Sustainable Practices at Amity Tours

It all started with a big dream: Amity Tours wants to become a Zero Waste Company. As simple as that. What might sound easy, is in fact the beginning of a long journey. A fascinating one without any doubt. Let’s dive into the beginning of this long sustainable trip.

 

Our Zero Waste Challenge

 

As a company offering responsible tourism in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District, Atacama Desert and Patagonia of Chile since 2003, we decided to take a new challenge towards becoming a Zero Waste Company. As a result, we are implementing several new measures: 

 

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE AND MUCH MORE.

 

sustainability chileReduce

In order to prevent the production of waste, we have partnered up with local & organic food suppliers. This allows us to buy in bulk. Thus, it avoids the use of disposable plastics but also fuel the local economy.

sustainability

Reuse

We donate all of the remaining reusable water bottles after each operations’ season. In 2019, approximately 450 bottles were donated to local sport clubs. Moreover, we highly encourage our clients to bring their own water bottles.

sustainability chile

Recycling

At our main office we installed a recycling point. We separate Plastic, Cans, Glass, Paper/Cardboard, and of course, all the organic waste generated at our office. Our chicken at the headquarter are happy about every food waste.

During the trips our guides and drivers set up a dismountable recycling point where clients and staff can dispose the residues. These will be collected at the hotels visiting during the trip. In addition, we separate and collect the organic waste to be transformed into compost. This compost will be used for our vegetables garden located at Amity Headquarters.

We are encouraging our local partners to join the Zero Waste Challenge. Sustainable practices and waste management are important focuses by electing our accommodations and food suppliers during the trips. Our goal is it to contribute to a first Zero Waste Destination in Chile.

 

Since 2021 we’ve been forming part of the Zero Waste Community of the Fundación Basura in Chile.

 

Our chicken waiting for their food
Our chicken waiting for their food. You can see our recycling point and warehouse in the backdrop.

 

Tourism Declares Climate Emergency

 

While we were investigating about how to become a Zero Waste Company, a whole new world opened up. We learned about sustainable practices for tour operators and found great local alternatives for our previous waste problems.

During these searches we stumble over the Tourism Declares Climate Emergency website. A global community who has declared a climate emergency and came together to plan a better future for tourism. We immediately declared as Amity Tours and committed to act in order to cut global emissions in half over the next decade. We just finished our first Climate Action Plan.

Being part of the Tourism Declares Community means sharing ideas, challenges and solutions, so that together we can create a new, regenerative tourism industry built on the principles of climate justice.

 

 

climate emergency
Llaima volcano (3.125 meters) from Sollipulli volcano.

 

Carbon what?

 

During our journey we read a lot about carbon footprint, how to offset it or even how to remove existing carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon offset, carbon removal, carbon capture, carbon neutral, climate positive… A complete new area for all of us, and we got a little confused with all these different terms. In a few words we would like to explain each concept in order to give you an idea about our decisions.

 

Offsetting your carbon footprint

 

Carbon offsetting is an internationally recognized way for companies or individuals to manage the carbon emissions that are not able to completely eliminate. The emissions are getting calculated and an equal amount will be invested in projects that reduce or remove emissions.

Need an example: It is like, eating a chocolate bar with 500 calories. Afterwards you bike to the Caburgua Lake and burn the 500 calories. That is how the actual impact (in terms of calories) of eating the chocolate bar would be zero.

Now let’s apply this concept into carbon offsetting: The chocolate bar in this case would be the carbon footprint and burning the calories is offsetting it into projects where carbon is getting removed from the atmosphere (by buying carbon credits from projects, such as reforestation, renewable energy).

 

Carbon removal or Carbon capture

 

Carbon removal means capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and locking it away for decades or centuries in plants, soils, oceans, rocks, saline aquifers, depleted oil wells, or long- lived products like cement. source: Tommorows Air

 

Getting Carbon neutral

 

Carbon neutral means taking action to reduce and remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as an organisation puts into it. Being carbon neutral means that an organization has a carbon footprint equal to zero.

