Ensemble Travel's partnership with Cool Effect enables travel advisors to help clients offset their carbon footprint by donating to sustainability projects. It's a step that other travel agency groups should take as well.
What is the best way in travel to combat climate change? Flight shaming, carbon offsets, or perhaps some other way?
The Ensemble Travel Group come down on the side of carbon offsets.
The Group formed a partnership with Cool Effect, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing carbon emissions and flighting climate change, that will enable travel advisors to help clients offset carbon footprints resulting from air travel.
The partnership, announced at Ensemble’s 2019 International Conference in Seattle last week, incorporates Cool Effect’s Travel Offset Tool into the consortium’s platform. The tool enables users to calculate the amount of carbon emissions resulting from a flight and make a monetary donation to a Cool Effect sustainability project based on the size of the carbon footprint.
“We’re the first consortium to do this and we’re setting a new standard for the industry,” said Ensemble CEO David Harris when announcing the partnership. “This will allow our network of thousands of advisors to make offsetting travel a seamless and easy process for travelers.”
Harris also announced that Ensemble’s first use of the tool was to calculate the carbon footprint of all attendees flying to the conference. To offset the amount, Ensemble made a donation to the Jacunda Forest Reserve in Brazil, one of Cool Effect’s 15 sustainability projects around the world. The Jacunda Forest Preserve protects rubber trees and other flora in the Amazon rainforest, teaches sustainable farming, constructs houses, and provides jobs for local communities.
During a panel discussion, Responsible Travel and the Advisor Role, Jodi Manning, director of marketing for Cool Effect, explained to conference attendees how the Travel Offsite Tool works, using a 2,500-mile flight from San Francisco to New York on a 280-passenger airplane as an example.
“Each flight would use 280 metric tons of carbon emissions or one ton per passenger,” she said. “Based on that, the passenger’s flight can be offset by a cost of $7.80. So the donation cost is low.”
Travelers can choose which project they would like to support. In addition to the Jacunda Rainforest Preserve, there are projects devoted to planting mangroves, orangutan habitats, community tree-planting, ocean ecology, renewable energy and more.
According to Manning, taking positive steps to offset carbon emissions is a better solution than flight shaming, the practice of feeling guilt about air travel.
“Cool Effect doesn’t believe in shame,” she told the Ensemble audience. “Travel is a force to connect people and promote peace. I got on a plane to come to the conference. Shaming is not the answer.”
Subscribe to Skift Pro
Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)Subscribe Now
Photo Credit: Participants in the Jacunda Forest Preserve in Brazil, a sustainability project to protect the rainforest and support local communities, thank Ensemble Travel for a donation made through Cool Effect. Ensemble Travel Group
Travel Agent Interest Surge Expected in Post-Pandemic Family Travel
Don’t discount the need for travel agents in the future of travel. Two recent surveys show Americans increasingly want to utilize a travel advisor’s services for post-pandemic vacationing.
Cameron Sperance | 2 days ago
Onefinestay’s Founder Sees a Rejuvenated Future for Travel Agents With New Startup
It's too soon to tell whether the pandemic will drive people back into the arms of human beings to book their holidays, but Evan Frank thinks he's got the right ingredients to reboot the classic travel agent model.
Matthew Parsons | 2 days ago
20 Years After 9/11 a Resilient Airline Industry Faces New Challenges
There were naysayers after 9/11 that said people would never fly again in droves out of security concerns, and now Covid and its variant joint-venture partners have rocked the travel industry. History has shown, however, that "travel" and the human spirit are indomitable.
Dennis Schaal, Skift | 2 weeks ago