Lindblad Expeditions plans an ambitious effort to become entirely carbon neutral, mitigating or offsetting all of the carbon dioxide it produces in a bid to address climate change.

That includes engine emissions from its ships (eight from the Lindblad‐National Geographic fleet and five leased), all land‐based operations, employee travel, offices in New York and Seattle, and whatever other measurable carbon emissions it can counteract.

"It's everything we can identify," Lindblad Expeditions CEO Sven Lindblad said in an interview. "We are going to offset the entire enterprise."

Lindblad said his company worked with consulting firm South Pole to identify six projects to invest in. The investments focus on renewable energy (solar and wind), reforestation, and community‐based projects in six countries, including Mexico, Peru, and Vietnam, countries that Lindblad‐National Geographic travelers visit. 

Lindblad didn't disclose the amount of the investment, but said the projects are intended to offset 50,000 metric tons of carbon, which is about the amount emitted by 9,000 cars, he said.

Asked if Lindblad-Geographic fares would rise as a result of the investment, Lindblad conceded they could, but added, "If we raise our prices too much, it would hurt us, so we're going to be very careful about that."

"Everything we do has a cost attached to it," Lindblad said, but said some costs are necessary. "Nobody is going to prosper in a degraded world," he said.

Lindblad said the offset would be calculated as of the start of 2019, so the company in effect can claim to be carbon neutral already.

In addition to being carbon neutral, Lindblad in the next month or so will introduce a carbon calculator on its website that passengers flying to meet their cruise can use to estimate how much carbon dioxide their airline flight will produce, and what it would cost to offset.

Some cruise lines are starting to address global warming in part by using liquid natural gas for fuel, which produces slightly less carbon than petroleum. Others are experimenting with battery-powered engines.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. last year agreed to invest in a Southern Power Co. wind farm in Kansas intended to offset 12% of its carbon emissions. But no other cruise company to date has announced a goal of complete carbon neutrality.


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