 

Getting Climate positive

 

Getting climate positive is going one step further then reaching the carbon neutrality. That can be reached by creating greater environmental benefits, than the actual carbon footprint. You can remove additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for example.

At Amity we are conscious of the environmental impacts as a business. That is why we need to reduce our own carbon footprint and offset our unavoidable emissions. Since the beginning of our trajectory we have been focusing on responsible and sustainable tourism practices. A fact that also gets reflected in our Conservations Tours.

 

 

sustainable chile

 

Amity Tours and Conservation Tourism

 

We love supporting projects, that are providing benefits to the local communities and environment. Here a few examples we have worked on during our 18 years:

 

Kütralkura – Chile’s First Geopark

 

An amazing example of how geo-sciences connect with local culture for the conservation of the geological and cultural heritage of this landscape in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District.

 

 

 

Mapuche Tourism – Valle del Kuel

 

The objective of the project was to put in touristic value the heritage resource “kuel” of the valleys of Lumaco and Purén. A heritage considered by national and international archaeologists as one of the most important and unknown of the original Mapuche people.

 

 

 

Asi Conserva Chile and WWF

 

The project sought to value, through the design of tourism conservation products, private and community conservation initiatives that make up the trade association “Así Conserva Chile“.
A 100% tour operator pilot focused on conservation tourism was implemented. Where we assured in it all the skills and abilities necessary to sustain itself over time.

 

 

 

Darwin’s Route Tour in Chiloé

 

A tour where you can discover the wonders that Charles Darwin saw on his journey to the south of Chile. Explore this fascinating territory of the Chilean rain forest, and watch the same species of flora and fauna described by one of the Fathers of Modern Science.

 

 

sustainable tourism

 

Route of Parks of Patagonia

 

Our most recent project is a 14-day Multisport Route of Parks, Patagonia. In this tour you will discover Torres del Paine National Park, the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of the Pumalin Park, and a stunning starting at the foot of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant Araucaria trees in Conguillío National Park.

Nature, diversity, local communities and interaction with the culture of Patagonia, while giving back and supporting rewilding experiences leaded by our local experts. This is a featured program in some of the best parks that make up the Route of Parks of Patagonia and The Lake and Volcano District. An unforgettable multi-sport adventure where you can be sure to discover new paths in Patagonia!

 

Our latest inquiry ended up in a local tree planting project.

 

Wiñolfe Anumka

 

In April 2021 the platform Wiñolfe Anumka has been launched. This brand-new project is the response of the inquiry we at Amity Tours made one year ago. We now get the possibility to offset our carbon emissions on a local basis. Wiñolfe Anumka is a Mapuche Pewenche community network offering reforestation of native forests through their own nursery network.

Beginning of 2020 we contacted our local partner, Rutas Ancestrales Araucarias to discuss a solution about offsetting our not avoidable carbon emissions on a local basis. Since many years we are working together with the award winning community based project, sending clients from all over the world, to connect with the local culture. We did share with them our vision, about a reforestation project in Kurarewe, located just a few kilometers away from our headquarters. After our first meeting, we invited a forestry engineer to join the project.

Together with a local company that is dedicated to landscape management, environmental education and regeneration, we stared working on gathering relevant and scientific information. We then calculated the CO2 emissions produced by Amity Tours (approximately 50 Ton CO2), and hence the amount of native trees to be planted to neutralize these emissions. As a result we learned that we must plant at least 14 tree clusters, each formed of 20 different native especies, to be able to offset the 50 tons CO2 in the next 20 years. Together with Wiñolfe Anumka we will be working on the implementation of this great goal.

 

 

 

Local is our solution

 

At Amity we are conscious of the environmental impacts as a business. That is why we need to reduce our own carbon footprint and offset our unavoidable emissions to support the transition to a low-carbon sustainable future. Indeed carbon offsetting alone won’t fix the climate crisis. Despite that, we are convinced that each step towards a climate positive society is worth any effort.

