We believe that exploring the world is a profoundly worthwhile rite of passage for everyone. However, we also know that travelling overseas comes at an environmental cost. Long-haul flights emit carbon which contributes to climate change if it's not offset.
We have a responsibility to travel ethically. Environmentally-friendly travel is possible if done right.
For every volunteer who books their international flights through our dedicated flight team, we'll offset the carbon from that flight by planting mangroves on one of our many Conservation Projects.
With this carbon offset programme, there is no guilt involved in travel. When you go abroad, you're going to help others. On the way, you’re helping all of us.
Why do we plant mangrove trees to offset your carbon?
Mangroves are trees found on the banks of the sea. They absorb a large amount of CO2 - more than any other tree. You could even say this makes them the gold standard for carbon offsetting.
But that’s not all, mangroves have many other benefits. Their roots prevent erosion caused by extreme weather which helps protect the coastlines. They also purify the ocean and filter the water for marine life. Furthermore, they act as nurseries for fish and coral, supporting an incredible diversity of creatures.
By choosing mangrove trees to offset your carbon, we optimise the positive impact of planting trees on the planet.
How do we calculate carbon offsetting?
Working with scientists and specialist PhD researchers, we've created a system to calculate the number of mangroves we would have to plant in order to offset your flights. The final amount is an estimate, based upon results that are always rounded up. This means that regardless of the differences in planes used and deviations in route, we’re always planting more than we need to offset your carbon!
The first step in assessing the impact of any flight is to calculate how much carbon is produced on your route. After working out the total number of kilometres you would’ve flown, we use the carbon calculator to give us the total amount of carbon produced. This calculator is used by companies around the world and is based upon the carbon calculation guidelines set out by the UK government.
The next step is to calculate how many mangrove seedlings would need to be planted to offset this amount of carbon. In order to do this, we based our studies on the species of mangrove that we use, our years of data collection and the environments in which we are planting them. We’ve also had to take into account different variables, such as:
- Mangrove mortality rate
- The average lifespan
- The growth rate
- The sedimentation rate in the area
- The area required by each sapling
- The impact of humans
- The rate of freak weather events and much more
After all of these calculations and rounding up the final amount, we come to 6 mangrove saplings for every 1000km flown. If you think about how many kilometres you might fly on your journey, plus the number of volunteers that will be working with us each year, it means we’ve got our work cut out! But we're up for the challenge.
Does carbon offsetting work?
Many airlines and travel providers, like us, are taking steps to offset carbon emissions. Our calculations are based on scientific research, UK Government statistics and the expertise of marine scientists working on our projects. While planting trees alone will not eliminate the climate crisis, we know that planting mangroves have a universally positive impact on our planet. If you want to travel overseas (which we recommend!) and can’t take a land route, then offsetting your carbon is certainly a better alternative to not doing so.
What else can I do to offset my carbon?
If you’re not booking your flights through us but you’d still like to offset your carbon, there are plenty of options. The first step is to see whether the airlines you're using offer a similar service. Unlike us, it may incur a small additional charge, but it means they'll plant the trees to offset your flights.
Alternatively, there are organisations dedicated to offsetting carbon by planting trees. This would also require a small donation, but it means you can travel guilt-free and know that you’re playing a part in restoring a forest somewhere in the world.
Otherwise, donate to green energy initiatives, join a tree-planting campaign or make a few lifestyle changes. Many of our volunteers actively make the decision to travel by train for their next holiday or even give up meat for a few days of the week. Whatever you choose to do, there are plenty of options available, all of which are aimed at reducing the negative impact that we can have on the planet.
What else are we doing to reduce our carbon footprint?
We take steps to offset carbon and protect the planet by:
- Offsetting flights
- Using public transport wherever we can
- Planting trees in every destination
- Sourcing food locally wherever possible
- Running awareness campaigns to encourage the public to make climate-conscious changes
- Creating vegetable gardens in schools that reuse recycled plastic bottles
- Running projects dedicated to plastic clean-ups