6 Reasons Why Your Business Should Offset Its Carbon Footprint

Whether your company is a hotel, tour operator, or restaurant, you probably know that your business is generating carbon emissions in one way or another. From heating your guest rooms to transporting your customers overseas, many of the day-to-day activities that keep your business running can also have an impact on the planet. In fact, the tourism industry is responsible for approximately 8% of global carbon emissions.

Minimizing these carbon emissions should always be your #1 priority, but no matter how many green practices you implement, producing at least some amount of carbon is practically inescapable. That’s where carbon offsetting comes in!

Put simply, carbon offsetting allows you to compensate for the emissions that you produce by reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases elsewhere. This is accomplished by financially supporting projects that reduce carbon dioxide either by capturing existing CO2 or preventing new emissions from happening. While carbon offsetting is compulsory in some high polluting industries, countless organizations within other sectors are now choosing to voluntarily offset their emissions as well.

Why should my organization offset its carbon footprint?

Perhaps your company has been toying with the idea of offsetting for awhile, but you’re just not sure if it’s worth the investment. Or maybe the whole concept feels a bit overwhelming and you have no idea where to begin.

Aside from being beneficial for the environment, offsetting can provide advantages for your business – such as strengthening your brand or improving your triple bottom line.  It’s also a lot easier and financially viable than you might think. Read on to discover why offsetting is not only the environmentally-conscious choice, but also a smart business decision!

With the right guidance, offsetting is simple and cost effective

Calculating and offsetting your organization’s carbon footprint can seem like a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be! Our team knows the ins and outs of offsetting and is here to help as much or little as you need. We’ll take care of all the heavy lifting so that offsetting is a breeze.

Don’t know how much carbon you’re emitting and need to offset? No problem! We’ve calculated the carbon footprints of countless tourism businesses and can do the same for you. We’ll handle all the number crunching and technical details – all you need to do is provide a few basic details.

Once we know your carbon footprint we’ll work with you to create a custom-tailored program that meets your offsetting needs. We will help you identify projects that align with your priorities and take care of all the due-diligence to ensure they comply with the most rigorous standards.

At as little as $12 per metric ton of CO2, you will find that carbon offsetting can be a small investment that makes a substantial impact. How you work offsetting into your budget is totally up to you. Just bear in mind that if you do choose to wrap it into your customer prices you won’t even have to foot an additional cost!

Use this assessment to improve your climate impact and save money

Carbon offsetting should be just one component of your business’s overall carbon management program. Because carbon offsetting requires you to quantify your footprint, it helps set the stage for additional follow-on efforts.

Following your carbon assessment, we can help you understand and monitor your impact on the environment.  As the saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it!”  Once you know your carbon footprint, you can use this information to actively improve your climate impact.

As your organization becomes more aware of its footprint, carbon offsetting can indirectly save you money by encouraging you to reduce your carbon footprint. Research shows that companies that offset their carbon in 2013 saved money by actively cutting their direct emissions by almost 17%, while non-offsetting organizations reduced their emissions by less than 5% in the same year.

Create real change that contributes to the SDGs (It’s not just planting trees!)

With so many options out there, how do you know if carbon offsetting is the right initiative to implement at your company?

When you offset through a credible organization such as Sustainable Travel International, you can rest assured that your dollars will truly make a lasting difference. When done right, carbon offsetting does a lot more than just planting trees!

Carbon offset projects aim to create long-term change. For instance, a project may conserve an entire forest by training residents to utilize more sustainable farming practices and involving them in forest management. Another project might build a new wind farm, thus supporting the expansion of clean energy infrastructure and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon future. Because they foster behavioral changes and sustainable development, carbon offset projects continue to generate impact for years to come.

Carbon offsetting also has the potential to create a positive impact beyond reducing CO2 emissions. We carefully select projects that also benefit local communities and wildlife. In fact all of our projects contribute to multiple of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Take for instance our Vietnam Biogas project, which provides families in rural Vietnam with an affordable source of energy, improves local health and sanitation, and creates jobs for community members.  Across the globe in Peru, the Madre De Dios project protects a large swath of rainforest that is home to numerous endangered species and indigenous communities.

Regardless of which type of project you choose to support, just be sure it’s verified and/or certified to a third-party standard, such as the Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standard, or Climate Action Reserve. By supporting high quality offset projects, you can ensure that your purchase is truly impactful and creates real change for nature, people, and the climate.

Protect the destinations your business relies on

The places and communities that your customers visit are a key component of their trip. So if a destination doesn’t live up to your customers’ expectations it can greatly impact their overall travel experience.

