This is The Climate Win, the most positive sustainability news around the world every week.
Pre-built itineraries make planning and executing a big international trip much easier by bundling things like flights, lodging, and excursions together. Traveling with an operator can also be a great way to meet like-minded travelers and experience a country in an efficient manner. Too often, however, factors like sustainable travel, cultural immersion, and local impact are lost in translation. Travel industry veteran Joy Martinello decided to change that. Her new travel concept Wild Nectar Collection launched September 1 as a marketplace of travel experiences built around sustainable values and impact travel.
“I asked myself, what if a travel sales and marketing company, a third party who was not a travel operator, could keep a close eye on what travel operators were doing, could offer eco scores that represent the travel operators’ sustainability efforts and could provide clients with the most immersive, wind-in-your-hair travel experiences all at the same time,” Martinello, Wild Nectar Collection’s Founder and CEO, says.
Wild Nectar Collection seeks to combine the global adventurers that bold travelers want with the increasing desire for more sustainable travel. During her 16 years in the travel industry, which included prior experience running a tour booking agency, Martinello had booked and organized thousands of global trips from destinations as varied as the Galapagos Islands and the polar regions. During that time, she had identified a small contingent of tour operators who embedded into their business models values similar to her own: eco-consciousness and travel that leaves a positive impact on the communities visited.
Finding those operators and applying them to the trip planning process, she discovered, wasn’t always easy for her, and could be virtually impossible for the average traveler Googling tour options at home. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Martinello foresaw an increase in desire for eco-conscious travel options as people witnessed, through the media, how positively the environment reacted to even a slight break in mankind’s fossil-fueled actions.
“Covid-19 offered many people the opportunity to reflect on how we live our lives, the resources we use, and what’s most important to us,” Martinello says. “Travel is a luxury that’s extremely hard to give up. More and more people are realizing that if we want to continue traveling, we have to find a way to do it that doesn’t negatively impact the planet we are all so dearly hoping to explore. Plus, we have to treat people and communities with care while doing it.”
Travelers using Wild Nectar Collection’s listings are unlikely to notice much difference in the options available. What’s changed is what they leave behind — or rather, what they don’t. To be listed on the site, an operator must actively participate in sustainability-focused activities that benefit wildlife, local communities, carbon reduction efforts, conservation, and education, along with other measures based on location. The company’s sustainability specialist Addie Melvin developed Eco Scores for each travel experience and location offered.
“We include items such as future plans to remove the use of fossil fuels, single-use plastics usage, locally supported businesses, locally sourced organic foods, water usage, and incentives for employees to arrive to work on foot, bike, or by public transportation just to name a few,” Martinello says.
The company plans to meet with operators on a continual basis to assess their ongoing efforts. Those that make the cut donate and implement water filtration systems in local communities, pay for a child’s full year of education per guest, or financially support the local infrastructure through healthcare initiatives. Wild Nectar Collection has also created sustainability awards to reward those who create the most impact.
Wild Nectar Collection connects travelers to immersive travel experiences on all seven continents and in a variety of travel methods including small-ship cruises and water-focused travel, overland and outdoors-focused trips on land, and wildlife encounters. Travelers may trek to Machu Picchu or embark on a multi-week expedition to Antarctica. The company’s mission is to connect a client’s dream trip to an operator that can make it happen.
“Watching mist rise over a moon-like Icelandic landscape, leaning your head out the window of a small ship in Alaska to see two humpback whales breach right in front of you, having an elderly Costa Rican lady welcome you into her kitchen and show you how to make tortillas — these experiences change people, have changed me as they all happened to me,” Martinello says. “I want to make sure more people can have these life-changing experiences and still protect the absolute source of them all: our beautiful, irreplaceable planet.”
More climate wins this week
America’s march towards renewable energy took two notable steps forward this week. First, Illinois enacted the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act to guide the state towards a carbon-free power sector by 2045 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050, all while creating jobs in the renewables marketplace, Grist reported. Second, Los Angeles County is on track to be the first county in the nation to outright ban oil and gas drilling after its Board of Supervisors this week passed a resolution to do so.
A new study shows that mankind effectively saved 2.5 degrees of global warming by banning CFCs and fixing the hole in the ozone layer (remember watching the news in the 90s?), Freethink reported. Commonly used in commercial refrigeration and other common practices until being widely shown to be very harmful to the environment some 30 years ago and formerly banned in 2010, CFCs and the hole in the ozone layer were a regular part of news broadcasts during the 1990s.
The world’s largest carbon capture plant opened in Iceland earlier this month, The Washington Post reported. The plant is operated by Climeworks, the Swiss startup whose mission is to capture carbon from the air, turn it into stone, and store it underground. You can help their mission by signing up to have your carbon emissions removed via the company’s subscription platform for about $8 per month.