrial revolution where climate change issues started.

Question 5: In addition to CO2, are you also offsetting other greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide etc?

Yes, when calculating emissions we look across all emissions that contribute to climate change. Such emissions are then converted into CO2 equivalent units and thereafter offset. As an example 1 kg methane corresponds to approx. 25 kg of CO2 and 1 kg NO2 corresponds to approx. 298 kg CO2.

Question 6: Is it not best for the climate if everybody stops travelling so why not stop touring the world from tomorrow?

We believe in a prosperous world and future where the world’s population can still travel and tour the world in an environmentally-friendly manner, causing zero net greenhouse gas emissions. It will not take place today, but we are all responsible for taking actions today allowing us to reap an ever greener tomorrow, eventually taking us to net-zero emissions globally. By Bookmundi now offsetting CO2 emissions for all our tours as well as all indirect emissions resulting from our servers, laptops and users of Bookmundi etc., we are now taking the first step to becoming a fully carbon neutral company.

Create your custom-made trip

Chat with a local travel specialist who can help organize your trip.

Our travel experts are recommended by
  • BBC
  • Independent
  • Herald Sun
0 Comments We welcome your questions or comments to this article. Our travel experts will respond within 48 hours.
  1. Add Comment
Welcome!

Sign-in to unlock instant trip discounts. Create wish lists and save up to USD 1,500.

Facebook
G
More login options here.