Panoramic Journeys has a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). We are on a mission to scale up climate action more than anyone would ever consider a small company could do. Net Zero doesn’t seem ambitious enough, so once we are carbon negative – we aim to achieve Climate Positivity and to be directly and indirectly responsible for sequestering 1million tonnes of CO2. We are still working out the timeline and means of measuring this. Get in touch if you can help!
Panoramic Journeys has been obsessively focusing on “The Triple Win” for the last few decades. When we see the impact of climate change on the countries that we love so much, the work that we have been doing seems depressingly token. There is nothing quite like seeing the reality of melting permafrost to make you want to hit the “STOP” button.
One of the ways in which we plan to get started with this mission is to collaborate with others who are on similar paths. We are proud to be joining a collective of travel companies, organisations and industry professionals who believe tourism should declare a climate emergency. We are also a part of this Climate Friendly Travel Registry.
We acknowledge the science stating we have one decade to address the climate crisis. We accept we have a responsibility to tell the truth, act now, and work together to help turn it around.
We commit to:
- Develop a ‘Climate Emergency Plan’
- Share commitment and progress publicly
- Cut carbon emissions
- Work collaboratively
- Advocate for scale
OUR CLIMATE & ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY PLAN – a work in progress…
The world is facing a climate and ecological emergency. Immediate and radical action is needed. We have witnessed first-hand the very real impacts of the climate crisis on our friends in Mongolia, Myanmar and Bhutan. We have seen the horrific impact of cyclone Nargis on our friends in the Irrawaddy Delta and we have been seeing the permafrost in Mongolia thaw more each year.
Panoramic Journeys is committed to being a climate positive company and to proactively scaling up climate action through the work that we do. We believe that through arranging film shoots, climate collaborations and climate positive journeys, we can deepen empathy and thereby spark and scale climate action
We are proud to stand among other forward-thinking organisations and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and to being dedicated to committing to making it our priority in all decisions we make.
ETHOS – Audacious – Transparent – Infectious
We do not claim to know all the answers. We will tell the truth though. We’ll transparently share our progress and our learnings in the hope others will learn from our mistakes. We’ll talk openly, invite criticism and collaborate with partners and competitors alike. Only by doing so do we have a chance of getting to our goal, not just as a company, but as a society.
AT OUR CORE
We are working to become a B-Corp. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
MEASURING – TARGETS & REPORTING
We are committed to setting science-based targets. We are doing this through the following initiative and we encourage others to do the same.
Our target is to achieve Net Zero within 18 months of being up and running again. Our footprint reduction will involve four levels and be assessed on an annual basis;
- Reducing directly
- Reducing indirectly
- Reducing broadly
From the beginning, Panoramic Journeys have been arranging holidays and film shoots that widen horizons and broaden perspectives. By offering up this bigger picture, we set out to enable people to engage with this incredible planet and to empower them to consider what their role might be whilst here. We have witnessed the power of the “overview” affect to result in some great outcomes including guests and partners going on to achieve great things off the back of the journeys we have arranged.
Over the last decade or so however, we have struggled with the apparent oxymoron in the term “Sustainable travel.” There was a great sense of calm when, during the first COVID lockdown, there were no plane contrails in the sky. There were many ensuing COVID chapters (blog posts coming), but one word connects them all – enough.
We have been evolving as a result.
Our offerings will continue to connect people to the “power of awe.” Going forward, offerings will be explicitly connected to climate positivity and the SDGs. Even if a guest isn’t yet into this concept, they will be able to learn what it means.
The fact that our destinations are likely to remain closed for a while yet, we are taking this opportunity to develop a few new offerings that scale up our climate impact. We haven’t yet launched these fully, so a quick taster;
- We are putting emphasis on sabbatical offerings for individuals and groups/families able to take a slow and long overland journey that truly enables them to get under the surface.
- "Portals" that offer a direct connection to the wider world
- Climate Guide Development project
- Climate Storytellers Project
- Carbon Footprint awareness for Production Companies
- We are designing journeys with Climate Guides. These journeys will give guests an opportunity to have first-hand experience of local carbon sequestration projects.
