The word of mouth is encouraging: More and more travellers are being responsible. Ever greater numbers are taking seriously the importance of hitting the road with more than just pure business or pleasure in mind. They may not think of themselves as fitting cleanly into some of the niche tourism categories – ecotourism, sustainable travel, responsible travel, local travel, voluntourism – but the mindful choices they’re making are meaningful.
Fittingly, the industry has been slow to respond. While some noteworthy players have certainly already been squirrelling away at championing best practices for a while, others are only now finally feeling the strength of the new winds and belatedly taking action.
Some sectors have, however, been even slower than others. One of them – in which there appears to be a need for a global steward – is airport and intercity transfers. You know, ground transportation. What you need when you land at an airport and want to get to town – often your very first introduction to a place – or what you may desire when you’re ready to travel between destinations and don’t wish to rely on public transport.
Into this breach has stepped Green Path Transfers, which launched today as a global provider of eco-friendly airport and intercity transfers. The newest subsidiary of the WHL Group, Green Path Transfers answers the needs of leisure and business travellers seeking cost-effective ways to reduce their carbon footprints. Through Green Path Transfers’s straightforward online booking system, travellers and businesses can now hit the road confident that, for rates equal to those of other global providers, their transfers are in good hands and that they’ve made a beneficial earth-conscious choice.
Powering a Green Engine
In keeping with a vision to help build a sustainable and responsible travel industry, Green Path Transfers is on a mission to go green. In contrast to other global transfer-service providers, some with green leanings, Green Path Transfers has taken a novel approach to building its network of quality local operators.
“This involves placing significant emphasis and focus on partnering with transfer companies that are already using low-carbon-emission vehicles, wherever possible, to operate our transfers,” reads the Green Path Transfers website.
Green Path Transfers has therefore only recruited established, service-minded transfer operators with a demonstrated commitment to a greener future, either through their pioneering use of zero- or low-emission vehicles or their movement toward adoption of sustainable practices and clean technology.
The green technology currently in use by Green Path Transfers partners includes:
* vehicles powered by recycled vegetable oil by Portland, Oregon’s ecoShuttle and San Diego, California’s Wherever Shuttle;
* engines running on renewable, non-toxic and all-natural fuels like biodiesel and ethanol in Colorado’s Vail Valley by Green Limousine, and Il Viaggio Travel in Costa Rica;
* Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEVs) and alternative-fuel cars using compressed natural gas (CNG) by Los Angeles-based Naturalimo;
* hybrids on the streets of Toronto under the Eco Taxi label.
Green Path Transfers is currently operational in over 30 destinations around the world, but service is expected to reach more than 100 by the end of 2011.
Offsetting Carbon Emissions
Green Path Transfers further neutralises any presently unavoidable emissions by 100% carbon offsets through reputable organisations like atmosfair and Blue Ventures Carbon Offset.
“We recognise that many of the local suppliers we work with are just starting the journey to using carbon-neutral transfer vehicles and hence we have decided to work with two organisations we believe offer innovative and extremely accountable/transparent offset options, in order to fully offset 100% of the emissions produced by our transfers,” continues the Green Path Transfers website.
Blue Ventures Carbon Offset (BVCO) is a charitable organisation born in 2007 out of Blue Ventures Conservation as a means of reducing global carbon emissions and benefiting communities where Blue Ventures works. It primarily runs socially responsible projects through sponsorship of solar and fuel-efficient stoves.
“Like Green Path Transfers, BVCO is committed to creating positive environmental change by reducing global carbon-dioxide emissions,” says Leda Smith Sommerville, BVCO Programme Manager. “BVCO has been working with Green Path Transfers to develop methods of carbon-dioxide calculation that represent the most accurate and up-to-date conversion factors available. We are able to calculate emissions and then offset carbon quickly and permanently. The projects that offset funds support are verified and validated by the Tourism Industry Carbon Offset Service, an industry-wide program to stimulate collective action by all travel and tourism businesses selling holidays, holiday services and air travel.”
atmosfair is an independent, non-profit organisation that works for climate protection. Climate fees donated as a function of greenhouse gases generated by travel finance CO2-offsetting projects in developing countries all across the globe.
“atmosfair and Green Path Transfers share the mission that reducing emissions as far as possible and offsetting unavoidable emissions with high-quality projects is the best green solution,” comments Katharina Behrendt of atmosfair. “As green local transfer companies are not always available, atmosfair supports Green Path Transfers by offsetting the unavoidable emissions through high-quality emission-saving projects. atmosfair is pleased to help advance Green Path Transfers’s sustainable mission.”
These partnerships with third-party carbon-offset organisations bring added peace of mind to travellers with the knowledge that their trips are helping to fund meaningful clean-energy projects worldwide. From solar energy programmes in India to hydraulic irrigation systems for rural farmers in China, the initiatives Green Path Transfers supports through its carbon-offset partners extend far beyond tree planting.
Meeting Consumer Needs
“It’s crucial for us to embrace green and cleaner technologies and modes of transport for the long-term health of the planet,” says Adrian Cordiner, CEO of the Green Path Transfers far-reaching network of transfer operators. “As transport is a main emitter of carbon, it’s a natural place to start in order to try to make a dent in global carbon emissions.”
Green Path Transfers recognises, however, that its chosen green path is a long and challenging one. “We started this business because we want to change the way transport is done, whilst also making sure we offer unparalleled service and extremely competitive fares,” says the Green Path Transfers website. “We are passionate about a greener future for the planet, and we love working with like-minded customers, operators and organisations to help shape that future!”
To that end, Green Path Transfers has put in place a range of incentives and supports to move all local partners toward a greener future that includes upgrading their fleets to include any lower-carbon options available to them.
“Every little bit helps,” Cordiner adds. “We believe that, by being an industry leader in the use and support of cleaner technology, both in transfers and through offsets, we will inspire others to follow suit.”