At Amity Tours we want to make changes, share progresses and solutions. It is one of our main goals to motivate other companies and individuals to join the Zero Waste Movement and to participate actively in the big challenge of changing unsustainable habits.  We are not only a tour operator but also a consultant company and are aware of our responsibility by sharing practical knowledge.

 

 

Amity Greenhouse waiting for its consumers

Our First Climate Emergency Plan

tourism declares chile

The travel industry is responsible for 8% of total global emissions contributing to global warming that threatens these resources. Amity Tours is aware of this fact and we want to be part of a big change and improvement in our industry.

 

That is why we’ve signed up to Tourism Declares, an initiative that supports tourism businesses, organisations and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking purposeful actions to reduce their carbon emissions as per the advice from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030.

As a commitment of the signature we would like to publish our own Climate Emergency Plan. Here you are:

 

Our Climate Emergency Plan 2021-22

 

At Amity Tours we already started with some significant changes in our operations. As we all know, waste and especially food waste has a big impact on the carbon footprint in general, and in our industry especially. Get more information about our Zero Waste Challenge.

 

zero waste challenge chile
Implementing the Zero Waste Challenge during the 2019-2020 summer season

 

As well as the waste management, we are working on a carbon reduction project with a local Mapuche Community. We are planning a tree planting and an environmental education program for children.

We have to be honest and don’t want to promise things we will not be able to comply. The global COVID crisis has been affecting (almost) the whole tourism industry. Amity Tours is not an exception. That is why we had to adapt our original Climate Action Plan that we were working on. Nobody knows what the future brings and that is why we are trying to set realistic goals. As a result, we created a Climate Action Plan with goals until 2022, as 2021 still will be a very different year.

Following, we would like to share with you our goals and how we believe to achieve them.

 

 

 

MEASURE

 

Recently, we joined the Fundación Basura (Waste Fundation in Chile) and got the benefit to measure our waste with the platform: Recylink. Now, we are able to calculate our exact waste during the next upcoming seasons.

Goals for 2021-2022:

  • Calculate our exact waste during the next season 2021/22 with the platform Recylink.
  • Finding a professional and confidential partner to measure our carbon footprint of our operation centre and our tours in the Lake and Volcano District (starting with the 2021/22 season)
  • Investigate if it is worth to get certified by the national carbon calculation program: Huella Chile or any international certification

 

REDUCE

 

It is very important to measure the waste and carbon footprint, but now lets put these words into action:

Goal for 2021-2022

  • Find solutions to reduce our measured waste at least by 50% by the next season.

 

Gourmet Picnic
Our famous Zero Waste Gourmet Picnic

 

ADVOCATE

 

Since we signed up at Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency we have shared the great initiative especially with our local partners. We got positive feedbacks and interest for the community. The AWA Hotel in Puerto Varas, one of our main hotel partners, already shared its Climate Emergency Plan.

Goals for 2021:

  • Create a local community in the Lake and Volcano District where different companies and organization from the tourism sector will share sustainable practices and advocate for a massive declaration.

Goals for 2022:

  • Create a Zero Waste Lake and Volcano District, where we include a big number of tourism organizations, tour operators, restaurants, accommodations and local recycling companies. Together, we will work for the first Zero Waste Destination in Chile. 

 

INVEST (OFFSETTING)

 

Together with our local partners Rutas Ancestras Araucarias and SALTUS we started working on a reforestation project during 2020. When COVID-19 hit the world we had to freeze our support for the project and focus on other things.

Nevertheless we are happy to share with you the great work of SALTUS. In this professional and scientific research they were investigating about tree species that has to be used for the reforestation project in our beautiful Araucanía region. 

Goal for 2021:

  • As soon as we can welcome fellow travelers again, we will resume our program with our local partners. The first step will be calculation the amount of trees to plant to compensate our carbon footprint of 2021.

