Not Just Travel has announced a pledge that profits from every single booking will contribute towards one of five environmental projects.
The homeworking group announced its Climate Heroes initiative, in partnership with Mossy Earth, at its virtual conference today.
Plans were unveiled to support sea otters, which keep biodiversity in balance and maintain kelp forests by eating sea urchins; to conserve and research termites, which reduce desertification in Africa; to help bring back carbon-absorbing pond and forest habitats in the UK; and to restore seagrass environments which lock in carbon.
Not Just Travel is claiming an industry first with the initiative, led by head of sustainable travel Rebecca Woolford.
Co-founders Steve Witt and Paul Harrison said: “This is more than just a tick in the box to say ‘look we’re doing our bit’.
“We know that real and lasting change is needed if we are to save our planet. We all have a duty to restore, protect and preserve this planet we all call home. Our very existence relies on the health of this planet. It’s time for change.
“The Climate Hero Project will be one of the most innovative approaches to the climate and ecological crisis seen in the industry to date, due to the variety of ecosystems each holiday will be supporting and the focus on not just tree planting but also rewilding. Booking a break feels even better every time you go on holiday.
“It’s no secret that the travel industry has been a big contributor to climate change and continues to be. Rather than hide away from this, we want this initiative to inspire other travel companies out there to follow suit, as this is something we should all consider a priority. The Climate Hero initiative is just the beginning.”
Woolford added: “This is so much more than saying ‘I’ve planted a tree, I’ve done my bit’. Although native tree planting is very important, this is about taking bigger action.
“Offsetting projects are the new trendy thing to do, but they simply don’t deliver on all fronts. Instead, they’re a distraction from the real solutions, such as working with nature to lock away excess carbon, restoring ecosystems, rewilding areas and reworking how we do business. To put people and the planet over profit.”
She said NJT’s travel consultants who were part of the pilot have said the initiative has given them “a new energy and passion for their travel business” and received “really positive reactions” from customers.
“It’s great that [customers] know their next holiday will make a real difference,” she said.
The online conference was opened by dame Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, and speakers included Matt Davies, co-founder of Mossy Earth, and his team of conservationists, Holly Tuppen, author of Sustainable Travel: The Ultimate Guide.