Butterfield & Robinson Active Travel Goes Greener - B&R Raises the Bar with Launch of New Green Initiative: Carbon Neutral By 2008

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As a certain frog once said, "it's not easy being green." In fact, it's a lot of hard work--especially when you're a travel company. Iin an effort to establish a new standard of environmentalism in tourism, the upscale active outfitters at Butterfield & Robinson have launched a brand new Green Initiative that will see the company carbon neutral by 2008. B&R recently completed an environmental audit whereby all office and worldwide practices were assessed. Goals were subsequently established for conserving energy, using more green products, and neutralizing the company's carbon footprint.

That includes not only our air travel, but also energy used on land -- and by our ships in the Galapagos Islands, Mediterranean, Europe and North Africa.

As a certain frog once said, "it's not easy being green." In fact, it's a lot of hard work -- especially when you're a travel company. But in an effort to establish a new standard of environmentalism in tourism, the upscale active outfitters at Butterfield & Robinson have launched a brand new Green Initiative that will see the company carbon neutral by 2008.

Leading the greening at B&R is Director of By Sea Graham Lewis. "We've been organizing biking and walking trips for more than 40 years, which is of course a healthy way to travel -- for our clients as well as for the environment," says Lewis proudly. "But like everybody, we consume energy in dozens of different ways -- and we decided it was time to do better."

B&R recently completed an environmental audit whereby all office and worldwide practices were assessed. Goals were subsequently established for conserving energy, using more green products, and neutralizing the company's carbon footprint.

"Where we can't reduce our consumption, we'll offset it," says Lewis. "That includes not only our air travel, but also energy used on land -- and by our ships in the Galapagos Islands, Mediterranean, Europe and North Africa." With hotel stays and even on-trip van support adding to the company's tally, B&R operatives around the world are eagerly seeking out more earth-friendly suppliers and green accommodations. They're also working to help educate hoteliers to be more environmentally sensitive.

Additionally, B&R is raising awareness of environmental issues in the myriad regions the company travels -- from the fragile ecosystems of the Amazon to the threatened wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. To that end, a long-established B&R Fund supports select locally managed charities and environmental organizations in those countries. The company is also a key supporter of Canada's World Wildlife Fund.

While environment-sensitive travelers can take solace from knowing their B&R trip is carbon neutral, they still have to get there. "We're aware of the environmental implications of people flying half-way around the world to reach all the exotic places we travel," says CEO Benson Cowan. "That's a lot of carbon." As a result, B&R will be providing travelers with the tools they need to make informed decisions about offsetting their own pre- and post-trip travel. The company will also offer clients the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets for their air travel directly when they book a B&R trip.

Closer to home, office practices have come under review -- and green changes are already afoot. B&R headquarters in Toronto uses only Forest Stewardship Council Certified Paper, supports fair trade coffee, recycles, and runs entirely on wind power and low-impact hydro supplied by Bullfrog Electric.The new B&R Green Initiative will be presented at the inaugural Green Living Show in Toronto this weekend. Fortunately, company founder George Butterfield has long set the standard for environmentally friendly transportation to and from the office; he travels by bike.

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Cari Gray
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