Climate change & carbon offsets

Tackling climate change

Although the science of climate change, and in particular the impact of aviation emissions, is not yet fully understood, there is increasing recognition that the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by aircraft is contributing to climate change. The flights taken by Expert Africa's own team, and our travellers, are partly responsible for this.

A typical one-way flight to Africa generates about one tonne of CO2 per person travelling. Since 1 January 2008, Expert Africa has donated £20 per team member per trip who travels to and from Africa. We have given this to verified 'carbon offset' projects arranged by an organisation that we support – see below. We hope that these will generate CO2 'savings' which go some way towards balancing out our flight emissions.

We know that most of our travellers will want to help with this. Hence, since January 2009 we have included this extra £20 per person with all the new invoices that we issue.

This represents the average cost of offsetting a flight to Africa and back to the UK. Paying this is, of course, a matter of personal choice – should any traveller not wish to do so, then they can simply deduct this amount from their final balance.

We know that this effort to offset some of our emissions is not perfect or a complete solution, but it's a start. We are also trying to reduce our office emissions and waste – including turning lights, computers and screens off every night – and although these are small things, when taken together we hope that they will help to make a difference.

We are in the process of finding and following the progress of good projects with which we can offset our traveller's carbon emissions in a verifiable way. Currently everything that we collect is periodically sent to:

Tourism Industry Carbon Offset Scheme

We'll post here any changes to this policy here – and also details of what we and our travellers have together achieved as the months progress.

From 1st January 2008 to 30th September 2011 we have donated a total of over £22,000 to TICOS.

Our most recent donation, sent in November 2011, was for £7,647 and covered travel during the period from 1 January 2011 - 30 September 2011.

Our donations to TICOS are currently being used to help fund projects in Soweto, Polokwane and Acornhoek in South Africa where fuel efficient stoves are given to poor communities to help them move away from using open fires to cook on. This helps minimise environmental issues from the smoke, but also has huge heath benefits for the families.

In December 2010 a donation from TICOS helped them to buy 60 solar cookers, 45 rocket stoves and 45 sunbags. They've been working hard to promote the benefits of these stoves, and with increased interest from women's group cooperatives, the project is becoming a real success. (Read more about this TICOS project …)