Natural Habitat Adventures, a global leader in responsible nature travel and the conservation travel partner of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), recently released its first annual Sustainability Report detailing the company’s achievements, progress and challenges that come with a commitment to environmentally conscious travel.
The report’s release accompanies a major new initiative called Carbon Clear Vision, which adds carbon tracking data to every trip on the company’s website.
"As the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company, we want to continue to raise the bar on sustainability, which includes greater transparency. We are thus pleased to present our inaugural Sustainability Report showcasing our achievements and charting a course for the future," said Ben Bressler, President of Natural Habitat Adventures (Nat Hab).
“Climate change has a large and growing impact on habitats, wildlife and local communities in the destinations we visit. As leaders in responsible travel, it's our duty to take action and inspire others to do the same. From offsetting 100% of our carbon emissions to working toward decarbonization and waste reduction, we're passionately pursuing a sustainable future for travel.”
In April 2023, Nat Hab introduced Carbon Clear Vision, adding a diagram for each trip that shows its travelers a comprehensive overview of how and where carbon is emitted during their journeys. These charts, which accompany each trip on the company’s website, provide easy-to-read data that illustrates the CO2 output generated on each portion of the itinerary, from accommodations to transportation, meals, and administrative support.
The Carbon Clear Vision project works to raise awareness, demonstrate transparency and educate travelers about the emissions generated through their travel activities. Learning how much carbon is emitted and how Nat Hab has worked to offset those on-trip emissions cultivate a more conscious travel experience.
Highlights from Nat Hab’s 2023 Sustainability Report:
Combating the Carbon Problem & Reducing Carbon Emissions
In 2007, Natural Habitat Adventures became the world’s first 100% carbon-neutral travel company, offsetting every element of its operations. Since then, Nat Hab has offset more than 68,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide with 18,000 tons offset in 2022 alone. In 2019, Nat Hab took its commitment a step further and began offsetting travelers’ flights to and from their adventures, resulting in an increase in carbon offsetting of 300-400%.
Nat Hab continues its efforts to mitigate carbon emissions in the travel industry by funding carbon reduction projects around the world. These projects, which align with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, include harnessing sustainable geothermal and hydro power in Sumatra, and providing energy-efficient cookstoves to households in rural Ethiopia that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and alleviate pressure on surrounding forests. Nat Hab also invests in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), a biofuel that can be used to power aircraft and is made from a variety of renewable sources including cooking oil and waste. Nat Hab has partnered with Tomorrow’s Air and Neste to support this growing sustainability strategy. Nat Hab also works with Tomorrow’s Air to physically remove carbon from the atmosphere through direct air capture using a new and progressive technology. In addition to achieving net-zero emissions via offsetting and carbon capture technology, Nat Hab is committed to Science Based Targets for emissions reduction with the help of WWF and other organizations including the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
Twenty Years of Partnering With WWF to Protect Wild Places and Wild Animals
Nat Hab has been the conservation travel partner of World Wildlife Fund since 2003. Over the past 20 years, the company has provided more than $6 million toward WWF’s global conservation efforts and will continue to give 1% of gross sales plus $174,000 annually through 2028. Nat Hab’s commitment to WWF supports the organization’s more than 2,000 conservation projects around the world, which seek to conserve nature and reduce threats to the planet’s biodiversity.
Supporting Local Communities — Where Conservation Starts
Recognizing that conservation begins with taking care of people, Nat Hab is a strong supporter of local communities in the places it operates. The company’s philanthropy program has donated to nearly 50 projects around the world, supporting conservation, humanitarian concerns, sustainable development, education, and research, aimed collectively at protecting the environment and welfare of people and wildlife. Programs range from rewilding and reintroducing jaguars in Caiman Ecological Refuge and ongoing research with the Oncafari Jaguar Program in Brazil’s Pantanal; supporting Ride 4 A Woman, a bike rental business started by local women outside Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Buhoma, Uganda; and becoming the main benefactor of Gyekrumalambo Primary School in Karatu, Tanzania, after funding its first water tank and helping to build a second for clean drinking water for the school and community.
Pursuing the Path Toward Zero Waste
Traveling without creating waste is a challenge, especially in remote places, and Nat Hab is taking it on. The company eliminated single-use plastic bottles on its trips beginning in 2011, and it estimates that it has avoided the use of more than 1.3 million bottles since. In 2019, it ran the World’s First Zero Waste Adventure on a weeklong trip in Yellowstone National Park. The group of 12 travelers and three Expedition Leaders was able to reduce its entire waste output to fit into one quart-sized bottle, with the majority of waste generated going to compost or recycling.
While Nat Hab would ideally like to make every one of its trips zero waste, the effort is a work in progress. The first trip offered the opportunity to test and adapt practices for other trips moving forward, identifying ways to refuse, repurpose or recycle waste in a quest to reduce it as much as possible. The Sustainability Report includes tips for travelers and industry peers to employ waste-reduction tactics, including asking for smaller portions at restaurants (food is the #1 source of waste on trips), sourcing post-consumer recycled content, and working with partners that are committed to sustainable practices.
Going Electric on Safari
This year, Nat Hab deployed its first off-the-grid solar-powered electric safari vehicle in Botswana. The innovative and fully electric 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser, retrofitted to run on renewable solar energy, is part of the brand’s broader initiative to continuously elevate the game drive experience for a more immersive and sustainable safari. The company’s new ESV, which operates from Gomoti Camp in the Okavango Delta, can be charged for a half-day safari drive using solar power in as little as three hours. The solar array Nat Hab built to charge the ESV also contributes to the company’s efforts to convert the camp to 100% renewable energy in the future. This ESV has laid the groundwork for more electric vehicles to come on the company’s journey toward decarbonization.
Natural Habitat Adventures is proud of the strides it has made as a global conservation leader, yet the company acknowledges that much work remains to be done, and it plans to report on its sustainability efforts annually.
To see Nat Hab’s first Sustainability Report, please visit:
About Natural Habitat Adventures:
Natural Habitat Adventures has been a trailblazer in sustainable and conservation-focused adventure travel since 1985. Led by professional naturalist guides, Nat Hab journeys reveal the planet's most extraordinary nature destinations, including polar bear tours in Churchill, small-group Galapagos cruises, intimate African safaris, close encounters with Alaskan brown bears, wolf quests in Yellowstone, and much more. As the world's first 100% carbon-neutral travel company, creator of the World’s First Zero Waste Adventure, and the conservation travel partner of World Wildlife Fund since 2003, Nat Hab offers nearly 100 eco-conscious nature adventures from Antarctica to Zimbabwe and beyond. Featuring unique and artfully crafted itineraries, Nat Hab trips demonstrate how conservation travel works with and benefits local communities, furthering a shared commitment to conservation. Nat Hab actively seeks ways tourism can lower its impact on the planet while raising global citizens’ appreciation for the wonders of nature. For more information, visit nathab.com.