I'm sure that author and carbon footprint consultant Mike Berners-Lee* won't mind me borrowing the above title to grab your attention. If you've already read his excellent book, please read on and I will explain why I borrowed the headline. If you haven't read the book, I'd thoroughly recommend that you buy and read that, but please read on here first because I believe that what I have to say here is important for everyone.
Borrowing Mike's words again (for the last time I promise; well in this article at least), I hope that if you're reading this page, I can take some basic assumptions for granted:
Climate change is a big deal
We can do something about it
Numbers are important. And so is transparency
You deserve to know everything about the holiday you're booking, right? Do you agree? From what the price is, what's included, where you go and every gram of CO2 emitted along the way. The last part you might not have thought about too much, but there's a cost to it (to the air we breath and the atmosphere which keeps us alive), so don't you want to know what the cost is? A bit like watching your weight, you want to read how many carbs, sugars, fats etc are in the food you buy so you can make a choice about whether to eat it (or whether you need to go out for a run or a cycle to balance the scales). Do you still agree?
Why it matters
A 1.5°C increase in global temperatures will lead to a global shift in our weather patterns and biodiversity. This, in turn, will negatively impact us all from what we eat and what we do. The frightening thing is that we are on course for a 3°C increase. This is a global crisis that requires all of us to act immediately.
The good news is that we have the tools and the know-how to limit warming to 1.5°C. Choosing low carbon lifestyles will accelerate the change we need.
The travel industry's dirty little secret
I am an avid traveller and have been for most of my adult life. I intend to keep travelling too, but I'm aware we need to take care of a problem first (and we have an opportunity to do that more than at any time in the last fifty years).
Most travel companies are not as sustainable as they would like to think. Many businesses talk the talk but do not walk the walk. In this age of fake news, exaggeration and greenwashing, there is an increasing need to be transparent. I don't think that anybody in the travel industry is deliberately trying to create trips that are bad for the planet, but they often don't have the tools to be able to measure or understand the effect, the footprint.
And that's why Natural Britain is committed to showing you the carbon footprint of all the adventures and hotels we offer (and of the carbon footprint of our company). We hope that by doing this you will find it easier to make more informed decisions.
So we've introduced Carbon Labelling on every trip we offer. As far as we know, we're the first UK-wide travel company to show the specific carbon impact of every trip that's on sale. And we hope that many will follow in the future.
For an example of this in more everyday life (e.g. in relation to food), have a read about what Quorn did earlier this year here).
Know your Impact
Ok, so maybe at Natural Britain we have an unfair advantage over long haul travel companies in the zero carbon race. Our outdoor, locally-operated and often human-powered adventures were always going to have a lower carbon footprint. But this is something worth paying attention to and shouting about - and we believe it will be the future of travel. If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we need to rebuild better. For travel, that means celebrating the amazing adventures we have on our doorstep.
Aiming for Zero
Our travel partners in the UK know what makes a real adventure. From wild weekends on the hills using pedal power, to kayaking along our beautiful coastlines in search of secret coves and beaches, they love the outdoors and our natural environment.
That is why we see it as our responsibility to protect it. Even though our trips have low carbon footprints we strive to help our partners to reach zero. We are doing this through education and transparency. We are in this together.
So how do you read a Carbon Label?
We want to give meaning and bring to life how our adventures compare with other holidays and everyday things.
Our adventures average at 8kg CO2e per person per day.
This figure alone may not mean much to you, so here are some things that you can compare it to:
Driving 20 miles in the car: 5.6kg CO2e