Trade Event Among First to Offset 100 Percent of its Impact on Global Warming
Boulder, CO – Sustainable Travel International (STI) assisted the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) 2006 Adventure Travel World Summit in becoming one of the first travel and tourism industry events to attain carbon neutral status.
By definition, ‘carbon neutral’ represents the point at which greenhouse gas emissions have been identified, measured, reduced where possible and 100 percent of the remaining emissions have been offset through high quality renewable energy, energy efficiency and or reforestation projects.
“There are a number of tourism-related events and conferences that have offset the greenhouse gas impacts associated with the event facility and others that offer attendees voluntary opportunities to offset, but the Adventure Travel World Summit was the first carbon neutral event of its kind,” explains Brian T. Mullis, President of STI. “As an educational-based non-profit, we collaborated with the Adventure Travel Trade Association on how it could take a leadership position in addressing the issue and offering best practice ideas and options to their members, and they rose to the occasion.”
National Geographic Adventure magazine, Virtuoso, a leading global luxury travel network, and VAST! (Virtuoso’s Active & Specialty Travel partners) took a leadership role in the tourism industry by sponsoring offsets of all carbon emissions produced during the event, including 400 delegates’ travel to and from Seattle, their hotel stays, electricity consumption associated with the event facility, and waste generation associated with the event. Offsets will fund renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the Pacific Northwest and in developing countries through STI’s partners Bonneville Environmental Foundation and MyClimate and will reduce carbon emissions elsewhere.
“We believe that introducing people to the world’s most pristine places is the single strongest thing we can do to interest people in environmental issues,” said National Geographic Adventure Publisher Francis Farrell. “We also understand that air travel contributes in a significant way to global warming. Demonstrating that carbon impacts can be offset sends an important message to adventure travel operators, adventurers and explorers.”
“Taking a leadership role in the travel industry means recognizing our responsibility to the world we live in and supporting programs that make it better,” says Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch. “Virtuoso, in conjunction with our VAST suppliers, who represent many of the world’s best adventure and experiential travel companies, recognizes the value of acting on initiatives such as this. We commend STI and ATTA for taking such significant steps to combat global warming.”
The ATTA, which hosts the annual event, also rented hybrid vehicles through Flexcar, which reduces the exhaust from its fleet of shared vehicles, to shuttle delegates to and from Sea-Tac International Airport. In addition, the trade association focused on reducing waste and improving energy efficiency associated with the event as well as encouraging its members to integrate carbon offset programs into their operations and commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Travel is a primary contributor to global climate change. Though voluntary carbon offsetting is not the solution in and of itself, it is an important part of a comprehensive strategy for addressing the problem,” said ATTA Director Chris Doyle. “By encouraging our members and the adventure travel industry at large to take a holistic approach to combating global warming, together we can become part of the solution. ATTA selected STI for this year’s Summit because they’ve a stellar track record and because they’re raising the impact bar in real-world sustainable travel practices.”
About Sustainable Travel International (STI)
STI, recently featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Time, CNN.com, and Condé Nast Traveler, is regarded for its due diligence in selecting the ‘best of the best’ offset partners, including MyClimate and Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF). BEF Green Tags are certified by Green-e. And, MyClimate projects are developed in accordance with procedures, criteria and methodologies from the clean development mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto protocol and the criteria of The Gold Standard. All STI projects are inspected, verified and certified by independent, third-parties. STI’s most recent notable offset efforts include the 2006 FIFA World Cup, HSBC (one of the largest Banks in the world), Ben & Jerry’s, Whole Foods Market, World Wildlife Fund – all in conjunction with MyClimate.
About the Adventure Travel Trade Association
The Seattle-based Adventure Travel Trade Association (www.adventuretravel.biz) is a strategic membership organization dedicated to raising the profile of adventure travel globally. Established in 1990, the ATTA provides services, knowledge, and connections that help its members succeed in their businesses and contribute to responsible industry growth. The ATTA also is host the annual Adventure Travel World Summit (www.adventuretravelworldsummit.com)
About National Geographic Adventure
Published by the National Geographic Society, Adventure is a magazine for active, imaginative people who like to try new outdoor pursuits and want to travel to wild corners of the planet. Adventure inspires readers through profiles of remarkable explorers, past and present; travel narratives to amazing destinations; stories of exhilarating excursions closer to home; and accounts of ambitious expeditions. Through adventure-guide sidebars, how-to primers, and detailed maps, the magazine provides the tools readers need to set out on trips of their own.
Virtuoso is an exclusive network comprising more than 6,000 elite travel consultants, associated with 309 agencies in 22 countries throughout North America, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand. With annual sales of $3.8 billion, Virtuoso’s member agencies make the group the most powerful in the luxury travel segment. Their relationships with the world’s best travel companies provide the network’s affluent clientele with incredible values, rare experiences and privileged access. For more information, please visit www.virtuoso.com.
VAST! Virtuoso Active & Specialty Travel, is a collection of 26 smaller, unique & active companies within Virtuoso. These companies have joined forces to focus attention on agent education, create a greater awareness of products within the Virtuoso network and collaborate on joint marketing efforts. By collaborating, the VAST partners are able to affordably participate in major marketing initiatives that would be difficult to do on their own, thereby creating awareness amongst the Virtuoso agent community of the many upscale, off the beaten path travel options available to the consumer today.