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How to Offset Your Carbon Footprint from International Travel

According to research, the travel industry accounts for about 8% of annual carbon emissions. That’s a lot! And as part of this industry, Raptim is doing everything that we can to reduce our carbon footprint. Also, we want to share some tips on how humanitarians can offset their carbon footprint from international travel.

Humanitarian travel is often essential to deliver aid to those who need it most. So there is no way to avoid those long-haul trips. However, there are ways to reduce and offset the humanitarian carbon footprint. Here are three steps you can make today!

Step 1: Calculate your carbon footprint

The first step is to understand how much you individually or your organization is impacting the environment. There are plenty of different carbon footprint calculators out there. They will ask you to fill in information on travel, electricity usage, events, and other issues. This data will provide an estimation of your current carbon footprint.

It’s important to know this information, to realize your current impact. Knowledge is power, and once we know, we can do something about it. Sometimes, all it takes is the realization that an individual does form part of the bigger picture. And in this case, the fact that individual actions can make a difference.

Step 2: Reduce your carbon footprint

After you get an idea of how much your carbon footprint is, try to reduce it as much as possible. The idea is that before you start offsetting, it’s important only to be impacting at a bare minimum. There are plenty of ways to do this both at home and during missions.

First and foremost, make sure that all international missions are essential and cut out any non-essential travel. If a meeting can happen via Skype, then make this the preferred choice (plus it will help with budgets!).

For the necessary international travel, implement specific greener strategies. During the flight, go for the shortest itinerary without a stopover. And if you can opt for alternatives to air travel. Also, go paperless for your itineraries, with digital check-in and reservations.

When it comes to accommodation, practice green living at the hotel. Make sure to unplug everything, don’t request new towels as often, and skip room cleaning until you need it. If you can, go for a green certified hotel.

There are plenty of more strategies to reduce your carbon footprint. Some require more effort than others. But it is our responsibility to protect our planet!

Step 3: Buy carbon credits

The last step in lowering your carbon footprint is to offset it by buying carbon credits. Once you’ve cut out all non-essentials, calculate your carbon footprint again. Based on this amount, you can purchase carbon credits that will offset the value.

Of course, you have to make sure to buy these from a trusted provider that has a positive impact. You should ask a few questions before purchasing. For example, where does your money go? How much of it goes to the project? What is it paying for? Is there an annual report? Is offsetting the primary funding source?

What are carbon offsets?

Carbon offsetting is pretty straight forward in concept and quite complicated to implement. Mainly, every individual contributes to carbon emissions. However, new technologies are allowing us to reduce emissions from various activities. These are typically expensive. So, when you buy carbon offsets, the money tends to go to projects that reduce carbon emissions from certain events.

There is a wide range of projects. For example, treatment of animal waste to reduce carbon emissions can be one. Another option is landfill gas capture. And there are many others. The point is that by buying carbon offsets, you contribute to greener activity in a highly contaminating industry.

Where to buy carbon offsets

There are dozens of organizations that use carbon offsets to fund their projects. Here are some examples of where you can buy carbon credits.

Terrapass: the organization sells carbon offsets, renewable energy credits, and water restoration certificates. The projects they fund are mainly based in the US. Terrapass offers plans for both businesses and individuals both individuals and corporations can use the Climate Care calculator to calculate and offset their carbon footprint. The money goes to a variety of environmental projects, including clean water, efficient stoves, wind power generation.

Ocean Foundation: the Ocean Foundation sells carbon offsets to fund their seagrass restoration project. Seagrass habitats can be almost 35 times more effective than the Amazon rainforests in carbon storage and uptake.

Atmosfair: Atmosfair allows you to offset specific activities, such as flights, cruises or events. Nearly 90% of the organization’s projects adhere to CDM Gold Standards, meaning they are highly ranked in having a positive impact.

World Land Trust: WLT focuses on conservation through land purchase. The organization purchases or leases land to create nature reserves and protect natural habitats. They also work in reforestation and tree planting. Part of their funding comes from carbon offsets.

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We believe our world is a better place when compassion can travel where it is needed most. As a global humanitarian travel organization, we devote ourselves to serving those who serve the world. You can reach our experienced staff anytime. Please use our quick address locator to contact your nearest Raptim office should you have any questions. You can also follow our blog for more stories and travel information.