Global Ecotourism Conference 2007 - Oslo Forum on: Climate Change
Intrepidâ€™s Path to Carbon Neutral Travel Jane Crouch Responsible Travel Manager Intrepid Travel firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Intrepid Travel has always endeavoured to operate in a way that minimalises negative impacts and maximises positive impacts of our company operations. We became very aware last year that as a company and as individuals, we had to face the challenges presented by climate change. The science was definitely 'in', that human activity and the production of greenhouse gases were contributing to climate change. So we set out on the path to tackle the issue. This presentation looks at why we chose to act, and what our current plan is on the journey towards helping mankind having a future on this planet.
Introducing Janeâ€Ś Jane is the Responsible Travel Manager for Intrepid Travel. Intrepid Travel operates affordable small group adventures, currently in 98 countries. Jane has been with Intrepid for over 10 years, starting as a group leader in Vietnam and Borneo in 1996. She's passionate about travelling in a way that's positive and rewarding for all those involved. After leading about 65 trips and having countless memorable experiences, Jane hung up the backpack in early 2000 to take up the position of Responsible Travel Manager based in Intrepid's head office in Melbourne. The position includes coordinating the preparation of Responsible Travel guidelines for all the regions visited, training staff and generally doing whatever's possible to help ensure Intrepid is practicing what they preach as best as possible. In 2002 Jane established The Intrepid Foundation, providing travellers with a unique opportunity to provide support to grass roots community development projects operated by local and international NGOs. In addition to this role, in the past 6 years Jane has researched and run Intrepid's trips to East Timor - an opportunity to set up a model of sustainable tourism in the world's newest nation. Last year, Jane took extended long service leave to volunteer there working on tourism development with the Timor-Leste Government. Amongst Jane's previous professional pursuits was 7 years working on energy conservation programmes.
NB. 'Conversational' words, not on the Powerpoint presentation, are written in italics.
Introduction Thank-you for your attendance at this forum and thank-you to the conference organisers, TIES, for inviting me to speak. In this brief presentation I will share with you why Intrepid has chosen to take action on climate change and I will discuss the actions and initiatives taken thus far.
A little information about Intrepid Travel: • Operate affordable small group adventures trips. • Commenced in 1989 with a trip in Thailand. • Directors are the original founders: Darrell Wade and Geoff Manchester and the core values of the business are aligned with their personal values. • Currently in 98 countries, through Asia, Australasia, Pacific, Middle East, Europe, Africa & Latin America. • 471 different trips this year – from 6 to 60 days in length. • 7 different styles of trips including original style, family and active. We are privileged to travel to many extraordinary places and communities around the globe, like these…(illustrated in several photos – no space here!) Many of these communities have the prospect of serious upheaval very soon, if the effects of climate change progress at the current rate. Many of our home communities and many of the places we travel to are already being negatively impacted by changes in weather patterns in recent years, and many will face massive relocation of large populations in the face of rising sea levels.
Our travellers: 50,000 travellers this year, coming from all around the world. Gender 62% Female 38% Male Source of passengers All ages from over 60 countries around the world: Australia 40% UK & Ireland 23% USA & Canada 17% NZ 8% Europe 8% Other 4% As of September 2006
Why does Intrepid care about climate change? • Amongst our company core values: - We act with integrity. - We are passionate about what we do.
- We encourage personal growth. - We have fun. - We are creative and innovative. - Our belief in responsible tourism. • Taking responsibility for the contribution our business makes to climate change is a natural step of our ‘RT’ practices. • Intrepid’s CEO Darrell Wade awareness of the urgency to take action now. • Influences from: Al Gore and the movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ & Tim Flannery’s book ‘The Weather Makers’. Darrell gave a copy of this book for all the head office staff for Christmas!
Why is Intrepid taking this action? • The travel industry is the number one fastest growing contributor of CO², largely due to plane travel. • Last year, we calculated, our travellers emitted 300,000 tonnes of CO² from flights. Equivalent of more than 72,000 cars. • We know that global warming will affect us in business and personally: our weather, our water, our day to day lives and how we travel. • And because we want our children to see and experience the world as we have. And hopefully our children's children and so on…
Our travellers feedback Survey in Intrepid Express, our weekly e-newsletter that goes out to nearly 400,000 subscribers, found from 1743 respondents: • 97% believe it is “somewhat to very" important that climate change be part of Intrepid's responsible travel commitments. • 70% told us they have a "good to very good" understanding of the issues relating to climate change and 50% are familiar with the process of carbon offsetting. • 80% said they would be happy to pay 4% extra on their airfare to offset the carbon emissions and a significant 87% said they would be willing to pay USD1.00 a day to offset the land component of their trip.
In December 2006 Intrepid announced the goal of becoming a carbon neutral company by end of 2009. It is a bold decision. We know that we have much to learn along the way and we don't know if we'll get there but we're committed to putting necessary resources towards trying to make it happen.
Native rainforest, Fraser Island, Australia
What are Intrepid doing? • First step - identify areas that we could measure our carbon foot print, then take steps to reduce. • Melbourne head office energy and water audit – identify areas we could improve energy efficiency: heating, cooling, hot water and lighting and reduce water consumption. Choose 'green' power for electricity. • Improve waste reduction and recycling systems. • Taking the above actions in all offices and retail stores worldwide. • Currently calculating CO² emissions from all offices, our trips, brochure production, all flights taken by staff and flights included in trips. With our brochures we are currently evaluating sourcing recycled papers vs paper sourced from FSC accredited plantations. And hopefully as more and more people use the web for information, our demand for paper brochures will continue to reduce.
Our trips • Include as much public transport as possible.
• We encourage people to take less trips, for longer periods. And to connect together trips that start and finish in the same locale. • Introduced a range of European walking trips that we hope to expand shortly. • Created an overland adventure: 'To the End of the Earth and Back‘, encouraging travellers to take longer, landbased journeys instead of multiple fly-in, fly-out holidays. This 130 day journey from Singapore to Paris, includes travelling by boat, train and even elephant, this is an epic low-carbon adventure of a lifetime.
Offsetting - the last option • First step - mandatory carbon offsetting of all exit flights from January 1st 2007- starting with exit Australia. • Intrepid will conduct a 4 month internal review. • Offsetting of staff flights. • This payment is made to an offset provider, Origin Energy, (www.originenergy.com.au) • Compensate Intrepid flight emissions by investing in programs: methane destruction, tree planting, home energy efficiency and waste composting. • These projects are audited by a third party. • Intrepid make NO profit from carbon offsetting. Other Intrepid initiatives • To encourage our clients to better understand the issues of climate change, we offered ticket refunds to people to see ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. 3,900 people took up our offer and we refunded AUD$38,765.80 in ticket costs. • Special deal for Australian based staff to have their homes audited for their ‘carbon footprint’. Intrepid contributed 46% of the cost, while 27% is paid for by a government rebate and remaining 27% by staff. • Gave all Australian based staff ‘Climate Saver’ packs of 6 compact fluorescent lights using 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
The Future • Aim to make all flights we sell Carbon Neutral- optional from NZ & UK now • Make all offices Carbon Neutral including brochures • Make all Intrepid trips Carbon Neutral Concluding remarks We have a responsibility towards our staff, our customers, our suppliers – our local friends and most importantly to our wonderful hosts and their communities. We know we have a long way to go on the path to being a carbon neutral company, and that we have a lot to learn along the way, but we need to make the journey. And we know that achieving carbon neutrality will not be the end of this journey.
For more information www.intrepidtravel.com Jane Crouch Responsible Travel Manager email@example.com Lisa Patterson Carbon Offset Manager firstname.lastname@example.org