Expedia rolls out carbon offset program for corporate travellers
In what it says is a first for the global corporate travel industry, Expedia Corporate Travel has begun offering its clients a carbon offset program. The company has joined forces with TerraPass, a retailer of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction projects, to offer environmentally-conscious businesses the ability both to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) their employees' business travel creates and to buy the corresponding amount of carbon offsets to balance it.
In addition to making the new program available to its corporate travel customers globally, Expedia Corporate Travel has pledged to make its own travel program carbon-neutral by the end of the year through the purchase of TerraPass carbon offsets.
As of April 1, 2007, Expedia Corporate Travel customers can purchase TerraPass carbon offsets. By doing so, companies and individual travelers can sponsor measured, verified reductions in GHG emissions directly proportional to the emissions created by their airline flights. TerraPass uses the proceeds to fund clean energy projects, such as wind farms and farm-based methane capture plants.
The program includes five TerraPass products, based on pounds of carbon dioxide offset and mileage. These range from a Short, Medium and Long Hauls (offsets from 1,100 to 4,400 lbs of carbon and 2,500 to 11,000 miles flown, at prices between $6.99 and $24.99) to a Green Company package that will offset all emissions generated by the airline travel of their entire company over a given period of time (385,800 lbs of carbon, one million miles flown, priced at $1,500).
To signify a contribution to green travel, travelers who purchase TerraPass carbon offsets for short haul flights will receive a decal and travelers who purchase a higher tier TerraPass package will receive a luggage tag. Companies that adopt a green travel policy and buy an enterprise TerraPass package will receive a plaque, as well as luggage tags for all of their travelers.
All TerraPass sales and support of clean energy projects are independently audited by the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), a San Francisco non-profit organization that runs market surveillance and certification programs in the green power industry. The CRS is the creator of the Green-e renewable energy certification program.
"The voluntary market for greenhouse gas reductions has tremendous potential, and this is an innovative program that enables business travelers to reduce their greenhouse gas impact. This is a market we want to support by providing certainty for consumers through our verification process," said Jennifer Martin, director of certification and analysis for the CRS.