Today, I was sitting in the airport waiting for a flight to Toronto on the way to the National Golf Course Owners Association annual National conference this year in Niagara. Since I began researching the ‘greenness’ of the golf industry, the green way of thinking seems to have carried over into my thoughts and ramblings on other environmental aspects related to our golf industry consulting work. While I would not yet consider skipping the conference because it requires a 5 hour flight and a 2 hour bus ride to attend, I was thinking about how this flight effects the environment.

I remembered a recent BCAA email that detailed the steps that the company is taking to ‘leave a smaller footprint’. Given that BCAA promotes both car and air travel one of these steps is the promotion of carbon offsets in partnership with Offsetters. Using the Offsetters website individuals can calculate their carbon emissions from both car and air travel and the cost to offset these. Since I am still a bit skeptical about the whole offsetting process I will continue to investigate this further. However, I did find a great program that can offset travel at no cost to individuals.

Offsetters has partnered with WestJet and Air France to offer a complimentary “climate friendly” flying option. This option is only available to customers who connect to the airline’s online reservation system through the Offsetters website. Customers can find the airline logos on the Offsetters home page that will automatically connect to the flight reservation page where a portion of their ticket price will be used for purchasing complimentary offsets on their behalf. From the customer’s perspective, a “climate friendly” booking is identical to a regular one in terms of cost, availability and high quality service. The only difference is that when the customer books their flight, the contribution made to Offsetters from participating airlines makes their flight “climate friendly”.

While offsetting is not as good as not flying at all, I will definitely use this program for booking flights from now on and since I try to only fly with Westjet hopefully the program will continue for some time. Please pass this info on to all of your family, friends and colleagues.