ABTA launches carbon offset initiativeTravellers will be able to fund energy projects

29 September 2007

Airport sign directing travellers to the terminal.

The travel industry has launched an initiative to give travellers information on how to reduce their carbon emissions.

Reduce My Footprint allows businesses and consumers the chance to offset their carbon emissions such as air travel and car use.

The scheme, led by ABTA, uses a carbon calculator to work out an individual’s carbon footprint and they can then choose how much they want to contribute towards offsetting and different energy projects.

It's promised the money raised will be invested in schemes certified under the Kyoto Protocol, such as a wind farm project in India, and part will go to the Travel Foundation an independent UK charity that helps the outbound travel industry manage tourism more sustainably.

Other money will go to an uncertified project in South Africa which gives low-income families information on how to make more fuel efficient fires for cooking in order to reduce carbon emissions.

Travel industry

The Reduce My Footprint supervisory board say that administration charges are expected to be less than 20%.

Jonathon Porritt, founder director, Forum for the Future said: “It's great that the travel industry is helping its customers to seriously think about their impacts when they go on holiday. Reduce My Footprint is a good starting point for tourists who want to understand the issues, particularly climate change, and start to do something about them.'

Keith Richards, from ABTA, said: 'Signing up to Reduce My Footprint shows your leadership in addressing the climate impact of travel. It helps to differentiate your business by offering a real opportunity for customers to do something personally and it gives you information and advice to help stay ahead of the game while protecting destinations for the future.'

Commenting on the launch Paul Blackman, of Holiday Which? said: ‘While carbon offsetting is useful it is worth bearing in mind that offsetting cannot wipe out your carbon footprint totally. Environmentalists recommend that we fly as little as possible and cycle, use public transport or walk once at our destination.’