- We design offerings that expose more people to indigenous wisdom and work to disseminate such knowledge passed down through generations.
The carbon and ecological footprint of a journey or shoot is factored in during the design stage and transparently costed in. Guests will no longer be able to opt out of carbon balancing their journeys. At this stage we present climate friendly choices such as travelling overland, taking trains, flying direct, flying economy, not flying domestically etc. We also work to find safe ways to offer biking, riding and kayaking journeys without support vehicles.
We share information about our climate action commitment upfront on our website and in our email exchanges. We aim to empower our guests to get involved and to enable them to embrace the full potential positive impact of their journey or film shoot and to be fully aware of how it balances.
We work to manage our client’s expectations. There will be some climate related decisions that might impact on their experience so we will inspire them to be on board rather than disappointed not to have avocado whilst in the Gobi Desert! When a client knows why a locally owned property has been selected, they don’t tend to long after faceless five star!
We work to connect our guests with the destination in advance of their journey by offering zoom language lessons with their guides.
We work to enable our guests to travel with as little baggage as possible thereby reducing their footprint. We offer local traditional deels and boots for guests in Mongolia for instance. We encourage guests to shop at the start of their journey to support local businesses and then to donate these items at the end of their stay.
Our country managers and guides are being trained to be proud ambassadors of climate action. We hope to make the content of this training usable by others in our sector.
Our guide training puts an emphasis on guides enabling guests to build empathy with their hosts and to better understand their experiences. We work to encourage guests to stay connected with people they connect with whilst managing the expectations of the locals.
Our Mandala accommodation offering in Mongolia uses biodegradable products. We are working with local makers to make them "climate positive" too.
As you would expect our journeys are either free of disposable plastic or in a few cases nearly free. We are working with partners in each destination to support a recycling system of 20 litre water bottles in order to avoid the need for smaller disposable water bottles. We provide our guests with long lasting water bottles unless they already have their own.
We have a number of offerings (journeys and shoots) that involve active support of protecting local biodiversity. Please get in touch to find out more.
We have a few tree planting partners who sometimes have opportunities for our guests to get their hands dirty!
Our guests are invited to visit and get involved in some of the local NGOs work that we support. Some build lasting relationships with these charities. Read about the midwifery project we have been involved in here.
We proactively search out small microbusinesses in our destinations that we can support.
After a journey or shoot we report back to the client on how we all did with regards to the carbon footprint of the journey. We offer a zoom call to discuss what we might all do next time or what we could do whilst in the UK to help us to balance future journeys.
At the end of a journey or shoot, we invite our guests to write a postcard to themselves. The idea is that they set an intention of something they want to still be doing in six months' time. We then post this card to them to prompt them to reengage with the sense of purpose that was made clear during their time away.
We offer guests resources such as slide shows and data that they can use if they want to give a climate action presentation in their community in the future.
To date Panoramic Journeys has worked with C-Level to carbon balance the carbon footprint of our team, clients and film shoots. We have also balanced our operations and the in-country arrangements for our film shoots. Click here to see our Plan Vivo certificates.
We review our carbon balancing and offsetting practises regularly.
Our commitment to reducing rather than relying on offsetting is very strong. However, we anticipate that we will still have some offsetting to do in order to achieve our goal of being Climate Positive.
We are planning to also offset any future emissions with CER in Mongolia.When you offset your emissions with Certified Emission Reduction units (CERs), you choose to take climate action through a process which is overseen by the United Nations. You purchase CERs that are issued from trustworthy climate-friendly projects called Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. CDM projects take place in developing countries and contribute to their sustainable development. Each project goes through a strict and thorough vetting process.
The CDM process involves variety of stakeholders such as the project participants who own the projects, host-country national authorities who oversee national implementation, independent auditors know as the Designated Operational Entities, the UNFCCC CDM Executive Board and its secretariat. At a higher level, all CDM work is coordinated and directed by the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), the ultimate body responsible for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol where all member states take collective decisions.
