In what it calls the first step in an effort to become
a “sustainable travel agent,” Barcelona-based business travel platform TravelPerk
is launching a new solution, GreenPerk.
Employees of TravelPerks’ 3,500 business customers –
including companies such as GetYourGuide, Transferwise and Farfetch - will now see
data about the carbon footprint of their flights, hotel stays and ground
transportation options as they are making booking decisions in the platform.
Travel managers at those companies will then have the
option to offset that impact for a fee of about €27 for every ton of CO2
emitted, which TravelPerk says equates to about 4% of the cost of a business
trip. That money, minus a small fee TravelPerk will keep to cover administrative
costs, will go to Atmosfair, a non-profit that works with local partners that
provide United Nations-endorsed carbon mitigation projects.
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“This is a drive from us to become the first in a new
category of sustainable travel agents,” says Ross McNairn, TravelPerk’s chief
“Many of our companies are coming under pressure not
just from their workforce but from the wider political climate.
“[But] many of them actually struggle to really calculate
the footprint of their travel… and the other big area that they were struggling
with was to work out the best way of offsetting.”
McNairn says GreenPerk solves both of these issues by providing
a free, instant view of the carbon impact of a trip - which he says may
encourage travelers to choose options with a smaller footprint - and by offering
one-click offsetting through a non-profit that TravelPerk has vetted.
“If we get this wrong it
actually does something quite negative for companies that are using the program,”
“So we went through a very extensive
process where we picked out a number of factors… we [looked at] how they
calculated their carbon offset in the first place. We then checked the types of
projects they were offsetting with. We looked at their methodology for doing
that. We then checked to see whether other third parties were auditing or
verifying the projects they were working on. Part of the issue here is there is
no reliable third-party certification for what is good carbon offset in travel.
We are taking it upon ourselves effectively to try to create, with Atmosfair, that
Companies that choose to pay for offsets
will get regular updates from TravelPerk on how that money is being used, and they’ll
receive information they can share with their employees and customers about
their participation in the program.
TravelPerk has been testing GreenPerk with
some clients since January, and McNairn says, “They are very, very happy. Demand
is beyond what we could have hoped for.”
As part of this launch, TravelPerk will
also now pay to offset the impact of its employees’ travel.