Travel Net Zero with us
Net Zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by human activity and the amount removed from the atmosphere through mitigating actions. We reach Net Zero when the amount we emit is no more than the amount removed.
Greenhouse gasses are emitted in almost all aspects of travel. When we fly, stay at hotels, drive cars, ride busses, and when we eat.
We can achieve Net Zero travel by calculating our emissions and removing the same amount or more CO2, than what has been emitted with our travel.
Why should we travel Net Zero?
The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us of our deep affection for travelling, but also shown the world how dependent we all are on the travel industry. There is no doubt that travel will pick up again, but we must travel differently in the future - and we truly believe that this change is possible, by travelling Net Zero.
To have a medium chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and thereby reduce the worst impacts for people and planet, the world can only emit an additional 770 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2), according to the latest report from IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
At the moment we are globally emitting roughly 40 GtCO2 yearly (2019). The report therefore finds that meeting the 1.5 ˚C goal will require carbon removal, a process where we’re actually taking carbon from the atmosphere and storing it.
Did you know that...
Mankind has emitted 900 gigatonnes of CO2 since 1850. At the moment we are globally emitting roughly 40 gigatonnes of CO2 every year. This means that our current climate budget forA limiting global warming to 1.5°C is running out quickly.
From compensation to removal
By now you've probably heard a million explanations of what offsetting actually is, but fundamentally the term offsetting describes two processes of handling CO2; Compensation and removal.
When you compensate CO2, you help someone else avoid emitting the same amount of CO2. In contrast, CO2 removal is when you actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Compensating can consist of buying carbon credits amounting to your emissions. You can buy credits from a plethora of projects such as forest conservation or renewable energy development. You can even put your money into improving cooking stoves.
CO2 removal, however, is when you actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere. If you remove the same amount of CO2 that you have emitted, then your net emissions will be zero, and you will not have contributed more CO2 to that big black cloud of 900 GtCO2 already up there.
You fly from Amsterdam to New York and emit 2 tonnes of CO2 with your flight. If you compensate, you help someone else in the world not to emit an additional 2 tonnes of CO2, but you will still have emitted 2 tonnes of CO2 on your flight.
You emit 2 tonnes, and offset (or compensate)
by avoiding someone elses emission.
Net emission: 2 tonnes CO2
Using the same example of the flight from Amsterdam to New York, if you remove 2 tonnes of CO2, the same amount that you have emitted, then your net emissions will be zero, and you will not have contributed more CO2 to the 900 GtCO2 already up there.
You emit 2 tonnes, and remove (or neutralize)
the same amount by CO2 removal projects.
Net emission: 0 tonnes CO2
...Is compensation all bad?
Let's say you buy carbon credits to support a renewable energy plant in India. Without these credits such a plant might not be built because in many countries it is still cheaper to produce electricity from coal. Therefore, compensation is important for financing the transition to a fossil-free future. Compensation is fundamentally good, but it's not enough.
The problem with compensation is, that it can give us the impression that it is ok to live our lives as we used to and emit just as much as we used to - and that is a scenario the planet simply cannot cope with.
How to remove CO2?
There are numerous ways of removing and storing CO2 from the atmosphere. Some of the newer techniques involve Direct Air Capture, where big machines literally suck CO2 from the air and store it underground. Since this is a new technology, the price pr. ton is still high compared to other techniques, however as the technology advances this will likely play a vital role in our future fight for climate change reversal.
Another technique is soil carbon capture, where CO2 is stored in the soil as a result of farmers not tilling, not using fossil fuel based fertilizers and pesticides and planting cover crops, whose roots and shoots feed bacteria, fungi, earthworms and other soil organisms, which increases soil carbon levels over time.
And then there are trees. Trees use the energy of sunlight, and through the process of photosynthesis they take CO2 from the air and water from the ground. In the process of converting it into wood they release oxygen into the air.
New research estimates that a worldwide planting program could remove two-thirds of the 900 GTCO2 man-made emissions in the atmosphere.
Knowing your emissions is key
When you book a hotel with Goodwings, we calculate the carbon spend of your full trip. Yes, that includes your burger, and the planetrip you booked elsewhere.
You simply fill out your chosen method of transportation, and we will do the rest. Our carbon calculator is also a great learning tool for the green globetrotter, as it will always suggest the least carbon heavy transportation method, and tell you how much every option emits.
You can get into the nitty gritty details of our carbon calculator right here.
How we remove CO2
We have chosen to remove CO2 by planting trees. The reasons are that it is the most cost-effective way of removing CO2, it is highly scalable and we are able to document and verify the actual removal of CO2 ton by ton.
There are many tree planting projects today, but planting a tree is not necessarily the same as removing CO2. First of all, you have to make sure that the trees are properly taken care of and secondly, you need an independent third-party verifier who comes regularly to measure the amount of CO2 stored in the trees. We have therefore chosen to remove CO2 through a tree planting project in Uruguay. A massive area of 23,000 hectares that had been over-grazed by livestock is being turned into major forests. Our carbon removal project is VCS-verified. The VCS Program is the world’s most widely used voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) program.
You can read about our specific VSC-verified tree planting project, right here.
VCS - Verified Carbon Standard
Projects developed under the VCS Program must follow a rigorous assessment process in order to be certified. The most critical thing is to ensure, or verify, that the removal of CO2 from these projects are actually occurring. This is the work of the VCS Program and your guarantee of Net Zero Travel.
But VCS-projects are so expensive?
Yes, planting trees can come as cheap as $0,1 per tree, and since one tree can store up to 300 kgs of CO2 as it grows in 25 years, you can argue that 3 such trees will remove roughly 1 ton of CO2. Right? If the trees survive, yes.
The backside of the cheap tree planting projects is that many are being planted without proper care and water. Even if the trees are cared for, you will still have to wait 25 years for it to reach it's full CO2 removal potential. Do you feel that waiting 25 years is good enough? We don’t.
We invest only in high-quality, expensive VCS-verified tree planting projects, where it’s less about tree planting and more about verified removal of CO2. When we buy credits, it’s always “ex-post” credits, which is your guarantee that the CO2 has already been removed, not that it could be removed in the next 25 years. The removal of 1 ton of CO2 in such a VCS-verified tree planting project can cost up to $20. We think it's worth it.
How can we afford it?
It’s quite simple. We spend much less on advertising. Our competitors, the major travel platforms, spend all together approx. $40bn yearly on Google, Facebook and TV ads.
With a climate crisis luring we believe this money is better spent on protecting our planet, rather than paying for more annoying ads. So, by cutting down on ads, we can afford to pay for verified carbon removal on behalf of our clients.
You get the same hotels at comparable rates, with an extra little something.. You get to travel Net Zero!