Empowering Communities, Restoring Nature: Planeterra’s Impactful Initiatives

Written by Thomas Armitt – Global Manager, Projects & Partnerships, Planeterra

From the air we breathe to the food we rely on, biodiversity is essential for life on Earth. Moreover, without biodiversity, tourism simply would not exist, and communities around the world would not be able to harness its benefits.

It is no secret that biodiversity is sadly under threat, but we don’t want to dive into that. Instead, we want to take action and play our part, doing what we do best: using tourism to change lives.

Planeterra believes that community tourism can be a powerful tool to help address the climate and biodiversity crisis. So, in today’s blog, we’ll explore three game-changing initiatives that allow us to support the work that communities around the world are doing to protect, restore, and manage their environment. Let’s get into it!

Soa Zara Ranohira, Madagascar

Innovating for Change: Climate & Biodiversity Initiative

Picture this: communities partnering up with tourism enterprises to tackle the impacts of climate change. That’s the essence of Planeterra’s Climate & Biodiversity Initiative.

Through this initiative, we’re not just looking to offset carbon footprints; we want to develop grassroots solutions that make a long-lasting, tangible impact. For this, we’re working hand-in-hand with our community partners to create life-changing experiences that can be woven into the fabric of tourism.

Imagine trekking through lush forests, guided by a community member who intimately understands the land. The aim of these experiences is for travellers to go beyond just being visitors to a place, and instead become participants in something much larger—a movement toward a more positive future for all.

Rooted in Resilience: Tree Growing Initiative

Communities at the forefront of climate change often face its impacts most severely and disproportionately. That’s where Planeterra’s Tree Growing Initiative comes in. Our mission with this initiative is simple yet powerful: “Growing Trees to Uplift Communities.”

We see trees as more than just symbols of biodiversity regeneration; they’re lifelines for communities facing uncertain futures. This is evident through the many benefits of growing trees: healthier ecosystems, food security, water security, and improved defences against soil erosion, flooding, and drought.

At Planeterra, we believe that by planting the right trees in the right places and for the right reasons, we can help communities build sustainable livelihoods, improve their well-being, and become more resilient to the growing impacts of climate change.

It’s a win-win situation that positively impacts both people and the planet. 

We’re immensely proud to say that, to date, we’ve grown over 2 million trees in partnership with G Adventures and Flight Centre, and we collaborate with Reforest to monitor our progress and achievements with this initiative.

Nature-Positive Tourism: Investing in Communities

Nature-positive community tourism is not just about minimizing harm; it’s about actively investing in the well-being of Indigenous communities and the environments they call home.

Through this initiative, Planeterra is working alongside communities to help them integrate a nature-positive approach to the experiences they offer. From protecting animal welfare to reconnecting people with nature, every aspect of these experiences is designed to leave a positive impact.

The goal is to uplift communities and help travellers become stewards of the environment and advocates for social justice, forging meaningful connections and leaving a legacy of positive change.

So, What Can You Do to Get Involved?

As travellers, we hold immense responsibility and our choices matter. Let’s choose our adventures wisely! Opt for trips that prioritize responsible travel and uplifting communities. If you need advice on that, get in touch with Planeterra! We’re happy to support you on your journey to becoming a more responsible traveller.

Also, spread the word about Planeterra’s initiatives and the impact we’re creating and working to amplify. But most importantly, take action in your own life to reduce your impact on nature and guarantee a thriving planet for future generations. 

Remember that the only way to protect and restore biodiversity is by working together and playing our part.

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Navigating the Climate Challenge: Our Commitment to Carbon Footprint Reduction and Biodiversity Restoration

Written by Thomas Armitt – Global Manager, Projects & Partnerships, Planeterra

In an era marked by environmental challenges, responsible organizations are taking the lead in understanding and mitigating their carbon footprint. Planeterra, a community tourism enterprise development organization, stands at the forefront of this movement.

Let’s delve into how Planeterra calculates its carbon footprint, why it’s committed to this initiative, and the importance of understanding and acting upon these metrics.

Plant with Purpose Tanzania

What is Planeterra’s carbon footprint?

Planeterra, in collaboration with eCollective, embarked on a journey to quantify and understand its carbon footprint through a robust methodology aligned with best practices. Following the guidelines set by UN Tourism for carbon footprint calculation, we strategically chose the year 2019 as our baseline, representing our organizational activities post-COVID.

The results are telling: our carbon footprint for 2019 stood at 108,638 kg CO2e, providing a snapshot of our pre-pandemic impact. Fast forward to 2022, and our measured carbon footprint was 43,161 kg CO2e. We have recently finalized measuring our carbon footprint for 2023, and we are pleased to announce that there has been a 25% decrease in our emissions compared to 2022, with a total of 32,235 kg CO2e

This calculation not only serves as a quantitative benchmark but also underscores our commitment to transparency, sustainability, and continuous improvement. Planeterra’s partnership with eCollective empowers us to take informed steps toward reducing our environmental impact and aligning our operations with global sustainability goals.

How are we calculating our carbon footprint?

Planeterra’s comprehensive carbon footprint audit encompasses various facets of its operations. The following areas are scrutinized:

  • Office emissions: Examining the environmental impact of the physical office space.
  • Working from home emissions: Assessing the carbon footprint associated with remote work.
  • Staff business travel: Including accommodation-related emissions.
  • Staff commuting: Gauging the carbon impact of daily travel to and from work.
  • Miscellaneous: Encompassing various factors like accommodation, transport, activities, and food.

What’s not included in the audit are optional extras, investments, website, merchandise, waste, events, brochures & publications.

Why are we doing that?

Alignment with Global Goals: Planeterra is committed to decarbonizing its operations in line with the United Nations’ goal of achieving a net-zero society by 2050.

Climate Emergency Declaration: Signatories to the Glasgow Declaration on Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, Planeterra aims to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. The focus extends beyond carbon reduction to regenerating biodiversity and collaborating with stakeholders for a net-zero tourism industry.

Community-Centric Approach: As a community tourism enterprise development organization, Planeterra recognizes the importance of supporting our community in innovating climate and biodiversity crisis solutions that lead to enhanced adaptability and resilience to the impacts of climate change.

What do we aim to do?

Focus on Key Emission Sources: Prioritizing emissions from working from home and travel-related activities, Planeterra acknowledges the unique nature of its field-based work.

Travel Emission Reduction: Mitigating travel emissions through science-based targets, emphasizing online meetings, and ensuring any necessary travel contributes positively to organizational goals.

Innovative Climate-Biodiversity Initiative: continuing the development of our tree-growing initiative, which emphasizes direct benefits to communities, contributing to resilience, well-being, and biodiversity restoration.

Partnerships for Impact: Collaborating with tourism companies and third-party organizations to finance and scale their Climate-Biodiversity initiatives, exploring financial incentives for communities, such as carbon finance and biodiversity credits.

Continuous Improvement

Planeterra acknowledges the dynamic nature of climate and biodiversity challenges and the significant positive impact that grassroots solutions can provide to the communities we work with. A commitment to continuously reviewing and updating our mitigation strategy ensures the integration of relevant activities into our core operations for the foreseeable future.

In conclusion, Planeterra’s journey toward carbon footprint reduction and biodiversity restoration is not merely a commitment but a tangible, action-oriented initiative. By aligning our operations with global sustainability goals and prioritizing community resilience, Planeterra exemplifies how organizations can be catalysts for positive change in the face of environmental challenges.

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