Not Just Travel is rolling out a Climate Hero initiative on all bookings after a pilot programme showed customers are not only happy to pay to travel greener but are also more likely to switch to a company that offers real solutions to the climate crisis.
NJT is asking each customer to pay a £5 surcharge on each booking to support five climate projects to restore and protect the planet.
Unlike other travel company initiatives, the NJT Climate Hero scheme is not simply a carbon offsetting project.
In partnership with Mossy Earth, which specialises in rewilding projects, each contribution will initially support five climate hero projects which work to restore and protect the planet.
The initiatives include supporting sea otters, which keep biodiversity in balance and maintain kelp forests by eating sea urchins; conserving and researching termites, which reduce desertification in Africa, the region hardest-hit by climate change; bringing back vital carbon-absorbing pond and forest habitats in the UK, as well as restoring seagrass environments which take and lock in up to 30 times more carbon than the same area of forest.
A two-month pilot project among some NJT agents found not only did 100% of customers support the initiative, but new customers chose to book with NJT because of its commitment to the planet.
NJT Co-Founder Steve Witt said: “We have been running a pilot project for the last couple of months as we needed to know what the reaction of the customer would be. We have found that people are more concerned about it than ever.
“We went to our existing customers to see whether launching this new Climate Hero would make them book with us and 100% said yes.
“In fact, during the pilot, we found our sales increased. That was never the aim.
“We found that people were switching to us because their booking made a difference when they heard about the Climate Hero initiative, perhaps through agents taking part in the pilot, or through friends who were customers.”
Mr Witt added NJT is willing to share the findings of its research with other travel companies to encourage them to run similar projects.
He added: “This is more than just a tick in the box to say ‘look we’re doing our bit’.
“We know that real and lasting change is needed if we are to save our planet. We all have a duty to restore, protect and preserve this planet we all call home.
“Our very existence relies on the health of this planet. It’s time for change.
“The Climate Hero project will be one of the most innovative approaches to the climate and ecological crisis seen in the industry to date, due to the variety of ecosystems each holiday will be supporting and the focus on not just tree planting but also rewilding.
“Booking a break feels even better every time you go on holiday.
“It’s no secret that the travel industry has been a big contributor to climate change and continues to be. Rather than hide away from this, we want this initiative to inspire other travel companies out there to follow suit, as this is something we should all consider a priority. The Climate Hero initiative is just the beginning.”
Project Director Rebecca Woolford said: “Offsetting projects are the new trendy thing to do, but they simply don’t deliver on all fronts.
“Instead, they’re a distraction from the real solutions, such as working with nature to lock away excess carbon, restoring ecosystems, rewilding areas and reworking how we do business. To put people and the planet over profit.
“Travel consultants who were part of the pilot have been sharing that this initiative has given them a new energy and passion for their travel business.
“Some of their customers have had really positive reactions to hearing about the initiative, posting about it on Facebook, and sharing it with their friends. It’s great that they know their next holiday will make a real difference.”