Cork-based charity, EIL Intercultural Learning, is paving the way for sustainable travel by funding multiple carbon offsetting projects in Latin America, Asia, and Africa by counterbalancing carbon emissions on all of its outbound flights from Ireland.
The educational charity that facilitates international student exchanges, Explore travel awards, and educational tourism, has recently engaged with international emission-reducing strategists, South Pole, to fund sustainability projects in a number of countries the EIL Explore participants travelled to in 2022.
EIL CEO Kevin Hickey said “We’ve thought long and hard about this, as there are very significant costs involved. However, it is important for us to start somewhere and to continue engaging in the climate conversation.”
EIL has been committed to carbon offsetting and ecological sustainability since the launch of its Carbon Offset Scheme in 2019 and has seen funds support three sustainable projects so far. The Aura Solar project in Mexico replaces energy generated from fossil fuels to reduce emissions and mitigate environmental risks, the Bac Lieu wind farm in Vietnam that provides electricity for homes and industries, and Efficient Cookstoves in Rwanda that reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by creating fuel-efficient stoves.
Adam Peerbux, manager of the Global Citizenship Department said, “EIL Intercultural Learning is committed to being proactive in our ecological sustainability efforts, and we take responsibility for our carbon emissions. We believe that, as an organisation, we have a responsibility to make a positive impact on the environment, and we are proud to fund these carbon offsetting projects.”
This year EIL Explore will fund up to 30 travel scholarships for participants to engage in cultural immersion programmes taking place all over the world with a focus on global justice and climate issues to ultimately inspire active global citizenship. The charity will continue to offset the carbon emissions for these participants along with flights taken by students, staff and volunteers throughout 2023 to continue its carbon offsetting efforts.
Three Sustainable Emission Projects EIL funded with their 2022 flights:
1. Solar Energy, Mexico
Aura Solar is one of the largest photovoltaic energy projects in Latin America and a key driving force in Mexico’s clean energy revolution. By replacing energy generated from fossil fuels, the project significantly reduces emissions and helps mitigate the environmental risks of the transport of hydrocarbons into the delicate ecosystem of the Gulf of California. Generating on average 82,000 MWh of solar power per year the project effectively increases energy security throughout the country. In addition, Aura Solar employs local workers and provides employees with technical training, strengthening the regional economy and providing income security
2. Wind Farm, Vietnam
The Bac Lieu wind farm project involves 62 wind turbines that generate renewable energy that provides electricity to Vietnam homes and industries. It has also created over 100 steady jobs for the operation of the wind farm and supports the local community by funding social activities like sports and cultural events.
3. Efficient Cookstoves, Rwanda
The replacement fuel-efficient stove will lead to a significant reduction in the annual usage of biomass for users. The improved stove has been designed to balance efficiency, safety, cost, stability, and strength with a focus on using locally available materials. By reducing the consumption of non-renewable wood and providing cookstoves with fuel savings, this project reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The project also generates employment and income for people distribution and maintenance of the stoves, as well as training and employing community education staff.