We are dedicated to demonstrating our commitment to corporate social and environmental responsibility and have implemented two major environmental programs: a comprehensive Offsetting Policy and an Office Environmental Policy. Airline travel accounts for a significant amount of all greenhouse gas emissions and we recognize that our industry must be more accountable for the CO2 or greenhouse gas emissions associated with our business activities if we are to remain an environmentally responsible corporation.
What is "Carbon Neutral"?
Climate change is a serious problem, caused primarily by the carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas. The only long-term solution to climate change involves stabilizing global levels of greenhouse gases (GHG) by making deep, absolute emission reductions in every sector of our economy. However, it will take time to build a new economy based on sustainable energy use, and one of the transition strategies is going ‘carbon neutral’: making all reductions currently possible, and then using carbon offsets to address remaining emissions. Going carbon neutral is a way to take responsibility for the GHG we create every time we drive our cars, take a plane or turn on our computers. Here’s how it works: if you add polluting emissions to the atmosphere, you can effectively subtract them by purchasing what are known as “carbon offsets”. Carbon offsets are simply credits for emission reductions achieved elsewhere by projects such as wind farms or solar installations. You can purchase some of these reductions and use them to cancel your own emissions. The result is that you have no net impact on the climate.
Why Go Carbon Neutral?
Although the best thing for the environment is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions instead of offsetting them, at present it is impossible to reduce emissions to zero. Purchasing offsets is a practical and inexpensive way to compensate for emissions that otherwise wouldn’t be addressed. In addition, purchasing high quality carbon offsets such as those from sustainable energy projects helps make these projects economically competitive with fossil fuels, and supports the transition to a sustainable energy economy.
North South Travel’s Carbon Emission Offsetting Program
North South Travel has teamed up with Offsetters , to provide us a link to a “carbon calculator”. This adds a simple procedure at the time of booking your travel arrangements that will allow you to determine the carbon emitted from your flight and voluntarily fund a renewable energy project to offset it.
Purchase Carbon Credits
Click here to purchase online
North South Travel Environmental Policy [PDF]
For example, should a traveller want to go ‘carbon neutral’ they can offset the carbon emissions produced by their trip through Offsetters, who in turn put the money into a project that will save the same amount of carbon emissions through energy efficiency means (efficient light-bulbs) or energy renewable projects (wind turbines, land fill remediation, solar).The company’s projects are structured in accordance with guidelines set out by bodies such as the United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Gold Standard and are monitored by a third party to verify that they offset the amount specified.
- Why is there so much focus much on air travel?
Because air travel currently accounts for about 2% of global GHG emissions and is increasing by roughly 3% every year. To make matters worse, the altitude at which airplanes emit greenhouse gases, water vapour, and other compounds makes them particularly damaging to the planet.
While the per kilometre emissions (per traveller) of a jet plane are not dramatically higher than a car, one return cross-continent trip is close to the distance the average car travels in a year. Plane travel allows us to live a global lifestyle, but it also comes with truly global consequences.
How does Offsetters calculate flight offsets?
Offsetters uses emissions factors provided by UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in its “2009 Guidelines to DEFRA / DECC’s GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting”. To these emission factors, Offsetters applies both a radiative forcing factor as recommended by Oxford University and the UK DEFRA and an uplift factor from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, “Aviation and the Global Atmosphere” is applied to take into account non-direct routes (i.e. not along the straight line great circle distances between destinations) and delays/circling.
Is flying the only activity to be concerned about?
No—there are many other activities that release GHG emissions. Heating our homes, driving cars, using electricity generated by fossil fuels, and many industrial processes are all major sources of emissions.
How do I start to make a difference?
The approach is the same for both organizations and individuals. It’s simple:
- Understand your carbon footprint
- Reduce emissions wherever possible
- Offset direct carbon emissions that cannot be reduced or eliminated
How much does offsetting cost?
Offsetting a short haul flight (up to five hours) costs approximately CAD$5-$7. For longer haul flights the offset cost ranges from approximately $15-$25 dollars depending on the length of your flight. Please use the carbon calculator for exact amounts.
Office Environmental Policy
At North South Travel, decreasing our environmental footprint is an ongoing project in which the entire NST team takes part. Our office policy includes:
Reducing and Offsetting Our Own Emissions
We are leading by example by offsetting all of our own business air travel. Every business flight taken by NST staff will be offset by carbon credit purchases with Offsetters.
Recycling & Waste Reduction
- Minimize waste by continually evaluating operations and ensuring they are as efficient as possible;
- Actively promote the use of technology instead of paper both internally and amongst our customers and suppliers;
- Encourage our customers to purchase carbon offset credits through our website link for both business and leisure travel;
- Meet or exceed all the environmental regulations for our industry;
- Provide transit credits for our employees who walk, ride or take transit to work;
- Ensure environmentally appropriate sourcing of products we use;
- Ensure recycling bins are available and accessible in all office areas;
- Practice efficient copying/printing (i.e. double sided printing);
- Reducing the number of duplicate subscriptions to trade journals, periodicals and magazines;
- Donation of old computers and other electronic equipment to charities for re-use where possible and to proper recycling when not possible;
- Use of washable dishes (rather than paper or plastic) throughout the office and large recyclable containers instead of individual creamers in office kitchen areas
THROUGH RECYCLING AT WORK IN 2014 WE DIVERTED: 1,228 KGS OF WASTE (CARBON CREDIT = 4.2 TONNES). WE HAVE HELPED TO SAVE 33,447LOF WATER, 21 TREES AND 5,175kwh OF ELECTRICITY!
Regular light bulbs have been replaced with energy efficient LED lights – see more information in our LiveSmart BC section.
Computers, radios & other machines will be turned off when not in use. Standby and energy save modes will be used when not feasible to switch off.
Heating is switched off in summer, at weekends and on holidays. Computers, radios & other machines will be turned off when not in use. Standby and energy save modes will be used when not feasible to switch off.
Suppliers have been contacted to ensure they have similar environmental initiatives in place and that we are recycling or using energy efficient products wherever possible including lighting, carpeting, stationary & toner cartridges. All cleaning supplies are environmentally friendly.
LIVESMART BC GRANT
In 2003, North South Travel purchased the heritage building at the corner of 10th and Alma, converting the former TD Bank building, built in the early 1920’s, into a functional and attractive home for our staff to work in and for our clients to visit.
As with any “grand old building” now approaching 100 years of age, our new home had its quirks; including original windows on the upper story that were single pane and not sitting well in their old frames allowing the wind to blow in through the cracks and the heat to escape.
In 2012, North South Travel took advantage of a City of Vancouver initiative to provide consultative services from a Business Energy Advisor. The result of that consultation was a report outlining key areas where North South could best invest our resources to save energy and reduce costs.
Our old upper story windows were an obvious target for upgrade. Additional recommendations were made to standardize our lighting throughout the office and replace it with energy efficient LED lamps and to install motion activated lighting in our less used areas.
Subsequent to our energy consultation, we were made aware of the LiveSmart BC: Small Business Champion program. We submitted a proposal incorporating the replacement of our upper story windows, upgrading our lighting to LED bulbs, installing motion sensors and developing an educational program on energy efficient practices for our staff.
We are pleased to report that our application was approved and we received $15,179.25 from the Province of British Columbia to help us implement our energy saving Champion Project.
We are one of 12 BC small businesses to receive Championship funding totaling $244,415 to develop creative methods to save energy.
Our energy savings project was made possible by provincial funding provided through the LiveSmart BC: Small Business Champion Program. Our project is estimated to save a minimum of 20% of our current energy consumption.
Have a look at the window replacement as it happened: