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Planes, Trains & Greener Volunteering: Why IVHQ Has Gone Carbon Neutral

Why IVHQ has gone Carbon Neutral

At IVHQ we’re big on being responsible and we’re hugely passionate about looking after the environment. That’s why we’ve become a certified BCorp and why we’re always looking for ways to reduce our overall environmental footprint. We know that IVHQers love the planet and care about their own impact and volunteering responsibility, so and that’s why we give people the opportunity to offset the carbon emissions from the flights they take to reach our program destinations.

But we also do a lot more than this and I’m happy to announce that we’ve recently become 100% carbon neutral.

Why measure CO2?

This is pretty simple. CO2 and other greenhouse gases cause climate change, and that’s bad for all of us. Measuring the amount of these gases that are released into the atmosphere as a result of IVHQ’s operations helps us to figure out how we can reduce and mitigate this number, which is good for all of us!

Flying over Guatemala

What are IVHQ’s emissions?

In 2015 we emitted 170 tons of greenhouse gas. The majority of these emissions were associated with IVHQ staff members flying to our programs to conduct quality and safety checks, to meet with volunteers and to support local staff, but we also have responsibility for a small amount of emissions that come using energy and air conditioners in our head office.

Being carbon neutral sounds great, but what does it mean?

In basic terms this means that we’ve identified what our emissions are, and have purchased internationally recognized carbon credits to offset all of them. We’ve chosen to do this by supporting the protection of a large mature rainforest in the Southland region of New Zealand, in partnership with the environmental charity Ekos.

Eco Ag project in Costa Rica with IVHQ

What do the credits actually do?

The credits provide a source of income to the landowners, which offsets the income they could generate from felling the rainforest. These credits ensure that the landowners relinquish the rights they have to fell the rainforest for a 50-year period the credits purchased by IVHQ are based on the amount of carbon that the mature trees can remove from the atmosphere.

Does this mean IVHQ doesn’t have to worry about making reductions?

No way Jose! Offsetting carbon is just one part of our approach to managing our environmental impact and we’re also implementing a range of initiatives that will see us reduce our emissions over time. We’re installing solar panels at our head office, we’re reducing the amount of waste to landfill that our office produces, and we’re using technology that helps us better connect with our programs without having to fly as much.

Climate change has the potential to impact us all significantly, so we’re taking this seriously.

Environmental Education in Mexico with IVHQ

What can you do to help?

There are many ways that IVHQ can support you to help tackle climate change. Use IVHQ’s carbon calculator to offset the emissions of your flights, volunteer at one of our environment and conservation projects, or support an environmental NGO through an NGO Support project in New Zealand, Italy or Bali.

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