Ever wondered how to offset the emissions from your high carbon footprint lifestyle? Here’s a newly launched initiative ‘Green Giving’ that helps consumers contribute conveniently and do exactly that.
Global warming, carbon emissions, carbon footprint, and depleting ozone layer - we’ve heard it all. But it’s not every day that one hears of an initiative that helps one to contribute conveniently and easily to make the world a greener place.
As its name suggests - Green Giving – GiveIndia’s newly launched initiative helps consumers to do just that – give towards green causes i.e. towards efforts that will help replenish the depleting natural resources in the world.
The first arm of this initiative is targeted at air travellers. Air travel, undoubtedly the most polluting medium of travel worldwide, is set to only increase in the coming years - with more and more airports propping up across the globe and with the frequency of flights between destinations increasing all the time. Keeping this in mind, GiveIndia has tied up with MakeMyTrip.com – one of India’s largest flight booking websites – and introduced the ‘Carbon Footprint Initiative’.
The initiative offers air travellers the option of offsetting the CO2 emission that they would undertake during their upcoming flight, by donating towards the planting of trees. This tree donation option is integrated with the flight booking process on the MakeMyTrip website itself; wherein an air traveller can voluntarily choose to be part of the project by selecting the number of trees he/she wants to plant. A travellers’ CO2 emission is calculated on the distance that s/he would undertake and the average CO2 emission by an aircraft /mile therein.
Further, a tree absorbs a ton of CO2 during its lifetime and has an average life of 50 years. Using this as a basis, the website recommends the number of trees it would take to completely offset one’s CO2 emissions. Additionally, it also gives the option to partially offset one’s CO2 emission by planting 2, 4, 6,8,10 or 18 trees. Based on the customer’s decision, Rs 13/sapling is accordingly added to his/her total air fare.
These green donations by travellers are passed on by MakeMyTrip.com to GiveIndia, which passes it on to Seva Mandir, an NGO that works in the field of afforestation. Seva Mandir carries out tree plantation activities through the year, which include conducting a complete survey of the plantation site, erecting a boundary wall around the plantation site, water harvesting activities, such as digging trenches, gully plugging, building check dams etc. Pit digging and direct seeding is done only during the monsoon. The tree plantation site for this project is in Udaipur and Rajsamand Districts of Rajasthan, India.
Over the last 11 months, the initiative has enabled 38,399 donors to donate towards the planting of 1,98,010 trees. Here’s what one very satisfied donor - Salon Handa – had to say - “It's a great initiative. I'm very happy that I have a method by which I can offset my carbon emission, and it’s so affordable that you really don't have to think twice about it! Thank you for helping me in making a difference. You keep hearing about how you should do more to save the planet, but no one knows exactly what to do or how to go about it. Initiatives like this help a lot!”
Another interesting aspect of this initiative is the positive impact it creates on the lives of the local community there. Earlier, there were no plants in the region. The tree plantation drive will now ensure that cattle get shade and fodder, soil erosion decreases and agricultural productivity due to improved moisture retention of the soil increases.
With over a decade’s experience of working to spread a giving culture in India, GiveIndia has learnt that the absence of a credible and convenient medium can act as a major impediment for people to do good. And it is this gap that Green Giving fills perfectly - by providing consumers a credible and convenient medium to act.
Says Dhaval Udani, CIO GiveIndia “People want to actively and directly be a part in replenishing the environment, provided we are able to give them an opportunity to do so in a convenient, credible and transparent manner. The phenomenal response to the ‘Carbon Footprint Initiative’ on MakeMyTrip.com is testimony to this.”
Udani and his team are gearing up to extend their green giving to other segments too – from providing hotel guests the opportunity to offset their water consumption during their stays, to offering automobile buyers the opportunity to offset the CO2 emission of their vehicles, and book lovers the opportunity to offset the footprint of their favourite paperback. Clearly, being just a responsible traveller is not green enough for Udani and his team.
About GiveIndia: GiveIndia is India's largest philanthropy exchange that connects individual donors with credible nonprofits across the country. Over the last 10 years, it has channelled more than Rs.100 cr. from 250,000 individual donors to charity. The first to introduce online donations to India, GiveIndia also runs a Payroll Giving Programme that spans 30,000 employees in over 90 companies across India. Other achievements include the initiation of Marathon-based fundraising in India through the Mumbai and Delhi marathons; as well as conceptualizing and executing India's largest online fundraising event last year – The India Giving Challenge.