Our Environmental Responsibility project focuses on both understanding and mitigating the impact that we are having on the environment. The most direct way we achieve that, is through taking accountability for the damage we are causing.
We have been working alongside an environmental consultancy to learn and make the necessary changes to do more. For those of us who are luck enough to enjoy beautiful environments we must continue to innovate and improve to safe guard them for the next generation.
To start, the first step is to always understand the baseline so that decisions and improvements can be made from there onwards. As a team, we identified all of the activities that we execute as a business that had some environmental impact associated with them. These spanned across scope 1, 2 & 3 emission types, with a total of 98% falling into the scope 3 category, meaning that Adventure Base had no direct control over them but were still accountable nonetheless.
- Scope 1 emissions: This covers emissions from sources that an organisation owns or controls directly. For example, the emissions caused by transferring clients to and from the mountains, or the lifts used while on one of our trips.
- Scope 2 emissions: These are emissions that a company causes indirectly and come from where the energy it purchases and uses is produced. For example, the emissions caused from our offices.
- Scope 3 emissions: This encompasses emissions that are not produced by the company itself and are not the result of activities from assets owned or controlled by them, but by those that it’s indirectly responsible for up and down its value chain. For example, the flights the clients use to get to these trips.
We calculated the emissions using the GHG Protocol framework, a globally recognised carbon accounting framework that helps to quantify the different emission types with industry standard indexes, thus giving us a reliable and accurate total emissions number.
We have also taken the time to calculate the average emissions for each of our trips that we offer, whether you are a customer from the Americas or Europe, you will now be able to see the total emissions you are creating and thus we hope more of our clients will opt into our sustainability donation at checkout!
As of last year (2022) , Adventure Base contributed a total of 373 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, whether that be emissions from office heating, staff travel or the emissions associated with our clients that come on our adventures.
From here we now understood the baseline impact that the business was having and could then start to inform decisions about setting reduction targets and as a business deciding how we were going to responsibly offset those emissions.
Reduction targets for a small business can be challenging. A lot of the emissions that fell into scope 1 & 2, directly produced by Adventure Base, were also essential to its operations. For example office heating, which is a challenging thing to reduce when in a shared office space and being in the mountains during winter. One of the biggest reduction targets we have put in place is that of the merchandise, which is ordered in bulk from the far east. Going forward, alternative more local merchandise providers are being investigated, which will help reduce emissions significantly.
Part of our environmental responsibility pledge is to also offset our business emissions across scope 1, 2 & 3 in a responsible manner. As a team we all contributed towards this, with a shortlist of suitable responsible offset schemes, the vote was cast and a winner revealed, being The Juniper Trust.
The Juniper Trust is based in Nepal and helps local communities through the planting of fruit trees. The benefits are twofold, firstly they give an additional income stream for local farmers and communities as once planted, the trees are gifted to locals. Secondly, there is an associated carbon sink with the fruit trees themselves, so by investing in the scheme, Adventure Base is creating better social opportunities whilst also offsetting carbon emissions.
Utilising figures provided by the Juniper Trust, we now have an understanding of the financial cost needed to ensure Adventure Base is Net-Zero going forward.
It’s common knowledge that scope 3 emissions are a challenge for any business but that is particularly apparent within the travel industry, with alternatives to flying just not being where they need to be in order to be a viable travel choice. We introduced the sustainability trip fee to help mitigate our scope 3 emissions further and thus creating the ‘better business’ fund.
As a team we agreed that for each trip that a client went on, a £10 fee would be charged automatically, and that amount goes into our better business fund. The fund itself is purely for social value & environmental initiatives that Adventure Base invests into with the use of this fund, thus creating a broader positive impact as a result of their investment choices.
We have talked at length with the team about how this money will be used, with a portion going to the Juniper Trust but then also looking a bit closer to home within the Alps. Investing in local infrastructure such as the many mountain huts which facilitate the adventures we have, helping them in turn to be more sustainable through the purchasing of solar panels, compostable toilets etc.
We have also introduced an additional voluntary donation, which clients can opt into when they are checking out for their trip on the Adventure Base website. This again is put into the ‘better business’ fund and then reinvested responsibly into initiatives that aim to better the planet and people.
Amongst other things, we have also taken on a couple of smaller projects in an effort to better the visibility we give to our clients and to also bring better education around the impacts that humans are having both on and off the mountains when they come on Adventure Base trips, with suggestions as to how they can be mitigated.
We started a sustainability journal page on our website, where you can read monthly updates and see the journey we’ve been through over the past 18 months. The aim of this is to give total visibility of the choices we have made and the rationale behind them and I think it’s important to highlight that this is very much a learning process for the business as well as our clients. (You can read that here)
We have also implemented some downloadable PDFs, which give information about the local wildlife and plants, with a focus on how to practise better mountain etiquette, for instance taking your toilet paper with you and not wandering off the trails!