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You Can Get Travel Insurance That Reduces Your Carbon Footprint

Technology + Gear Sustainability News
by Tim Wenger Jun 25, 2021

This is The Climate Win, the most positive sustainability news around the world every week.

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Global travelers have a new way to reduce the carbon footprint of their international travels. Wanderwell is out to change the travel insurance market by funding environmental causes with every policy it sells.

The company, which bills itself as “travel insurance for good,” is a certified B-Corporation, which means it’s been accredited as a private company that can stand behind its do-gooder claims. In addition, it’s a member of 1% for the Planet, a nonprofit organization whose members commit to donating at least one percent of revenue to vetted non-profit partners of the group, all of which are focused on conservation and sustainability initiatives.

“I knew from day one that we needed to be a B-Corp,” says Wanderwell co-founder Erin Fish. “We have to be accountable for our actions, and we need to basically have a template for how to do that. That’s what being a B-Corp has been able to do — it provides us a template with
how to be constantly improving our business practices.”

Fish owns a separate insurance company focused on employee benefits, and brought his knowledge of the insurance game to the travel world in 2014 with the hope of making a positive impact. The company started as an off-shoot of Fish’s existing business, and after a few years grew into its own entity.

“I wanted to start a new company, and I thought, I really think we can change the travel insurance industry not only with what we do, but how we do it,” Fish says.

The company currently acts as a travel insurance broker, connecting travelers with the insurance plan to meet their travel needs, including trip protection and medical coverage. This results in what Fish hopes is not only a donation to environmental causes, but also the ideal plan for each customer. The causes they support tend to reflect the contemporary tastes of these customers, a perfect example being the company’s partnership with the annual Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds festival in Mexico’s Riviera Maya.

“What we do with them is they make us the preferred partner travel insurance,” Fish says. “And so people buy their tickets and then buy their travel insurance through us. We donate 10 percent of our revenue — not profit, our revenue — to a non-profit that they select.”

Most recently, that funding was donated to The Nature Conservancy to further Dave Matthews Band’s efforts to plant one million trees.

Wanderwell is also a proclaimed ally of the Transformational Travel Council, a loosely organized group of industry players such as guides, businesses, and influencers who have committed to harnessing the power of travel to “to positively transform how we live our lives, how we live with others, and how we live on our planet,” according to the group’s website.

“We believe that being B-Corp and a 1% for the Planet member is a cost of doing business.” Fish says. “To us it’s not like we’re donating and this is just extra, it really is just like paying our taxes and our licensing fees and all that — it’s just a part of it.”

More climate wins

Americans are installing solar power at a record-breaking pace, according to a new report in Reuters. Solar installations rose 46 percent in the first quarter of 2021 over the same period last year, with the country set to install 24.4 GW by the end of the year.

Maine officially became the first US state to divest from fossil fuels, according to Elektrek. The new LD 99 law, which directs the state government to “Divest Itself of Assets Invested in the Fossil Fuel Industry,” outlines a five-year target for getting state funds out of fossil fuel assets.

Breckenridge, Colorado, is upping its sustainability game through a diverse array of approaches, including free public transit, a plastic bag ban, a push for solar power, and by asking travelers to volunteer to help maintain popular trails in the area. The result is a model which other mountain destinations could follow.

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