A quest to offset carbon & support ancestral reforestation

Being in the travel industry, it’s natural that we think about the impacts of carbon. From the adventures we offer our very own clients to being conscious travelers ourselves – the impact travel & tourism creates is an important factor and one we must confront. After committing to a climate action plan in 2020, we’ve spent the better part of more than 2 years thinking how we can take our climate actions even further, which can be a challenge as a tourism operator. We’ve traveled a long way to offer sustainable tourism services from the design of our adventure experiences. Since before the pandemic, Chile Nativo Travel has been working to incorporate local collaborators, products, & suppliers, reduce waste by changing materials and operation systems, and recycle both organic and inorganic materials in order to achieve sustainability and a circular economy through their adventure programs.

Following the success of operating the first carbon neutral ATTA event – the AdventureNEXT Patagonia in September 2022 – Chile Nativo has committed to a method to help pursue carbon-offsetting while supporting reforestation of native forests in Chile. Wiñolfe Anumka, a network of nurseries of Mapuche-Pehuenchefamilies from Kurarewe in the Araucanía Region of Southern Chile, reproduce and reforest native forests with local kurarewe families. Chile Nativo was first introduced to this unique organization through their partners Amity Tours who have spotlighted sustainable practices in the active travel tourism industry and who have been initial supporters of Wiñolfe Anumka’s efforts and mission for several years. Wiñolfe Anumka which means “traveling trees”’ has been working to reforest the Andean Araucanía. The name of the network originated from the collective vision and dream of the members of the organization who – after a series of meetings – expressed their wish that from Kurarewe, the cultivated native trees could travel to different territories to restore the forests.

Photo Credit: Wiñolfe Amunka

The nurserymen and women collect and store seeds from the temperate rainforest that are characteristic of the territory, and reproduce and care for them during their first years of life. The plants are then used in deforested sectors through the planting of native forest cores based on the Miyawaki method – which mimics the way a forest would recolonize itself if humans stepped away without interference.

Photo Credit: Wiñolfe Amunka

Not only does this method support and link native forests to cultural diversity; it offsets the carbon footprint and expands knowledge about these territories, mitigating the effects of climate change and receiving all the ecosystem services provided by the forest.

In order to offset the carbon produced by the AdventureNEXT Patagonia event in September which consisted of 4 different 6-day programs and 10 Day of Adventure trips, the carbon footprint – a total of 12,190 Kilos (tons) – was carefully calculated by local sustainable engineer Gricel Hormazábal Urbina. Wiñolfe Amunka has established that reforestation of 1 core, or 18 native trees, is equivalent to compensation of 5 tons of CO2. Therefore, the total value to compensate for those 12,190 Kilos of carbon produced is 2.44 cores or 44 trees. Each nucleus of reforested native trees will be preserved for at least 20 years.

SDGs TO INCORPORATE IN CHILE NATIVO

REGENERATION AS A CIRCULAR STRATEGY IN ADVENTURE TOURISM

Since it was decided to neutralize the carbon footprint generated by the AdventureNEXT pre-trips, the first ATTA event to do so, the emissions of each pre-trip were calculated and a relationship was established with the Wiñolfe Amunka project in the Araucanía region to reforest and regenerate the territory. Regenerating native forests through the core system, which are cultivated and planted by local people, supports REgeneration in relations with local communities contributing with compensation to their development.

All these actions are focused on protecting terrestrial ecosystems and the fjord system in which we are inserted, so as not to increase pollution due to poorly managed waste. Two sustainable development goals are highlighted in these efforts: Climate Action & Life on Land.

WHAT IS CARBON CREDIT?

The carbon credit is one of the tools used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which generate global warming. It is an international mechanism agreed upon in the Kyoto protocol, which allows investment in projects to reduce one ton of CO2, turning it into an exchangeable good with a price established in the market. Thus, the people and companies that are committed to climate change offset our footprint with carbon credits, that is, we invest in projects that reduce, eliminate or avoid emissions that contribute to global warming.

The classification of processes considered in calculating Chile Nativo’s carbon footprint were divided into 3 categories: directly related processes such as the office, processes related to providers like transportation, food, and accommodation, & use of energy for electricity and thermal, and indirect processes which is defined according to the criteria established in Huella Chile. Among them are: transfer of cargo, which includes food transport, maintenance of facilities and vehicles, transfer of personnel (except people who move specifically for this trip), transfer of waste, despite the fact that Chile Nativo began to record its generation of waste the previous season, there is not enough internal data such as providers.

Photo Credit: Wiñolfe Amunka

As a way to invest in the regeneration of our regions and forests and support the families and ancestors of the Kurarewe families, we have chosen a commitment to Wiñolfe Anumka. And the planting of these cores of trees will capture 5 tons of CO2 for 20 years.

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