Imagine, for example, that you’ve booked a trip to a tropical island. You can’t wait to spend your days lounging on pristine beaches and diving with turtles and fish over beautiful coral reefs. Sounds pretty spectacular, right? But what if you arrive to that island only to be met by eroded beaches and dead, fishless reefs. Might result in a slightly different experience…

Whether we like it or not, climate change is affecting the places we visit. This is just one of many scenarios that could become reality if things don’t change.

As climate change causes destinations to lose their appeal, it can greatly impact your customers’ overall experience, leaving them disappointed and unimpressed. This can rub off on their perception of your organization, leading to poor satisfaction and negative reviews. On top of this, climate change could literally make it impossible for your business to operate in certain places, such as low-lying islands, in the future.

You already know that part of ensuring your companies’ long term viability is protecting your assets. This also applies to the destination itself! Carbon offsetting is just one way that you can combat climate change and protect the holiday destinations that shape your customers’ travel experience.

Attract travelers by showing you’re committed to environmental protection

In recent years we’ve witnessed drastic changes in the demands and expectations of travelers. Now, more than ever, travelers are increasingly aware of their impact on the planet. They want to know that their adventures aren’t harming the environment – and they want to support companies that feel the same. Last year, Booking.com found that nearly three-quarters of travelers believe that sustainable travel choices are necessary to save the planet for future generations.

Right now, climate change is one of the top environmental challenges that people are concerned about. Last year, we saw the climate movement gain momentum as millions of people took part in massive climate strikes all across the globe. And a recent survey by Amnesty International found that young people see climate change as one of the most important issues facing our world today. It’s no secret that tourism has a substantial carbon footprint, so it’s important to show that you’re taking your impacts seriously and are dedicated to taking climate action.

We’ve long passed the time when it was simply enough to slap the word “green” on your website and say that you’re “sustainable.” Travelers are looking for companies that can back up their claims and are actually DOING something concrete to manage their impacts.

While it’s not the be-all and end-all, carbon offsetting is a clear and tangible way to show travelers that your organization is creating change.  Communicating about your offsetting program provides an opportunity to further ingrain sustainability into your brand. Not only are you able to actually quantify your impact: “We offset 50 metric tons of CO2!”, you can also share examples of the positive environmental and social impacts that the projects provide: “This project helps restore a native forest which is home to endangered species such as the lowland tapir, while creating sustainable livelihoods for over 1,200 local people.” 

In addition to attracting new customers, investing in initiatives such as offsetting can also increase customer loyalty.  A staggering 88% of consumers are more loyal to companies that support social and environmental projects. Moreover, consumers are willing to pay more for brands that are committed to sustainability. Actively demonstrating your organization’s concern for the environment by offsetting your carbon footprint can increase profits and improve repeat business.

Retain and attract employees

It’s not only your customers that care – your employees do too. These days, more and more people are leaving their high-paid corporate jobs to pursue more meaningful careers. People want their worklife to align with their personal values. When the two are at odds, it can lead to stress and low job satisfaction.

Millennials in particular crave a sense of purpose beyond just making money, and want to feel like what they’re doing matters. In fact, 75% of millennials want their employer’s values to match their own, and 62% want to be known for making a positive difference in the world. This generation now makes up the largest segment of the workforce and is redefining the workplace. If your business wants loyal and motivated employees, you must show them that your organization cares about what’s important to them.

With global warming at a high, working for a company that exhibits a strong commitment to environmental responsibility is a priority for many employees. A 2019 study shows that people are 73% more likely to accept a job at a company that practices sustainability. This is especially true for millennials, with 86% of this generation saying they would stay longer at a company that is lowering its environmental impact. Implementing sustainable practices, such as carbon offsetting, in your organization can improve job satisfaction and increase retention levels. This in turn saves your organization money in both the short and long-term.

But it’s not enough to simply have sustainability initiatives in place. Your company should ensure that your employees are aware of and involved in them. When people understand how their employer contributes to environmental protection, it reduces the conflict they feel between their work duties and personal values. Educating your employees on the impact of your offset program adds meaning to their job and encourages them to stay with your company. Not to mention, if your employees care about what you’re doing they might end up becoming your greatest advocates!

Start A Carbon Program For Your Business

Whatever your motivation is for offsetting your carbon footprint, it is a business decision that should not be overlooked.

Click here to learn more about our carbon offset programs for businesses. Or if you’d like to receive more information, enter your email below.

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