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Costa Rica

Our Nature Net Positive Plan

How we will ensure our adventures give far more back to nature than they take

As outlined by the Places & Planet pillar of our People, Places & Planet plan one of our priority goals is to ensure our adventures are Nature Net Positive by 2024. Here we give further information on this goal, and how we plan to reach it.

Why are we making a Nature Net Positive commitment?

Humans have wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970*, 1 million species are currently at risk of extinction** and 75% of our world’s land-based environment has been significantly altered by human actions**. Our world is waking up to the fact that it is not only the climate crisis we face but biodiversity collapse. The two feed into each other – climate change accelerates the degradation of natural ecosystems, and in turn, degraded ecosystems weaken our defences against the worst impacts of climate change.

So it is clear that we all have a responsibility to not only reduce our negative impacts on the natural world but proactively seek to restore the ecosystems on which we rely for our future survival.

In January 2020, we were one of the first travel companies to declare a climate emergency, publicly acknowledging our part in the climate crisis and our determination to be part of the solution. At the beginning of 2021, we published our climate action plan, committing to take action on climate change by halving our carbon footprint by 2030 and rewilding 100 square metres per passenger. Now, we want to take a big step further in our commitment to the natural world, and so we’ve set ourselves a goal to become Nature Net Positive. 

How will we become Nature Net Positive?

We want to ensure that everything we do to create and run our trips not only reduces any negative impacts on natural ecosystems, but proactively seeks to support nature’s restoration and regeneration. This means we need to first acknowledge and identify travel’s negative impact on nature – through carbon emissions, waste and pollution, and ecosystem exploitation - then work to avoid and reduce these impacts, while seeking to outweigh our remaining footprint with our efforts to restore nature wherever possible. We do, however, want to acknowledge that the restoration of nature in one area cannot immediately and fully “offset” damage created elsewhere, so we commit to continuing to measure and be transparent about the negative impacts our trips create and doing all we can to reduce these impacts.

More information on some of our plan’s key initiatives and activities can be found below:

  • Carbon reduction and compensation: Halving our carbon footprint by 2030, and compensating for all trip emissions.
  • Rewilding: Rewilding 100 square metres per passenger and supporting innovative rewilding efforts.
  • Animal welfare:Ensuring the protection of wildlife and working animals across our trips.
  • Conservation: Supporting vital conservation work through the Exodus Travels Foundation.
  • Building the eBioAtlas: Enabling travellers to collect samples to support the IUCN’s global conservation work.

By when do we aim to become Nature Net Positive?

Increasing the positive impacts we can have on nature will be a continuous journey; one that we’ve already started by offering trips which minimise impact and support nature in many ways, and one which we recognise we’ll be on for years and decades to come, as we seek to constantly improve the impact of our business. But given the severity of our context, we also want to set ourselves a goal to focus and accelerate our efforts. So, we’ll be working hard on some specific areas over the coming three years, with an aim to earn the right to talk about our adventures as being ‘Nature Net Positive’ by 2024. Next year, some global goals for business impact on nature will have been established, so part of our goal is to join many other sustainable businesses across all sectors in aligning our Nature Net Positive commitment with these goals. Of course, our commitment to nature will continue far beyond 2024; this is just the beginning.

How did we develop our Nature Net Positive plan?

The development of our Nature Net Positive plan has been informed by a number of bodies and experts developing sector and cross-sector targets, metrics and guidance in this area. Our definitions of tourism’s negative impact areas are based on IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)’s “drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem change” and the Council for Sustainable Business’s Nature Handbook. The targets and metrics have been informed by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s proposed indicators, and the principles of our plan (to avoid, reduce and restore) were informed by the SBTN’s initial guidance for business (see the full list of references below).

We have also gratefully benefitted from the input of some expert critical friends, including Justin Francis (Responsible Travel, Council for Sustainable Business) and our partners at Rewilding Europe.

References

 

We don’t have all the answers yet and recognise we have a big challenge ahead, but we’re committed to keeping you updated on our progress as part of our Nature Net Positive plan. We also welcome your comments, ideas and questions: [email protected]

 

* WWF Living Planet Report 2018

** IPS Special Report - IPBES Compilation for UN Nature Summit 2020