This is a celebration post. What does it mean? We will explain it to you. Roughly one year ago (26 April 2018) the first emissions mitigation agreement was signed between Phoresta and Vagabondo Viaggi, thus the CO2 credits generated by the Oxygen Project of Phoresta have been used for compensating the emissions of the travel agency. And this is a joint birthday because it also celebrates the first agreement of this kind that has been stipulated in Italy.
For the occasion we interviewed Matteo Bordini, the owner of Vagabondo Travels, who explained how he got the idea of joining the Oxygen Project. Mr. Bordini has always been concerned about the CO2 emissions coming from the activities of his Travel Agency and was really struck when he became aware of the amount of emissions of the air flights. He told us that 99% of the pollution resulting from a trip is due to the use of airplanes and he wanted to make sure that all these CO2 emissions were compensated. He also wished that these interventions were tangible and verifiable by his clients. First he got in touch with Italian forestry enterprises, but they proposed very expensive solutions, in practice Vagabondo clients would have to pay additional costs for supporting the development of forestry activities. So it seemed that CO2 compensation would remain just a dream. However, by chance, Bordini took a walk in the Treja Valley and saw the logo of Phoresta. He decided to get in touch and so discovered that compensation can be made also through the promotion of eco-system services and more specifically through sustainable forest management, that is one of the activities supported by Phoresta in the Treja Regional Park. In this way, and according to his wish, compensation has become something tangible and verifiable because the clients of the Travel Agency can see that the forest exists and keeps growing. Indeed, last year in June Vagabondo organised a walk in the Treja Valley for its managers and costumers (A/N- a post was published on Phoresta News). The participants were accompanied by a park ranger who showed them the state of the park. The initiative was very successful and had a positive impact on the image of the Agency. On our side, we were positively impressed by the environmental awareness of Vagabondo and would like to learn more about the birth of the Agency and its programs. Vagabondo was not born as a Tour Operator, it started as a forum, a web community where to find travel mates. At the beginning, Vagabondo didn’t sell trips and didn’t charge anything for the assistance given in the search of travel companions. However, the initiative, born just for fun, developed so quickly that became a problems because it started to require a lot of time and energy with no economic return. So, the same users of the platform suggested that Vagabondo should start taking care of the organization of the travels. The owners agreed and succeeded, but they always kept this double purpose: the tour operator makes the programs and sells the trips but the participants are still given the opportunity to meet, know each other and exchange ideas and information in the forums. The Agency keeps developing and providing tips and advice to his clients for travelling better, but it also keeps organising social events for the travelers, for example once a month a walk is organized in Rome, while in Milan there are cultural visits in collaboration with tourist guides. Mr. Bordini also spoke of another interesting initiative for reducing pollution. He told us that he noticed that during the tours that include meals, a considerable amount of disposable plastic tableware was used, hence he decided to ask the participants to bring their own metal cutlery that was then reusable. Let’s talk a bit more about these tours. The Travel Agency organises two of them each year, they last 2 days and the participants are engaged in various activities, for example gastronomic and cultural visits in charming locations, walks and so on. And then in the evening they take dinner together and can socialise. We thank Bordini for the interview: his Agency is a good example of how to promote social interaction, respect for the environment and sustainability. All things that can, must, go together. Our congrats to Vagabondo.