BOULDER, COLO.—Sustainable Travel International (STI) announced that it assisted the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) 2007 Adventure Travel World Summit slated for October 4-7, 2007, in becoming carbon neutral once again.
“One of the most pressing questions about carbon neutrality is, ‘What specifically is being offset?,’” says Brian T. Mullis, president of STI. “For the last two years, the ATTA has proactively pursued total carbon dioxide emissions offsetting associated with its annual Adventure Travel World Summit. Specifically, the ATTA this year plans to offset 500 to 600 delegates’ travel to and from Whistler, their hotel stays, electricity consumption associated with the event facility, and waste generation associated with the event.”
National Geographic Adventure magazine, Virtuoso, a leading global luxury travel network, and VAST (Virtuoso’s Active & Specialty Travel partners) are taking a leadership role for the second year in a row, in partnership with the ATTA, by sponsoring offsets of all carbon emissions produced during the event. Offsets will fund renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the United States and Canada, as well as projects in Central America, Asia and Africa through STI’s partners—Bonneville Environmental Foundation and MyClimate.
A Market for New Ideas
“Consuming things without paying for them creates market distortions that are unsustainable,” says National Geographic Adventure publisher Francis Farrell. “The ATTA’s decision to offset the carbon impact of its summit allows us to pay for a natural resource—fresh air—that we have unwittingly been littering. When we buy offsets, we are not just buying an indulgence for carbon dioxide we are responsible for, we are creating a market for the new ideas and new technologies that we need now to preserve our wondrous home.”
“We are grateful for the leadership role Virtuoso’s VAST, both member agents and suppliers, STI, ATTA, and National Geographic Adventure have taken in bringing sustainability to the forefront of our industry,” says Virtuoso’s director of sustainability, Jessica Hall Upchurch. “The heart of travel has always been a keen appreciation of the world’s people and environment. “Taking concrete action in this regard is the right thing to do. It is our intention at Virtuoso to broaden this initiative for the entire global network and to help bring a greater awareness to this vital issue.”
The ATTA, which hosts the annual event, selected STI for offsetting this year’s summit—for the second year—because of its rigorous independent auditing process, consistent track record in selecting the “best of the best” offset partners, and its leadership role in addressing sustainable development within the tourism industry. In addition to offsetting the emissions associated with the event, the trade association is focused on reducing waste and improving energy efficiency associated with the event as well as actively encouraging its members to integrate carbon offset programs into their operations.
“Sharing voluntary carbon offsets within our trade industry and among travelers is a solid, productive approach to sustainability,” says ATTA director Chris Doyle. “Industry innovators like STI, Virtuoso, VAST, and National Geographic Adventure, which step up to contribute to such initiatives, generate increased momentum for a shared vision that can lead to far greater positive impact and long-term results.”