The summer travel season is around the corner, and exotic locations lure the most adventurous travelers to remote and environmentally sensitive areas to experience their wonders. When planning these trips, environmentally responsible travelers will seek out sustainable tours that meet established ecotourism guidelines.
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." CarbonFree® Business Partner Detour, The Adventure Travel Marketplace adheres to this definition and its guiding principles when selecting the local tour operators and outfitters for its online destination tours and travel adventures. Detour actively promotes sustainable tourism by offering trips operated by local ecotourism companies and promoting green certified hotels in the trip destinations they support.
As an important part of its sustainability mission, Detour minimizes it own operational carbon emissions then mitigates what it cannot eliminate in partnership with Carbonfund.org. As a virtual company, Detour follows Carbonfund.org’s motto to “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™” by maintaining only a small wind-powered office with some employees working from home. Detour handles all tour information and customer communications online, replacing paper and printing with electronic documents. And for the past six years, Detour has neutralized all remaining operational emissions through the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program. To date, Detour has neutralized over 500,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered by 6000 trees over a ten-year period.
“As a company based on promoting small-scale tourism directly through socially and environmentally responsible local tour operators and outfitters, Detour is committed to protecting the environment and minimizing global climate change,” said Greg Findley, Detour’s CEO.
Working only with sustainable local travel companies ensures that the tours support the local economies. Detour selects tour operations that employ local people and provide economic incentives for local people to protect their natural and cultural resources. Traveling with local companies also gives travelers a window into the lives of the communities they visit. This inside knowledge can make the difference between being a tourist and thoroughly experiencing and learning about a destination.
Taking a trip, even the most sustainably-planned tour, has some negative environmental impacts, including the carbon emissions of airplane travel and on-site ground transportation. Detour advises its customers to become environmentally-responsible travelers by choosing a sustainable trip, taking fewer and longer trips, and trying to get direct air flights when possible. Finally, Detour encourages tour customers to purchase carbon credits to offset the carbon emissions from their flights through Carbonfund.org. Join the ranks of eco-travelers by selecting leading sustainable tour operators like Detour and taking the extra steps to neutralize your vacation travel emissions.
Carbonfund.org is pleased to announce that 2013 will bring big program anniversaries for about one hundred of our small business partners. The CarbonFree® Business Partnership program, launched in 2007, makes it easy and affordable for businesses of all sizes to enhance their sustainability by joining the program either at pre-set donation levels based on employee size, or by calculating and mitigating actual annual operational emissions. The program benefits include promotion of this environmentally responsible initiative through displaying the CarbonFree® Partner logo, maintaining a Partner Page on the Carbonfund.org website and being featured in online blogs and e-newsletters written by Carbonfund.org.
Our 5th and 6th year anniversary partners include the spectrum of businesses – healthcare/nutrition, eco-tourism, product retailers, technology service providers, and a variety of start-up product and service companies. What these businesses have in common is demonstrated leadership in a long-term commitment to ensuring that their products, services and operations are offered to their customers in the most sustainable way possible.
“When we designed the CarbonFree® Partner Program, we wanted to make it a very simple, easy-to-understand program that fit the budget of any business, regardless of age, size or industry,” explains Carbonfund.org founder and president Eric Carlson. “These one hundred businesses celebrating their 5th or 6th anniversaries help to confirm that we’re doing what we set out to achieve.”
In honor of the renewal anniversaries for these CarbonFree® Business Partners, Carbonfund.org developed a unique 2013 CarbonFree® Partner logo featuring the number of years the business has been in the program. We’re also planting trees on behalf of these anniversary Partners – 50 and 60 trees planted for the 5th and 6th anniversaries, respectively – as an additional way to acknowledge their long-term commitment to helping win the fight against climate change and supporting our carbon reduction projects around the world.
Watch www.carbonfund.org/blog for features of our CarbonFree® Anniversary Partners, starting in December and continuing throughout 2013.
Social and charitable giving has become a standard practice among most successful businesses today, with a growing trend towards charitable contribution programs that distinguish a business and its service offering within its industry.
Carbonfund.org business partner Nice Touch Communications (NTC), based in New York City, was an early leader in charitable giving programs with its Telecom for Charity initiative. NTC is a sales and consulting firm that has been providing voice and data solutions for over 15 years, and they launched Telecom for Charity in 2008. NTC works with businesses, non-profits, charities and other organizations to provide top tier telecom services while also donating 5% of each customer’s monthly telecom bill to their selected charity through the Telecom for Charity program.
Telecom for Charity (T4C) provides its business customers with the opportunity to support Carbonfund.org right from their monthly telecom bill. As a result, NTC clients and their employees are contributing back to society simply by going about their daily business of making phone calls and using the Internet. Every time a phone call is made, or a webpage is visited, Telecom for Charity customers are adding to their monthly support donations to Carbonfund.org. But the donations do not increase monthly costs; the donations come directly from Telecom for Charity and NTC, made on behalf of each business customer. To date, Telecom for Charity has donated almost $2600 to Carbonfund.org.
"We wholeheartedly believe in what Carbonfund.org is doing; and feel our program can be a great way to generate support with minimal effort for a long time to come," says Jay Frank, Program Director for Telecom for Charity.
For prospective customers and any CarbonFree® Business Partner interested in telecom services, Telecom for Charity offers its “Every Day is Earth Day” promotion. T4C will make a donation to mitigate 2.5 metric tonnes of carbon emissions to Carbonfund.org, supporting carbon reduction and clean air project innovation, with no obligation to the prospective customer, just for talking to T4C about their telecommunications environment and telecom needs.
The “Leave No Trace Behind” ethic is supported by the four major US federal land management agencies and by most eco-travel organizations trying to uphold high standards of environmentally-responsible tour operations. These principles can be followed in eco-tourism planning and observed onsite during tours, but eco-travel operations still generate other sources of harmful environmental emissions through transportation and onsite energy consumption during tour operations.
Carbonfund.org works with several eco-tour operators who take their environmental commitment beyond the tenets of “Leave No Trace Behind” by measuring, reducing where possible and mitigating all carbon emissions from their operations, and CarbonFree® partner Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures is a great example.
Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures maintains carbon neutral operations for the transportation and energy consumption they cannot eliminate by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air and carbon reduction projects around the world.
"It's so important to do what we can to leave the smallest impact possible here on planet earth. This is why we partner with the Carbonfund.org," states Taylor Phillips, Owner and Lead Guide for Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures.
Eco Tour Adventures was created with the idea of helping people connect with and gain a deeper appreciation for the natural world through wildlife observation and natural history interpretation. Their premise is that their tour guests develop a stronger bond with the natural world and will make more environmentally sound choices in their daily lives. TripAdvisor recently named Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures as one of ten great wildlife tours. Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Eco Tour Adventures in their carbon emissions mitigation efforts, helping their organization serve as a positive role model for its tour guests and for other eco-tourism businesses.