The Carbon Impact of Travel – Offsetting it the Beyonder way

We love travelling… And if you are reading this here, chances are, you are no different…

But then, an element of doubt or guilt creeps in to sully the joy a bit when one hears of the ‘side-effects of travelling’ – are we harming the environment in our zeal to travel? Concepts like “Carbon off-setting”, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints”, “Sustainable tourism”, “Responsible Tourism”, “Ethical tourism”.. the list goes on – leaving us baffled!

Every action of ours – right from taking a flight or a car to travel to a destination, staying at a hotel, even eating food would have some impact on the carbon output in the environment. Does that mean we shut ourselves out from the world and try to live out an isolated zero carbon emissions environment?

Absolutely not! The benefits of travelling, both to the Individual and to the community, far outweigh the impact. But then, as conscientious beings, it is our responsibility to take concrete steps to minimize the impact of our travel to the extent possible – on the environment and on all the living beings that we share our planet with!

As a travel company, we have long debated on how we could contribute our little bit in this mission. In our small way, we try and impose the sustainability principles with our partners. Other than this soft persuasion, we decided that a positive action from our side is essential to demonstrate our organizational commitment – a way to somehow offset the impact of the travel that we facilitate.

We have partnered with Grow-trees, an online platform – which offers services to grow trees in a systematic fashion in pursuance of its vision of doing social good. So, for every US $150 of our revenue, we commit to plant one tree on behalf of our guests through Grow-trees.com. This year our focus is on the forests in the periphery of the Sundarbans National Park (the largest deltaic mangrove forest in the world). This is but one way to balance out the carbon footprints of travel done through us.

We have had lots of arguments with friends on whether this is the right way to go about our goals on carbon offsetting/ conservation – whether it is like compensating for ‘sins’, whether neutrality is achieved etc… However controversial, debatable or inadequate this measure may seem to be – we, at Beyonder, honestly believe that this is our small contribution to a better world!

Our guests who travel with us would participate in this effort: each guest from Beyonder would get an eTreeCertificate from grow-trees.com post their travel (number of trees would depend on the value of the package). This would enable the traveller to check where his/her tree has been planted and know a little more on the project (Tree planting) to which they have contributed! Guests also have an option to require Beyonder to plant extra trees (over and above the Beyonder commitment) on payment.

To know more on carbon off-setting and to compute how much carbon you have offset through this initiative – check out: https://www.grow-trees.com/offset.php

A quick reference on some online tools to help you compute the emissions impact of your travel:
http://www.americanforests.org/discover-forests/carbon-calculator/
http://www.webflyer.com/travel/mileage_calculator/
http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

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