Goal for 2022:

  • We will invest the symbolic amount of one tree for each client. The money will be used for the project. (Installing a nursery garden, capacitation to the local community, giving classes to the kids in the rural schools about the tree plantation and its positive effects for the environment and community, monitoring of the plantation and much more)

 

Each year we will be sharing our process with you. Stay tuned and we are happy about every comment, experience or recommendation! Get in contact with us!

 

 

Araucaria trees
The famous and native monkey puzzle trees. (Araucaria araucana)

 

Do you want to know more about the Tourism Declares community?

Twitter: @TourismDeclares / Facebook: Tourism Declares@tourismdeclares

#ClimateEmergency / #tourismdeclares

A new year and a new zero waste challenge for Amity Tours

trash can hand blue grey container

As 2019 is coming to an end, Amity Tours has taken a new challenge towards becoming a zero waste company. These are the first steps we are currently taking.

 The current problem

Our current lifestyle generates each year billions of tons of waste. Most of them end up causing natural damages for our fragile environment. Likewise in Chile, more than 40% of all the generated waste ends up in landfills without a minimum of sanitary requirements. This means that the groundwater and the river streams are affected directly, as well as the Pacific Ocean.

In the travel industry, this issue is affecting us on a daily basis. As an inbound tour operator established in Chile since 2003, Amity Tours organizes active trips in wilderness and protected areas, where responsible practices are fundamental. Since the beginning of our operations, sustainability has always been an important aspect of our travel experiences. As of today, it has become a number one priority for us.

Our first steps

As a company offering responsible tourism in Chile for 16 years, we decided to take a new challenge towards becoming a zero waste company. As a result, we are implementing the following measures:

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” Practice

  • Reduce: In order to prevent the production of waste, we have partnered up with local & organic food suppliers. This allows us to buy in bulk. Thus, it avoids the use of disposable plastics but also fuel the local economy.

 

granola bar snack
@sweet_bee_chile
green leaves salad organic
@laguertinadepichares
beer growler bottle
@cervezatropera

 

 

 

 

 

  • Reuse: We donate all of the remaining reusable water bottles after each operations’ season. In 2019, approximately 450 were donated to local sport clubs (Bagualitos Park, & TeamPucón). For 2020, we plan to give away another 500 more. In the future, we will work with our partners on finding a sustainable solution regarding this issue. Moreover, we highly encourage our clients to bring their own water bottles. This will reduce the amount of plastic generated by our tours.

team pucon beach water bottle

  • Recycle: At our main office we did install a recycling point where we separate Plastics, Cans, Glasses, Paper/Carton and of course all the organic waste generated at our office, the cabins and part of the waste generated during the trips. During the trips our guides and drivers set up an dismountable recycling point where clients and staff can dispose the residues to be collected at the hotels visiting during the voyage. In addition, we separate and collect the organic matter to be transform into compost. This compost will be used for our vegetables garden located at Amity Headquarter.
recycling bin yellow green plastic glass
Recycling Point Amity Tours

Coming soon

Even though our efforts towards becoming a zero waste company are already making a change, we still have a long road ahead. For 2020, we plan to measure all the waste and recycled materials generated during our tours from November 2019 to April 2020. Based on the collected information, we´ll make sure to reduce our waste production for the 2020/21 season.

In addition, we will keep integrating and handpicking new local suppliers that also apply sustainable practices in order to eliminate waste directly at the source. Moreover, we are integrating our selection of hotels / restaurants in our efforts, as they will receive part of the generated waste during the tours.

Last but not least, our friendly team will be the main protagonist in our challenge of becoming a zero-waste company. Indeed, they will share and implement on the field the company’s efforts, and hopefully create a huge impact on our guests’ minds.

Soon, we’ll keep you posted on the upcoming zero-waste solutions and share with you our progress.

Join us on this great adventure by sharing this article with your travel buddies. Let’s go for a greener travel industry!

hands endemic tree araucaria