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Carbon Friendly Travels

SimienEcoTours is constantly trying to minimize our & your environmental and carbon footprint on travels. From smaller to bigger things, each step can help to reduce negative impacts on our planet.

From reducing non-recyclable waste and using more organic foods and packaging in our nature destinations and national parks to optimizing your itineraries avoiding domestic flights whenever possible, we try to work towards better journeys.

However, international flights have a big share in global carbon emissions and we strongly believe that when traveling offsetting carbon flight emissions is a must. Especially, as it is so easy and only costs you a small bit of your total trip costs.

How does carbon offsetting work?

Aircraft engines produce greenhouses gases, particles and water vapour which are released into the atmosphere. It’s this mixture that makes them so polluting, but the focus of offsetting is on carbon dioxide (CO2) as it is the most common greenhouse gas. Your flights will be evaluated according to their carbon dioxide emissions and converted into a monetary value that will be donated to different kind of projects.

So, carbon offsetting doesn’t minimize the amount of carbon dioxide produced when you fly. It still goes into the atmosphere. What it does do is reducing it somewhere else instead. An easily understandable way are forestry projects where the compensated amount of money flows into the support of forest to prevent them from logging and maintain them as a natural 'carbon sink' as forests naturally store big amounts of carbon dioxide. Other project can be energy related where your money is used for investments in renewable or energy saving technologies. Often these projects have social and sustainable benefits for developing countries too.

Source: YouTube - The Gold Standard Foundation

How can you offset your flight?

There is many different ways how you can offset your flight emissions. There might be also differences in reliability and/or calculated offsetting fees. It just depends from scheme to scheme. The big issue with carbon offsetting is choosing which scheme to use. There are a baffling number, most of which make lots of impressive claims and have websites covered in pictures of lovely green forests. But they’re not all regulated and how some are funded is a bit fuzzy. Sussing out the good from the bad is a full-time job, so it’s usually a case of taking recommendations from environmental organizations who’ve looked into them and certified the best.

Some airlines also offer offsetting calculators on their websites and offsetting can be done while booking your flights already. However, the common carriers for Ethiopia such as Ethiopian Airlines or Emirates for example don't offer these. Another disadvantage here is also that you can not influence the projects you want to place your donation for.

Our suggestion

If you want to influence which type of project – or even which specific project – you would like to donate for, we would recommend you to offset directly with Gold Standard.

It is one of the most widely recommended bodies and the name you will keep coming across. It is a Swiss non-profit organization founded by a group of environmental groups and NGOs including the WWF. Their projects are based in developing countries and combine reducing CO2 with sustainable development.

It is so easy!

You decide for a project that you would like to support, enter the amount of tonnes of CO2 you would like to compensate and transfer the money.

Their projects are worldwide, but they also have a choice of projects in Ethiopia:

However, Gold Standard gets the best recommendations but they don't have a specific flight emissions calculator. You have to decide on your own how many tonnes of CO2 you would like to compensate. Therefore, keep in mind that a flight from Europe to Ethiopia with a modern aircraft produces on average between 1.5 and 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person and from the US between 5 and 6 tonnes.

There is also plenty of partners that run Gold Standard projects all over the world that also provide their own emission calculators: