Climate Smart Commitment: 2022 Portfolio Annual Report

$500,000 Invested in 11 Organizations

In late 2019, Rick Steves' Europe launched our Climate Smart Commitment — a program designed to pay back the environmental debt created by our travelers flying to Europe to join our bus tours. Our goal: to creatively mitigate our carbon footprint by smartly investing a self-imposed carbon tax into non-profit organizations that fight climate change in two ways: by helping farmers in the developing world employ climate-smart agriculture technology, and by advocating in the halls of government to take the threat of climate change more seriously.

After three years of running our program, we continue to believe lasting change requires both hands-on work and advocacy. Climate change hits the poorest people in the poorest countries the hardest. Roughly half of the world’s population is made up of smallholder farmers and in their desperation to grow enough food and earn enough income to support their families, their farming practices contribute substantially to climate change — and their resources are scarce. Without the US taking a global leadership role, the combined actions of all the world’s non-profit organizations isn't enough. That’s why we believe the US must implement smart policies that acknowledge the link between climate change and hunger (both at home and abroad) while supporting the transition to a climate-smart economy.

We're presenting this report to show our travelers (and those who might travel with us in the future) what we accomplished in the past year. Despite canceling all our tours in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID pandemic — and shrinking our travel-related carbon footprint to near-zero — we couldn’t bear to stop supporting the great work of our partner organizations. In 2021 we committed $500,000 to fund our Climate Smart portfolio, and in 2022 we committed another $500,000.

While climate change and smart development often seem abstract, the organizations in this report are perfect examples of how positive and life-changing action is being realized in faraway places. We are proud to offer those who take our tours the peace-of-mind that our “self-imposed carbon tax” effectively mitigates the carbon they emit to join us in Europe. Together, we're making a difference. With our support, these organizations have taken three villages out of extreme poverty, reforested multiple football fields of degraded land, prevented tons of carbon from being emitted, saved thousands of trees from becoming firewood, brought back biodiversity, improved living conditions, and helped enact major climate legislation. It feels good. It’s ethical as a business practice. And it's simply good global citizenship.

This annual report shares what nine of our partner organizations accomplished in 2022. Despite the global pandemic, these organizations persevered, delivered on their missions, and fulfilled their pledge to be transparent with us. They inspire all of us at Rick Steves’ Europe. We hope you enjoy reading about their work.

Happy climate-smart travels,

Rick Steves and Craig Davidson

Learn more about our Climate Smart Commitment.

Agros International

Donation: $119,000
Our donations allowed Agros to continue to expand their agribusiness center in Nicaragua and help more than 500 farming families learn how to use hydroponics, vermicomposting, and reforestation techniques to improve soil conditions, increase their yields, produce healthier food, help with the reforestation effort, protect water recharge zones, and generate more income. Read more

Food 4 Farmers

Donation: $40,000
Our donations allowed Food 4 Farmers (F4F) to partner with six cooperatives representing over 6,200 coffee-farming families in Latin America and increase their food security. F4F‘s goals: teach climate-smart practices, strengthen local food systems, improve incomes, reduce deforestation, restore local ecosystems, and create a healthier planet. Read more

Zeitz Foundation

Donation: $100,000
Our donations allowed the Zeitz Foundation (ZF) to continue implementing its Tree of Life Reforestation Initiative in Laikipia, Kenya, combining women’s education and vocational training with reforestation, conservation, and biodiversity.   In so doing,  ZF offers women  an opportunity for independent incomes  and  financial freedom while regenerating the landscape (with a goal of  reforesting over 3 million acacia trees), enhancing soil stabilization and fertility, recapturing water, and ensuring the survival of a biodiverse ecosystem.  Read more

Global Communities logo

Global Communities

Donation: $75,000
Our donations allowed Global Communities (GC) to transition 488 households (2,928 individuals) in the dry western highlands of Huehuetenango, Guatemala from traditional open fires to climate-smart water filters and cookstoves, reforest 30,300 seedlings, and build drought-resistant, water-conserving gardens. Read more

Climate Smart grant recipient Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance

Donation: $30,000
Our donations allowed the Rainforest Alliance (RA) to expand their climate-smart agriculture work in Ghana – benefitting 3,600 local farmers across 76 communities by providing the climate-smart tools and training necessary to produce cocoa sustainably and conserve Ghana's forest landscape. Read more

Rainforest Action Network

Donation: $40,000
Our donations allow the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) to challenge the multinational corporations that use unethically sourced resources and protect the Leuser Ecosystem of Sumatra, Indonesia from deforestation caused by the illegal expansion of pulpwood and palm oil plantations. Read more

Citizens' Climate Education

Donation: $40,000
Our donations helped Citizens' Climate Education (CCE) strengthen their nationwide coalition of climate advocates, create a powerful counterweight to paid lobbyists advocating for the fossil fuel industry, and educate policymakers and the public about smart solutions to climate change. Read more


Beads for Education

Donation: $10,000

Our donation allowed BEADS for Education (“BEADS”) to teach 125 students about climate-smart farming practices, expand their school farm and provide climate education workshops for more than 7,000 people in Kajiado, the Amboseli National Park region and the Maasai Mara. Read more

Bread for the World

Donation: $20,000

Our donation allowed Bread for the World (Bread) to scale up their advocacy efforts and raise awareness in our government of how climate change makes more people hungry which, in turn, makes our world less stable. Climate change is a major contributor to global food insecurity, especially in low-income countries. Extreme weather events such as drought and floods are increasing, affecting food production, and making it harder for those living in poverty to feed their families and provide a nutritious diet. Read more