The last few years of living through a pandemic has shown not only how vulnerable we are but how connected as well, an issue half a world away is soon on our own doorstep changing the way we live. It is no secret that climate change is happening and is accelerating as we fast approach key tipping points of no return. Climate change is a global problem that will effect us, and most importantly for me, our children and their future. We all need to look at what we can do as custodians of this beautiful planet in order to reduce our impact.
So that’s the problem, “what can I do to help?” is the question that I kept asking myself.
Working in the travel and accommodation sector for longer than I prefer to admit has shown me the invaluable part travel plays in our lives – connecting people with each other and experiences, quenching that human thirst for social interaction and expanding our horizons and minds. And it is that outward looking interest and care of others (and other places) that we need to combat climate change.
However, my work has also lifted the lid on the damage travel does, from the well know emissions from transport to the less known emissions from the intricacies of running accommodation. Holiday accommodation uses a lot of energy, sometimes emotional energy but mainly a lot of carbon producing energy from the heating through to the cleaner’s commute to the property and all in between. I wanted to be able to offer our guests the option of offsetting the impact of their stay but wasn’t able to. Yes there are some travel offset companies for flights etc but nothing aimed at the accommodation sector, this peaked my interest so I took myself back to school (metaphorically) to learn all I could.
This could be my way to make a difference, what if I could create a tool that would accurately allow guests to calculate the impact of their trip that included detail down to even what time of year they were staying as this would effect the energy used (Winter in UK would use more energy for heating than Summer in the UK for example). After a lot of research, calculations, spreadsheets and creating a database of average temperatures for every country in the world(!) the Stay Green carbon calculator was created. This allows travellers to accurately calculate the impact of their trip and pay to rebalance this by way of Stay Green putting the funds raised into certified carbon capture, carbon reduction and carbon replace schemes.
Of course with most things in life there are bumps in the road and it seems that a number of charlatans have used our fear of climate change to make a ‘quick buck’. This has meant that to some carbon offsetting has a negative stigma. This is not Stay Green – funds only go towards certified offset projects that meet the standards set by independent organisations such as the United Nations, Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard. Stay Green is in the process of applying for B-Corporation status (if you won’t know about this – look it up, it’s a very good thing that consumers should look for when buying products and services) and Stay Green has all of its accounts audited by independent chartered accountants. Everything we say goes into offsetting, 100% does and the schemes do make a difference.
There has to be more though?, this is why Stay Green is not just about the one stay its about ‘staying’ green. What if travel could become a vehicle for changing habits and the products that people use. By promoting genuine eco-friendly products to be used in accommodation and the preparation of accommodation, Stay Green helps reduce carbon emissions but also reducing toxic chemicals being released into our waterways and the amount of waste being produced. If people staying take away one good habit or change one product they use then the positive impact grows and can be shared.
This is why Stay Green.