The specific goals of the Project are to:
- Generate clean electricity, reduce GHG emissions and contribute to reduction of air pollutants by saving coal and water consumption compared to business-as-usual scenario
- Introduce wind power in Mongolia and help to stimulate the implementation of the other renewable energy sources being the first grid-connected renewable energy source
- Introduce private sector investment in renewable energy sector and pave the path for future projects being the first independent power producer with private sector investment in the country
- Create local employment opportunity during project development, construction and operation phases and create local expertise for future projects
We used to have 20 staff across two offices. We will not be returning to that scale anytime soon, but all future decisions we make about the way we and our team work, will be taken with our carbon footprint at the forefront.
Panoramic Journeys have a far reaching and diverse network of stakeholders. Although we are a small company, we have the potential to inspire and influence a wide range of individuals, businesses and organisations. In declaring a Climate Emergency we set out to play a role in empowering our partners around the world to engage with this planetary crisis. We are fortunate to have access to a range of tools and support networks to assist us whilst we reshape our business to be Climate Positive. We will be co-learning with stakeholders throughout our supply chain.
We seek to exchange informative content and Climate Solutions and stories with our international stakeholders. We are setting up an annual forum to enable this.
We have found this to be a helpful calculator for people not in the UK. We are looking for more tools that are as cross cultural in their design.
Ironically in November 2019, James and Karina committed to a year without plane travel. The plan had been to travel overland to Mongolia and back with the kids. That did not happen. Our team in Mongolia, Bhutan and Myanmar are very competent and don’t need us to meet with them often, and so we plan to only have one international return flight a year when necessary for the reduced team going forward.
We will also continue to do all the obvious stuff such as remote working, Zoom meetings, sustainable sourcing, loose tea, veggie staff meals, recycling etc. Our core team drive a hybrid car and holiday in the UK. We get involved in the harvesting of our community vegetable boxes and eat only grass fed, local meat.
Here is a list of some of the climate friendly suppliers we are proud to use:
- The Kitchen Garden People – Our veg
- Climate Perks – Our extra days off for train travel
- Triodos – For banking
- Loo Roll
- Toilet Twinning
- Renewable Energy
- Our searches
Our offices and social media campaigns will raise awareness about key Climate related days in the calendar;
When possible we arrange team building activities around Climate Action. We had fun competing in a Drawdown Ecochallenge. Five of our team represented Oxford and took on Cambridge University as a whole! We are proud to say that our actions outweighed theirs significantly.
Our teams often partake in team building clean ups. One such event in a remote Strictly Protected Area of Mongolia led to us collecting a two-tonne truck worth of rubbish from the Park.
We are scaling up co-learning and storytelling around climate action within our teams and stakeholders around the world.
Our team are encouraged and funded to increase their climate knowledge and skills. One such project is the Gigatonne challenge.
We are dedicated to instigating and developing Climate Collaborations. We believe that this the only way in which our contribution to Climate Positivity can be of a significant enough scale. We are ambitious if not audacious in our intent in this respect. Project links to come.
ADVOCACY – SPREAD THE WORD
Through our obsession with Climate Action we have built up a comprehensive database of inspiring organisations undertaking important work. We are building a separate website that shares links to these organisations. We will share it soon. The aim is to scale up their good work through a project linked with COP26 that we are applying for funding for.
We so love Project Drawdown that we have given the book to dozens of influential individuals including politicians and film makers. We are pleased to already be seeing the impact of that. We will share a link soon to a few of the resulting Film Productions. None of the politicians have made significant changes yet – but we won’t give up!
We are hyper aware of the danger of green washing. We intend to be illustrative in our conduct but we are also conscious that busy lives can get in the way getting it all right all of the time!
This climate emergency plan is a working document, and we will continue to develop our initiatives and goals to reduce our carbon footprint. We will adjust and add actions if needed and monitor our progress on a regular basis. We will share our annual report each year, outlining our progress, as well as potential failures.
We don't claim to have all the answers, but are committed to transparently sharing our progress and learnings, and invite feedback at any time to help us improve.
Impressed if you read all this! Get in touch to give us some input or feedback. Thank you.