Consumers Demand Transparency in Travel-Related Offsets

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Consumers Demand Transparency in Travel-Related Offsets
From: Environmental Leader (www.environmentalleader.com)

This article is critical for airlines and rental car companies which claim to offset but may have low take-up because of the skepticism that our money is going towards meaningful carbon offsets. Recently I wrote to Virgin Blue Airlines asking where my offsets go and how much money is retained for administration – no reply. Even the media cannot convince the airlines to reveal their carbon offset uptake figures.

Here is the article:

Consumers remain skeptical when it comes to travel-related carbon offsets, according to a new ClimatePath survey of professionals in the ecotourism and sustainable travel industry. The survey reveals that cost is not a primary barrier to consumer purchases of carbon offsets but rather the need for standards, greater transparency, and a focus on carbon projects in the communities where travel occurs.

Dave Rochlin, CEO of ClimatePath, said purchasing offsets typically adds only two to three percent to the cost of a airline ticket, but it’s not so easy convincing travelers that they can make a positive impact through offsetting, or that offset projects even work.

The survey also finds that there are few travel operators actually monitoring the impact of their activities, either positive or negative, which is a cause for concern. According to the study, a lack of measurement creates questions about how effective efforts are in preserving local ecosystems and communities.

In addition to poor monitoring practices, issues such as greenwashing and a lack of universally endorsed eco-certifications are other significant concerns that are driving the need for more effective third-party guidelines or an industry-driven code of conduct that protects both travel operators and consumers, according to the survey.

More than 60 percent of respondents felt that greenwashing was a moderate problem in the industry, while roughly 75 percent of respondents say they do not currently certify though most do see value in eco-certifications.

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