Sustainable Holiday Travel Guide

Ready or not, the holiday season is here! We know traveling is a big part of this time of year, so our staff have pulled together some tips to consider for sustainable travel planning!

  1. Consider alternatives to flying. For short flights (2-3 hours or less) see if a train, bus, or carpool in an efficient vehicle can get you where you need to go instead. France banned short flights as of April 2022.
  2. If you do fly, fly direct, pack light, and consolidate trips. If you have a choice of carrier, Alaska, Delta, and United have developed robust sustainability programs.
  3. If you can, choose an offset to purchase with a project that carries a Gold Standard or Verra certification:
    • Step 1: Figure out the estimated GHG emissions of your flight. Check Google Flights, then round up because they don’t consider some of the high-altitude factors that increase aviation emissions. You can also narrow your search to flights with fewer emissions!
    • Step 2: Choose your offsets project and ensure it carries one or more of the following certifications or standards.
      1. Gold Standard for the Global Goals. Purchase through the Gold Standard’s registry or the UN Carbon Offsets Platform (narrow search to Gold Standard-certified projects).
      2. Verra’s Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards (CCBS) verifies that offsets projects advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
      3. Verra’s Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta) certifies co-benefits for land-based offsets projects such as protecting endangered species and promoting community access to health and education.
    • Why? The Gold Standard and Verra’s two standards exceed UN requirements for ensuring progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have strong monitoring, reporting, and verification protocols in place to meet offsets criteria (real, permanent, additional, not double-counted, leakage accounted for), and are more likely to center the needs and interests of vulnerable communities. While all offsets projects should be evaluated individually before purchase, forestry, soil carbon, biomass, and direct air capture projects appear more likely to meet offsets criteria, particularly if the needs and interests of vulnerable communities are centered in the project’s mission.
  4. Any due diligence I should do before I purchase? Yes! See if the project description includes any information on monitoring and verification. Do they talk about benefits to local communities? Do you get the sense that the project will actually offset emissions? Go with your gut, if the project lacks information or seems too good to be true, try something else.
  5. Decide if you need to travel at all! Consider connecting with family and friends virtually this year or celebrating with those close to home.

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