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Intrepid Travelers Can Now Understand Their Adventures’ Carbon Impacts

Intrepid has launched one of tourism’s most comprehensive carbon-labeling initiatives, alongside new research that shows consumer demand for better transparency and understanding their personal impacts.

Today, Intrepid Travel unveiled carbon labels on over 500 itineraries, including its top 100 trips, with plans to continue measuring and disclosing the emissions of every trip. The labels, which appear on individual tour pages, will tell travelers the carbon footprint of each Intrepid tour — providing greater transparency as the company deepens its commitment to climate-conscious travel.

Joining the efforts of smaller tour operators including Adventure Tours UK and Much Better Adventures, carbon-impact information is now displayed on over half of Intrepid’s trip pages — showing the estimated CO2e of the trip per traveler, per day. Emissions are calculated by identifying the different components contributing to the overall carbon footprint — including accommodations, transportation, food provided during the trip, activities, the local operations’ office emissions and waste. A 15 percent contingency is then added to each trip’s total emissions, to account for anything unintentionally missing.

Intrepid’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory calculation process was developed in line with the best-practice requirements set by Climate Active — an ongoing partnership between the Australian Government and corporations to drive voluntary climate action in the private sector.

Carbon labeling informs consumers of the impact of a product or service on the environment by providing a CO2e kg number similar to a nutrition label, allowing customers to make better-informed decisions. Seen the most so far in the food industry – with brands including Chipotle, Just Salad, Oatly, Quorn, Strong Roots and more including carbon-impact data on their products — carbon labels can now also be found on everything from personal-care products to electronics, footwear and sportswear.

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Intrepid’s new labels will help educate travelers on their own carbon footprint and make it easier for them to understand their impact. They will also be able to access information on how Intrepid is offsetting these emissions and compare the data with everyday activities. For example, 100kg CO2e is about the same as charging a smart phone 12,164 times or driving a gas-powered car about 399 kilometers.

Image credit: Intrepid Travel

As part of the debut, Intrepid commissioned new research from The Harris Poll that revealed 64 percent of adults worldwide have no idea what their carbon footprint is. 60 percent are more likely to book trips with a company that is transparent about their environmental impact; and yet only 38 percent find it easy to find that information. And more than 1 in 2 people globally say they would be more willing to alter their plans if they could easily see and understand the carbon impact of each travel option.

Carbon labeling is not only helpful for consumers — it may soon become the new normal as we see more scrutiny and stricter regulations on greenwashing. Intrepid hopes these efforts will encourage other businesses to take accountability and follow suit.

“Without higher government regulations or the need for ESG disclosure, it is nearly impossible to hold businesses accountable for reducing their emissions,” said Sara King, GM of Purpose for Intrepid Travel. “We cannot shy away from our impact, and we cannot effectively reduce what we do not measure. With carbon labeling, we can increase customers’ understanding of their footprint while advocating for this level of measurement and transparency to become an industry standard.”

In addition to the rollout of carbon labels, Intrepid continues to roll out lower-carbon itineraries: In 2024, the company says it will have approximately 4,000 fewer flights on trips (compared to 2023) and will be discontinuing all scenic flights.