Nature Air isn't satisfied with merely being the world's first carbon-neutral airline: by 2021, the company hopes to be "carbon-positive," actually taking CO2 out of the atmosphere. While the carrier is sourcing locally produced biofuels and using biodiesel to power its ground operations, the centerpiece of Nature Air's efforts is its ongoing purchase of carbon credits, which offer funds to Costa Rican landowners who have agreed to conserve the tropical forests of the Osa Peninsula. It's a corporate ethos that addresses global concerns by investing in local communities.
Nature Air has been awarded Travel + Leisure's Global Vision Award 2011 (Eco Travel Category). The award recognizes innovation in tourism, honoring those who provide "journeys that enrich the destinations you travel through."
Travel + Leisure magazine announced on Oct. 19, 2011, that tour operator Austin-Lehman Adventures (ALA) is a recipient of its 2011 Global Vision Award. ALA is the active travel company setting adventure vacations standards in The Americas, Europe, Africa and most recently, Cuba. The award in the category of corporate innovation and community development recognizes the Austin-Lehman-driven program called Wheels of Change that from a collection center in Billings, Montana, receives used bicycles for eventual delivery to African villages.
In this article "Go Green And Give 'Em Something To Talk About: An Open Letter To Marketers" (published by MediaPost Communications, October 24th, 2011), Vicky Hastings, Managing Director of Maxwell PR, shares: "At the recent Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference, I was privy to conversations with enthusiastic resort and travel destination sustainability officers wondering how to convince their company's old school marketing managers to embrace the not-so-new green world."
Call to Action: Start by Sharing
Urging marketers to learn from leaders in green travel and sustainable tourism fields, Hastings shares the following suggestions for marketers to get started and to keep the momentum going:
Newest Addition to Green Initiatives by Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island
Waste Stream Management, Inc. has begun a pilot project to use an all-electric Jeep to pick up Sea Pines Resort's recycling waste in their single stream recycling program. The vehicle was developed by Paul Wolfe and Mike Brewer in Charlotte, North Carolina. According to Mr. Brewer, the purpose for developing an all-electric vehicle was to show that one could create an affordable alternative to the high-priced electric vehicles that are currently on the market.
The cost for the base model of the all-electric vehicle is approximately $17,000. The benefits of owning the electric Jeep include no polluting emissions, lower maintenance costs, and the cost to fill up is less than two dollars per day.
Nature Air is a regional airline flying to 13 tourism destinations in Costa Rica, with 2 international routes to neighboring destinations of Managua, Nicaragua and Bocas del Toro, Panama. The airline gained international fame in 2004 when it took steps to become the world's first certified carbon neutral airline, by working together with the local Environmental Ministry to create a carbon compensation program through reforestation and conservation in the country's most bio-diverse regions. Since then, Nature Air has followed its pledge to compensate for 100% of the carbon emissions derived from fuel burned by its planes.
The panel on "Mainstream Goes Green: Many Shades of Green" (Monday, Sept 19th) at the upcoming Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) will address, through case studies from various organizations and destinations, questions such as: What does it mean for mass tourism to go green? What should be appropriate and realistic goals? One of the speakers on this panel is Jerusha Greenwood, Assistant Professor in the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration department at California Polytechnic State University. She will present on "Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism Marketing - A California Case Study", focusing on the state of California’s work with tourism businesses and sustainability practices. See the interview below with Jerusha to get a glimpse of the issues and questions that she will address at the conference.
At this year’s Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), the session "Win-Win Partnerships: Connect Locally, Grow Globally" (Wednesday, Sept 21) will highlight examples of effective approaches to partnerships (choosing partners, working with partners, growing with partners) that not only facilitate sustainability goals for tourism companies, but also help strengthen the company's brand through a global network of local partnerships.
Ethan Gelber, one of the speakers for the above session, is the media and communications manager for WHL Group, athe largest local-travel company in the world and a great example of driving business through local and global partnerships. Ethan will share examples and stories from the WHL Group of companies, and strategies for selecting, working with, supporting and growing together with local and global partners. Here is a "sneak preview" of the stories and lessons that he will discuss at the ESTC!
Clean the World Delivers Recycled Soap to Saves Lives
Every day in North America, thousands of hotels discard millions of pounds of soap and shampoo. These products often end up in already overflowing landfills and contaminate fragile groundwater systems. Impoverished people around the world, on the other hand, die every day from acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease because they have no soap. The death toll is staggering. Each year more than five million lives are lost to these diseases with the majority of deaths being among children less than five years old. Studies have shown that simple hand washing substantially reduces the spread of these diseases. Unfortunately, the essential items for proper hand washing are unobtainable for millions of people worldwide.