Here at CAS Trips, we acknowledge that the ongoing climate crisis must be placed at the forefront of all decisions we make. Thus, we find it important to share our current environmental management actions and future plans to do our part in mitigating the crisis. These efforts will be a continually developing process led by annual review and reporting of our progress and goals.
In 2021, we joined leading tourism organizations in declaring a climate emergency and became a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration, committing to cut emissions in half by 2030 and achieve Net Zero by 2050. Our climate actions and plans align with the 5 pathways of the Glasgow Declaration as detailed below.
Measure the Impact
To understand our current impact and to identify areas of our business to focus on, it was vital that we first know our current emissions. We began to measure and disclose our emissions in 2021 and established it as our base year in our inaugural sustainability report.
We at CAS Trips are dedicated to full transparency regarding our self-emitted – or scope 1 & 2- measurements in our annual reporting. As defined by the GHG protocol, Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from purchased energy. Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions that occur in the value chain.
We also measure and publish the footprint of our staff travel and are developing our internal ability to calculate further supply chain emissions to be as thorough as possible in our reporting and results.
Our trip measurements currently allow the sales and operations teams to compare general destination rankings, like average accommodation and transportation emissions. Most of our trips’ emissions are already below average since most students stay in shared hostel accommodations and because CAS Trips prioritizes public transportation whenever possible.
Our goals for 2023 are to add transparent emission details and sustainability labeling to our itineraries. We expect this to include average daily accommodation, transportation, and food emissions for each destination we visit.
Decarbonize the Company
Mitigating emissions from CAS Trip’s operations requires a cohesive sustainable approach for all decisions made during our trips and in the office. This year through our energy provider, our office was able to move our electricity sources to be powered by renewable sources like hydropower, biogas, sun, and wind. Efficiency measures in the office and a flexible remote work policy allow CAS Trips to reduce our carbon impacts whenever feasible.
Ensuring sustainability in all programs has always been a core of CAS Trips, and we have been working towards educating and inspiring our travelers to find further ways to reduce their negative impacts. For several years we have strategically developed destinations spread across Europe in an effort to make our programs accessible across the continent. In 2022, CAS Trips announced our ground transportation initiative to sway more schools to choose trains or buses over flying to our destinations.
We acknowledge that our decarbonization will require continual reiteration to minimize our impacts on the environment. We plan to utilize our internal measurement to further reduce emissions by reducing internal travel necessities and further supporting staff’s ability to work remotely.
Regenerate for the Future
Regenerative approaches like tree planting have been core to our sustainability approach since 2018. We have included an offsetting fee in all itineraries, with over €14,000 collected in 2022 for the VCS-verified Amazon Valparaiso project through Stand for Trees. We are excited to share that beginning in 2023, the standard offsetting fee will become a carbon removal contribution to support innovation in carbon removal alongside our new partners, Tomorrow’s Air, more information to come in the new year.
We aim to support the environment and green initiatives in the destinations where we travel. CAS Trips has developed partnerships with forward-thinking organizations like Dutch food waste nonprofit, Taste before you Waste, and Havhøst, a regenerative seafood organization in Denmark. Green collaborations with local non-profits allow us to run clean-ups, tree planting, and community garden service activities on a majority of our trips.
CAS Trips’ goals for further regeneration include additional traveler education and continued development of on-the-ground partnerships with non-profits who are the stewards of our destinations.
Collaborate to Make a Positive Impact
Given the relatively small size of our carbon footprint, CAS Trips is likely to make the biggest carbon reduction gains in our collaborative and educational efforts.
CAS Trips has aligned our sustainability efforts to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and has made industry commitments to Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, the Future of Tourism initiative, and the Glasglow Declaration. Our online Virtual CAS Conferences and annual Global Student Conferences aim to directly address these issues through expert presentations in an approachable setting for students.
We are also coordinating with CAS Trip Leaders and suppliers in our destinations to engage in sustainability discussions. We offer Travelife access to our partners who may be interested in the online training provided, as well as surveying them to understand what they think is imperative to focus on. This has been applied in our efforts to reduce food waste through internal development and providing information for customers through the CAS Trips app.
Our collaboration goals include incentivizing further sustainability training across our supply chain and continuing to develop the application of sustainability principles alongside our trip leaders.
Financial Support for Good
Over the past year, CAS Trips has ensured additional internal capacity to set and work towards our sustainability objectives, including appointing a Sustainability Manager and offering our Take the Train Initiative. Many of the previous points discussed were only possible with this renewed focus. We are excited to continue to donate to projects aligning with our mission as CAS Trips and to showcase a renewed sustainable focus integrating standard carbon removal contributions in our programs from 2023.
Given the need for new approaches to fight the climate crisis, we are eager to continue supporting young people’s innovations through our efforts like the CAS Project Challenge on-trip and online. We believe that funding innovative solutions and educating students concerning their unique influence is where our efforts can leave the greatest impact.
Future financial goals for CAS Trips include providing additional support for our local non-profit partners and their projects to ensure the destinations we visit thrive in the long term.
While we are proud of what we have achieved over the last year, we acknowledge that our trips will inevitably impact the world around us, meaning there is always more we can be doing. We look forward to more developments and partnerships in 2023, so stay tuned to see what we have in store.