Edward Hanrahan, CLIMATECARE

We all know that flight emissions cause climate change. There's plenty of advice about how we as consumers or businesses can reduce the amount we travel and choose lower impact options. There are also an increasing number of travel companies that specialise in providing more sustainable options, but alongside these, what practical action can the mainstream travel sector take?

Offsetting carbon emissions is currently the only recognised way for a business to take responsibility for their unavoidable carbon footprint. As Forum for the Future founder Jonathon Porritt said last month "Investing in high quality carbon and development projects, like those that ClimateCare offers, should be an essential part of the CSR and carbon management strategy of every responsible business".

Lastminute.com is a good example of a mainstream travel company leading the way on this issue. For many years they have offset their own operational footprint and used their skills and expertise to encourage customers to do the same and offset emissions from their flights.

"It's not easy," says Amanda Cumine, Director of Communications at lastminute.com. "Originally we made offsetting flights standard, something you had to opt out of, but in line with best practice we've now had to make it an opt in, which of course has an impact on take up. Consumers want booking a flight to be as simple as possible, and we applied that principle to the offsetting from the outset by including it in the booking


To date lastminute.com customers have offset a staggering 100,000 tonnes of CO2, that's the equivalent to taking 30,000 cars off the road for a year. "By offsetting through climate and development experts ClimateCare, our customers' money supports innovative projects that both cut carbon and improve people's lives" continues Cumine.

One project lastminute.com support is the award winning LifeStraw Carbon for Water project. Recent research from Gold Standard shows that for every tonne of CO2 offset through projects like this, $117 tonnes of health benefits are delivered to local communities.

The team at ClimateCare are no strangers to helping businesses (and individuals through their online calculator) take practical and immediate action to protect the environment and improve lives. In fact, it has just won a Queen's Award for Sustainable Development for its work with partners; work which has cut over 16.5 million tonnes of CO2 and improved the lives of 6 million people through its climate and development projects.

- If you're flying, make sure you offset your flight
-" If your airline doesn't offer it -" ask them to get in touch with the International Air Transport Association to talk about offering their scheme.
-" Choose a responsible businesses like lastminute.com if you're an individual, or Portman if you're a business. They make it easy to offset your flights through high quality climate and development projects
-" And if you want to offset your business emissions, get in touch with ClimateCare the climate and development experts.

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Climate and development experts ClimateCare work with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), providing an off the shelf offset scheme for its members. They also provide bespoke support to hundreds of travel and other businesses. ClimateCare is also the partner of choice for sustainability leaders including Forum for the Future. Find out more at www.climatecare.org

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