The Map’s Edge is a small owner-managed safari company, based in Northern Tanzania catering for those seeking an experience and not a safari that comes in a boxed-up package off the shelf. A key focus for The Map’s Edge is to educate visitors about environmental conservation and the impact that their safari has on the environment and its communities. “Travellers and Tour Operators can no longer ignore the damage done to the environment through carbon emissions. We have a duty to minimise the selfish impact of our business and our holidays.” http://www.maps-edge.com/thegreenchameleon.html
The Map’s Edge have strong ethical and environmental values ingrained in their company ethos, and always promote responsible travel by booking only ethical and environmentally focused camps and lodges for their guests. The Map’s Edge support several conservation projects. However their resources were spread across several projects that focused either on conserving natural habitat or supporting marginalised communities, making it difficult to combine multiple projects into a safari itinerary. While they were able to reduce their carbon emissions there was no avenue available to them to offset their unavoidable emissions through a company that shared their values and whose carbon offsets benefitted local communities and conserved the environment.
The Impact of Offsetting
It was not long after the inception of Carbon Tanzania that The Map’s Edge realised that offsetting could take their environmental efforts a step further. In 2010, after reducing their carbon emissions, they began to offset all emissions generated from their safari operations and continue to do so to this day. “Carbon Tanzania gave us an easier and more justifiable avenue to offset our carbon footprint.”
Educating their clients about environmental conservation and responsible travel starts at the first point of contact with their clients. Through offsetting with Carbon Tanzania they have the opportunity to take the educational experience beyond simply paperwork by including a visit to the Yaeda Valley REDD+ project (link). During a visit to the project, guests have the chance to meet with the Hadzabe and learn about their sustainable hunter/gatherer lifestyle, the challenges they face as a community and how they conserve their environment and lifestyle through the Carbon Tanzania partnership.
By offsetting with Carbon Tanzania, The Map’s Edge have been able to push their conservation efforts beyond reducing their environmental impact and are now able to balance the carbon emissions from the entire safari should guests wish to participate. Each guest is given the option to offset the emissions from their safari at the time the quote is sent and approx. 48% of clients agree to offset the emissions from their safari. A further 18% of client’s book through an international tour operator who have their own offset scheme meaning that the Map’s Edge offset is not required.
Offsetting not only aligns with their ethical and environmental values but also enables them to offer their guests a unique experience to meet with the forest communities they support and see the environment their contribution has helped conserve. “There is a lot of hot air generated by the subject of carbon trading, and a lot of controversy, but we have found a grassroots project that we believe makes a genuine difference.”