Our Climate Action Plan

We're in the midst of a climate and biodiversity emergency.

Like all travel companies, despite our efforts to build the world's most positive impact adventure company, we're heavily implicated.

Current IPCC advice tells us that, by 2030, we need to cut global carbon emissions to at least 55% below what they were in 2017, to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming.

That's why we declared a Climate Emergency and called on the rest of the industry to join us.

Our Climate Action Plan is broken down into 4 main areas: measure, reduce, remove and campaign. Every year we update the plan to include our goals for the coming year, and publish a transparent report assessing our progress over the previous year. See our 2020 progress report.

1. MEASURE

We measure and transparently publish a carbon footprint label for each of our trips. We’ve also openly shared the method by which we do it, in the hope other companies will be able to more easily follow suit. See all the details.

2021 goal:

Our carbon footprint analysis includes an estimate of all local transport, accommodation, activities, guides, staff and office operations, and food. The only major thing it doesn’t include is flights and travel to the destination. However, as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include them in the figures on display for now. Our goal for 2021 is to fix that, so that when a customer books, we can measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by each individual customer's travel plans too.

2. REDUCE

Our carbon footprint measurement confirms what we had long suspected: compared to the industry average, the trips are relatively low carbon (once you get there). We camp and kayak, hike and stay in mountain huts. Compare that to luxury resorts with all-you-can-eat buffets, cruise ships and coach based overland tours, and you quickly realise why.

This does not stop us continually looking to make improvements, however. Our trip-by-trip footprint analysis gives us the framework from which we can work with local hosts to identify ways to go even further in reducing carbon across their trips. From food sourcing to accommodation and transport choices, there is definitely always room for improvement, and that informs our future activity.

2021 goals:

  1. Complete an audit of all hosts across a range of carbon reduction and sustainability measures, as the basis for developing a shared roadmap for future improvements. Our longer term goal is to ensure all hosts and partners we work with have also published transparent climate action plans.
  2. Continue to expand the range of adventures that are accessible by train, and an ever wider range of big adventures designed to encourage customers to fly less, and stay for longer.

3. REMOVE

For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. This is part of our commitment to channelling 5% of our revenues into reforestation and rewilding projects that have the highest potential for carbon removal and reversal of the biodiversity crisis.

2021 goal:

Upgrade our carbon measurement tools so that when a customer books we can measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by each individual customer's travel plans too.

4. CAMPAIGN

We co-founded and continue to lead coordination and growth of the Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency movement. The goal of this movement is to accelerate decarbonisation of the travel industry by enabling every organisation in every sector of tourism to declare a climate emergency and deliver an appropriate carbon action plan.

2021 goal:

In 2021 we are targeting a rapid escalation of emergency declarations across the industry, and are working collaboratively to publish Carbon Action Plan “Blueprints’ for all major sectors.

Transparency

We do not claim to know all the answers. As we go, we’ll transparently share our progress and our learnings in the hope others will learn from our mistakes. We’ll talk openly, invite criticism and collaborate with partners and competitors alike. Only by doing so do we have a chance of getting to our goal, not just as a company, but as a society.

No grand claims

While we fund conservation and re-wilding work that has the potential to remove many times more carbon from the atmosphere than enters it as a result of our trips, we do not formally ‘carbon offset’ in order to claim carbon neutrality or carbon positivity.

We consider this to be misleading, and a dangerous distraction from the critical work of reducing carbon emissions. More on this in another article.

Invitation to criticise

By nature our adventure travel style is relatively low carbon - think hiking, kayaking and camping compared to luxury hotels and bus tours. See details of our carbon footprint analysis for more on this.

However, as a travel company reliant on customers flying round the world we recognise that just by publishing this policy, we are opening ourselves up to accusations of greenwashing.

If traveller numbers are going to continue to increase as forecasts suggest - and few would argue otherwise - it’s our responsibility to engage with the challenges we face head on.

We’ll do everything we can to cut the carbon emissions we have any say over, encourage others to do likewise, and campaign for the wider system changes needed to move travel and aviation especially towards a low carbon future.

Our plans are evolving continuously based on learning and sharing. If you have suggestions or insights that can help us improve, just email [email protected] anytime.

You can follow our wider sustainability model, goals and actions here.