At Better Places, we believe that every little helps, and small changes can ultimately make a big difference. That is why we decided to stop waiting for governments and regulatory bodies to implement regulations on CO2 emissions in aviation, and decided to do what we can – right now. We have started to impose a voluntary carbon tax on ourselves and are investing the proceeds in sustainable energy projects. Here is why we opted for a voluntary flight tax, how we do it and what exactly happens with the funds.
A fair price
We all know that flying is bad for the environment. That is why we choose to offset the CO2 emissions of all trips booked at Better Places. We work together with the South Pole Group to make this possible, and invest in a Gold Standard project that supplies clean cooking stoves in Ghana. Although every little helps, we believe that CO2 offsetting does not go far enough. We pay around €5 per traveller to offset the CO2 emissions of the entire trip (including the flight). According to Stanford University, the actual climate damage is closer to €200 per ton of CO2. The price of voluntary offsetting is far too low.
Flying has become so cheap that other means of transport simply cannot compete. A flight tax could change that. It would make tickets more expensive, hopefully resulting in increased investments towards making the airline industry more sustainable. And while aviation is currently responsible for only 2% of global CO2 emissions, the sector is growing so fast that in 2050 it is predicted to be responsible for one fifth of the total emissions. The time to act is now, and we simply won’t achieve the climate goals set out by the Paris Agreement with offsetting alone.
Voluntary CO2 tax
Let’s face it, nobody wants to pay more for their airline tickets. But what may seem like a punishment now, can prove to be a reward in the long run. We at Better Places believe that a flight tax can play a significant role in increasing investment towards more sustainable solutions for aviation. Flying less and at a greater cost now means that we can travel in more sustainable aircrafts in the future. With all that in mind, we chose to impose a voluntary CO2 tax on ourselves. We started in 2018 with €5 per traveller, €7,50 in 2019 and in 2020 we will increase that amount to €10 per traveller. The traveller pays nothing extra. We invest the total amount in sustainable energy projects; helping to speed up the energy transition along the way.
Investing in sustainable energy projects
In 2017 we invested 5000 euros in wind energy. In 2018 we invested €20,000 in a solar panel project. In 2019 we have so far invested €20,000 in energy projects via LendaHand. This is a social enterprise that gives people the opportunity to invest in companies in developing countries. For example, we have invested in the construction of solar energy in remote areas in Cameroon, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Mozambique. We also invested in projects closer to home, such as the Tegmento sunroof in Friesland where 5,632 solar panels were installed.
In addition to the voluntary CO2 tax, we do even more to minimize the negative impact of our journeys. We encourage direct flights, which sometimes saves up to 50% in CO2 emissions. All our itineraries offer as many alternatives as possible for domestic flights. We compensate the CO2 emissions of all our journeys – including the flight that the traveller books themselves. Since 2019, we also offer adventure tours in (eastern) Europe. We encourage customers to travel far less often and to travel longer.
Positive impact of travel
It is not all bad news in tourism. The travel industry provides 10% of employment worldwide. Especially in emerging economies, travel can offer entire communities a chance for a better future. Travel offers a direct source of income to often disenfranchised populations, and directly funds nature preservation projects in many areas. We help our travellers to have the greatest possible positive impact on travel.
Founder Better Places Travel
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