BCD Travel has chosen atmosfair, a non-profit provider whose high quality offset projects have been independently verified, as its global carbon off-set partner.
The move adds another element to BCD Travel’s Responsible Travel Management offering, which integrates solutions in the areas of both sustainability (with services that recognize and reduce the environmental impact of travel activities) and accountability (with services that act to mitigate risk, improve traveler wellbeing and security and promote ethical standards through a company’s travel supply chain).
Carbon off-setting is the process of balancing a defined unit of carbon dioxide emissions with an investment in resources that save or store an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. A traveler or a corporation may choose to pay a carbon off-set provider for the amount of emissions produced by his/her or its business travel. The provider then feature renewable energies or increase energy efficiency.
The addition of a global carbon off-set partner to BCD Travel’s continually expanding roster of global services meet clients’ growing demand for travel management that goes beyond hype and corresponds to their larger corporate social responsibility goals. Dee Runyan, executive vice president for products, technology and supplier relations for BCD Travel, said: “Our customers continue to focus on maximum savings and maximum efficiency in the management of their travel programs. But increasingly, they want to get their results with minimum environmental impact.”
Carbon off-setting joins BCD Travel’s carbon emission reporting, recently expanded globally (see below) as two key pillars in the company’s sustainable travel management services that help clients evaluate and compensate for the environmental impact of their business travel.
Atmosfair was initiated as a joint initiative of Forum Anders Reisen, an association of German tour operators formed to promote sustainable tourism, and the environmental association Germanwatch. The award winning atmosfair standards for off-setting were developed in a research project conducted by the german federal environmental ministry. Atmosfair is currently active in many projects, including the use of solar energy to power cookers in Indian rice kitchens, and cleaning and recycling sewage water from a palm-oil factory in Thailand. Under the auspices of former Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme Klaus Töpfer, it has performed as top runner in many international independent studies.
In choosing a global carbon off-set partner BCD Travel screened potential candidates through a rigorous evaluation of key criteria, including: the company profile (for profit versus non-profit, length of tenure in industry); the percentage of income dedicated directly to emissions-reducing projects; the quality of the off-set projects invested in; the presence of third-party standards and/or verification; the price per ton of carbon off-set; and the degree of transparency exhibited by the candidate. The company profile was crucial for BCD Travel’s clients, said Runyan, because money spent in offsetting projects through a registered charitable organization can, in some countries, be treated as a tax-efficient donation.
Atmosfair, which conforms to the Gold Standard (widely recognized as the most stringent of third-party standards) for emissions calculation, project selection and funds allocation, was the clear choice for BCD Travel.
“We are delighted to partner with a best-in-class provider for this important initiative,” said Runyan. “Our clients around the world now have the opportunity to incorporate carbon offsetting into their CSR-focused travel programs. BCD Travel’s ability to globally support a full range of CSR-related activities sets us apart from our competitors’ local or regional approaches.”