Spekboom project to reduce tourism industry’s carbon footprint

Posted on 15 July 2019

The Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) and South Africa Tourism (SA Tourism) have launched a carbon offsetting initiative to create awareness about the need to reduce the SA Tourism industry’s carbon footprint.

At the 2019 SATSA conference held in the Eastern Cape last week, the SATSA Eastern Cape Deputy Chair Aidan Lawrence told attendees the tourism industry needs to begin planting masses of spekboom straight away to offset carbon emissions.

Spekboom bush lines a walking trail at Kuzuko Lodge, in the Eastern Cape. Image credit: Elise Kirsten

Pockets of game and other farms have been doing this for some time, including Kuzuko Lodge (also in the Eastern Cape ), which is able to sell carbon credits to companies that need to offset their carbon emissions because of the hectres of spekboom planted there. Spekboom can sequester more than four tons of carbon dioxide per year per hectare planted, making it more effective than the Amazon rainforest at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Also read: SA wonder plant removes more CO2 than Amazon

‘In Scandinavia, there are projects aimed at shaming people who don’t offset the carbon emissions they cause when travelling,’ says Aidan Lawrence. ‘The thought was to create awareness in South Africa about the need to reduce carbon footprint from inbound flights and spekboom, with its miraculous carbon-offsetting properties, was the perfect solution.’

Each delegate at this year’s SATSA conference received a cutting of spekboom.

The project to plant at least 5,000 spekboom will be spearheaded by SATSA that will providing information to the tourism industry on what it can do to offset its carbon footprint, in conjunction with SA Tourism.

‘We hope this initiative will plant the seed on how South African tourism businesses can get practically involved in their own carbon offset programmes,’ concluded Lawrence.

‘Globally the tourism industry accounts for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Each business must take responsibility for its carbon footprint and the impact it has on the environment – the most important aspect of any tourism business,’ said SATSA CEO David Frost.

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tcat - Conservation
tcat_slug - conservation-environment
tcat2 - Conservation
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tcat_final - environment