Home Articles Don’t just count your frequent flyer miles. Count the carbon-friendly ones too

Don’t just count your frequent flyer miles. Count the carbon-friendly ones too

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Did you check your carbon footprint the last time you took a family vacation? Or a business trip?

Even for the environmentally conscious traveler, this has not always been possible. This is because there were few real-time tools to measure the impact of individual travel. Even when they existed, travel groups didn’t quite marry these tools with their own systems in order to enlighten travelers.

This may have just changed with the partnership between Rome2Rio, a six-month-old Sydney-based online travel group, and Offset Options, an online marketplace for carbon offset programs. When travelers use Rome2Rio to book their tickets, travelers can choose not just the best fares or the fastest routes but also are told about the damage caused to the environment by their trip. Subsequently, they are offered a range of green carbon-neutral projects to which they can contribute to offset that damage done to the environment by their use of fossil fuels.

“Rome2Rio saves travelers time and money by helping them discover the best route to their destination. Now, through a partnership with Offset Options, users can also assess the carbon footprint of their journey and contribute towards their chosen project to offset it,” said Rome2Rio co-founder Michael Cameron, a former Microsoft engineer and search engine expert.

Offset Options, headquartered in Barcelona with offices in Sydney and Berlin, was co-founded by an Australian, Luke Miller. It has previously collaborated with travel group such as GreenEarth, Travel and budgetplaces.com, in addition to tracking the carbon footprint of the group U2’s Live Nation 360 World Tour over the past two years.

The complex carbon assessments include a range of calculators that measures emissions depending on whether you are driving, taking a train or flying. Each of the calculators is then overlaid with international standards such as those defined by the German, British and U.S. governments to make an overall assessment.

“The key difference about the service on Rome2Rio.com is that the consumer can choose different projects around the world at different price points,” Miller told Anthill in an e-mail interview.

Corporates can build ‘green’ credentials

Miller, who has previously worked in Mongolia and the U.K., claims the service is the “most transparent in the world,” because “Rome2Rio.com provides both education and action for consumers” – besides learning environmental responsibility he or she can choose to support the projects that contribute most to reducing emissions.

The projects are certified by such agencies as Voluntary Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, Climate Action Reserve and Certified Emission Reduction.

The partnership doesn’t specifically targets corporate bookings but it is conceivable that companies could build their green credentials by utilising this service. Each time a booking is made, a permanent record of the transaction and the project supported is kept, and companies could easily track their carbon footprint and the offsets.

“All these transactions are publicly viewable and the business can use these as they wish…a company or individual can compile all transactions in one location, have a summary of carbon neutral travel and the buyer can show this publicly to a their customers or any other stakeholders as they wish,” said Miller.

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