Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative Works To Offset Air Travel Impacts
Pacific Business News
Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative has partnered with East Coast-based start-up Jet-Set Offset in an effort to offset carbon emissions of air travel. Through the partnership, which was announced last week, individuals and businesses can opt to donate 1 cent to the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative for every mile flown.
With forests on Oahu and Hawaii Island, Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative — the nonprofit offshoot of Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods — works to reforest native trees and re-establish native habitats. The organization has planted more than 450,000 trees since it was founded in 2014.
Jeffrey Dunster, executive director of Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, told Pacific Business News that the new partnership gives travelers a chance to be “good citizens of the world.” According to the United Nations’ aviation division, carbon emissions from air travel are on track to triple by 2050 if no action is taken.
“[Jet-Set Offset] has created a model where it was very easy for somebody to come in and say, ‘I am going to be traveling and I want to be able to offset my carbon footprint for my trip,’” Dunster said. “The problem has always been, how do you make it easy for the consumer to be able to access such a thing. And the Jet-Set Offset folks have done that.”
Co-founded by Anna Ford and Ian Campbell — who both used to fly frequently for work — Jet-Set Offset partners with environmental nonprofits throughout the country as a way to help travelers reach carbon neutrality. Honolulu-based nonprofit Blue Planet Foundation, which works to eliminate the use of carbon-based fuels in Hawaii, also recently launched a partnership with the organization.
“When we fly, offsetting our carbon footprint with mileage-based donations to organizations working locally toward climate solutions is one of the most effective steps we can take as individuals to combat climate change,” Ford said in a statement. “Our partnership with HLRI will allow travelers to not only offset the environmental impact of their flights, but help reforest Hawaii’s rare forests in the process.”
Hawaiian Legacy also will plant one tree every time an individual flies 9,000 miles.
“It’s not just the carbon offset — at some point, it becomes an actual tree in the ground,” Dunster said. “Sometimes things get so ethereal where it’s like, maybe I’m helping, but I don’t know really. But this gives them a direct connection where we can say, this tree is here because of you.”
Donors will be able to watch their trees grow throughout the years via the nonprofit’s online TreeTracker, which provides a map of the forest with radio-frequency identification links to each individual tree.
Anybody can sign up for Jet-Set Offset to donate to Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, whether or not their flight takes them to the Islands, but Dunster anticipates that groups traveling to Hawaii for conventions or events, as well as airlines, are potential target markets.
These types of partnerships are already taking place: An upcoming scientific conference at the Hawaii Convention Center is promoting the option to use Jet-Set Offset to its attendees. Dunster said that he’s “in talks” about additional partnerships with other groups and companies, but nothing that he can announce at this time.
He also feels that the new program has the potential to drive business to Hawaii.
“We’ve had a number of people who have had trees sponsored online or given to them — and then they end up taking a trip to Hawaii to go up there and see their tree,” he said.
One of the reasons that Dunster said he’s excited about this partnership is because “everybody gets a chance to be a part of the solution.”
“A lot of times, people think that the problems are just too big and they can’t be solved, but it’s amazing what happens when people just do little things,” he said.
Source: Pacific Business News