Our Green Efforts
As world travelers, we at Rick Steves' Europe understand that climate change is real — and that its impact hits people in the developing world harder than those of us in the developed world. We also know that by promoting travel, we can be a part of the problem: Jetting around the planet — and other activities associated with travel — gives us a heavier carbon footprint than staying at home. But the way we travel at Rick Steves' Europe helps our clients empathize with problems around the world, making us better stewards of our planet. Also, as citizens of a powerful nation, by gaining a broader worldview, we can become part of the solution.
We are looking for honest ways to become carbon neutral in our work and teaching. For example, after being told that it takes six trees to negate the carbon impact of flying to Europe and back, in 2008 we paid to have 80,000 trees planted — enough to "cover" the roughly 12,000 travelers who joined us on our tours that year. Some may say this is more of a feel-good gesture than a real fix, but it shows our commitment to addressing climate change. Here are a few other ways that we are trying to be good environmental citizens in our workplace.
- Since March of this year, we've been offsetting 100 percent of our electrical consumption at Rick Steves' Europe by purchasing blocks of more environmentally friendly power (primarily wind power) from our local utility, Snohomish PUD
- We've also agreed to reduce our electrical consumption by 10 percent as part of the Snohomish PUD's Energy Challenge Program (check out the fun commercial they filmed with Rick)
- We're carefully evaluating the ways in which we can consume less and operate more efficiently — taking a closer look, with the help of efficiency experts, at our lighting and heating-ventilation (HVAC) systems and making changes to reduce our consumption
- Rick Steves' Europe employees have been enthusiastic about pitching in. They're being vigilant about simple, but effective efforts such as turning off computers and lights when not needed, and embracing a new food-scrap composting program that has reduced what we send to the landfill
- The majority of the bags in our Rick Steves luggage line are now made with 100 percent recycled fabric (which is just as durable as ordinary fabric)
- Our shipping department uses recycled and/or recyclable packaging material for the vast majority of the products we send out
Our new green initiative is very important to us, and we'll continue to evaluate and improve the ways in which we green-up our business. Thanks for your support.