Climate change is here, authentic, and must be countered. All aspects of travel currently represent 8% of global carbon emissions. As a responsible company with strong values and sustainability embedded in our DNA, one that hosts travelers wanting to explore Ecuador’s natural wonders, we are committed to nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change.
We measured our emissions and those of our travelers and devised a compensation strategy: our guests offset their carbon footprint through forest conservation in the Choco Bioregion, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Our guests and company protect the biodiverse and threatened forests of Ecuador’s Andean Chocó region and help develop more sustainable livelihoods for its people.
This is a permanent, far-reaching, and ambitious initiative, and we cannot do it alone.
Through your investment, and ours, we will expand the current Mashpi-Tayra Reserve of nearly 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) to around 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres) and create biological corridors in the Choco Bioregion — continuous strips of restored land that allow for the absorption of CO2, migration of species, suitable mating strategies, and proper foraging — across a further 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres), equal to nearly 28,000 football fields in one of the wealthiest, most biodiverse places on planet Earth.
What’s more, our program (managed by the Fundación Futuro) also works to develop more sustainable livelihoods for the communities of the Choco through improving agroecological practices, education, and community governance.
Our carbon offsetting program meets the strict international guidelines set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations. It included audits set by the ISO14064 Standard and was initially certified through Germany’s TÜV Rheinland.
Since 2023, we have offset the carbon produced through Fundación Futuro’s NFTrees platform, which employs blockchain technology. The platform emits Non-Fungible Tokens that certify the forest we have protected to offset our carbon — down to the level of a pixel representing 10 m by 10 m on a satellite map. These tokens are non-transferable, traceable on the blockchain, and can’t be duplicated — so they are completely trustworthy and transparent.
Our biggest motivator for our offsetting initiative is the now-acknowledged worldwide issue of climate change, for which we all bear our part of the responsibility.
This project is being carried out through the protection of the rainforest in the Choco Bioregion of Ecuador, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. After much research and study, it has been determined that in order to protect the forest, our conservation effort needs to be rolled out on a number of fronts.
Through the Fundación Futuro, we have formed partnerships to rent land from local farmers and landowners or will be paying them a fee to ensure nature-friendly uses of the land that are kind to people, kind to biodiversity, and kind to the Earth. Additionally, other swaths of forest are to be purchased and tacked on to the current Mashpi-Tayra Reserve (currently nearly 3,000 hectares, or 7,000 acres). This multifaceted effort creates “biological corridors” – continuous strips of restored land that allow for migration of species, adequate mating strategies, and proper foraging — to link up with larger protected areas, as well as financing the development of more sustainable livelihoods in the communities of the Choco.
For us, this project goes beyond carbon footprint offsetting. It is about conservation, biodiversity, and a joint community effort.
We contract the environmental consultant SAMBITO to measure annually the environmental impact of our operations in each of our wholly owned properties in Ecuador, as well as the impact of our operations carried out by our suppliers.
We want to ensure that our offsetting initiative is responsibly handled. This is a serious, long-term commitment from the company, which is why we have a strong due-diligence process to ensure that the methodologies and standards employed by our partners and ourselves are up to the highest international standards.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations recommends the use of specific methodologies and guidelines when it comes to measuring carbon emissions. We have aligned our strategy completely to those recommendations.
Additionally, because we wanted the right know-how for this endeavor, we allied ourselves with environmental consulting firm SAMBITO, and we chose a highly-regarded, reputable external third-party provider of product testing and certification, the German company TÜV Rheinland, for our original certification process.
Since 2023, we offset the carbon produced through the Fundación Futuro’s NFTrees platform which employs blockchain technology. The platform emits Non Fungible Tokens that certify the forest we have protected in order to offset our carbon — down to the level of a pixel representing 10 m by 10 m on a satellite map. These tokens are non-transferable, traceable on the blockchain and can’t be duplicated — so they are completely trustworthy and transparent. For more about the NFTrees, see their website
In order to measure how much CO2 the forest can sequester (capture), our consultant SAMBITO has aided us in performing a thorough measurement of each of the trees comprising the area to be used for offsetting. The methodology is complex, but to simplify, you need to carve out the forest into imaginary parcels.
Each tree in the parcel is then measured (at chest height) and a calculation is done based on the circumference and height of the tree, the type of tree, and the tree’s biomass. This calculation allows one to determine how much CO2 each tree is able to absorb. In the Choco, specifically, it has been determined that the forest can absorb, on average, 287.02 tons of CO2 per hectare (287.02 Tons CO2/ha).
The international price of carbon is not yet regulated or fixed. It varies from a range of $1 per ton offset up to $40! There are even instances of higher prices, straddling the 80- or 100-dollar mark. In such a variable context, Metropolitan Touring has chosen to define a set of criteria or “values” to reflect, in our price, the real costs of capturing the carbon in forests, including the cost of protecting the land where carbon is to be sequestered.
All things considered, we have calculated the cost of offsetting each ton of CO2 in a mature forest at $16 per ton. This figure may rise in the future.
Just book your regular trip as you normally would through Metropolitan Touring. We will use our consultant’s carbon offsetting calculator to measure your carbon footprint for each trip and offer you a carbon offsetting program, the price of which will depend on the type and length of your trip. Your investment will go towards the purchase or long-term lease of the lands in the Choco Bioregion, to be used for conservation purposes.
And DONE. You will now have booked a once-in-a-lifetime trip without leaving a carbon footprint, while simultaneously helping preserve the Andean Choco, and the destinations you have come to know and love.
ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, operates with the sole purpose of promoting worldwide proprietary, industrial, and commercial standards. Different standards have different codes, and the ISO 14064-1 standard specifies principles and requirements at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals.
This governs the design, development, management, reporting and verification of an organization’s GHG inventory. You can find out more about the ISO 14064-1 standard here.
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