Visit Sunshine Coast, together with with Reforest, TEQ, and Sunshine Coast Council, has launched the Sunshine Coast Sustainability Program, an innovative initiative which aims to engage visitors and the local tourism industry in reducing carbon emissions through local reforestation projects.
Visit Sunshine Coast chief executive officer, Matt Stoeckel, said the program had a significant role to play in contributing to the long-term sustainability of the Sunshine Coast as a destination.
“Our goal is to make a positive and meaningful contribution towards the sustainability of the Sunshine Coast as a destination, and this program reinforces our sustainability credentials and will go a long way in encouraging eco-conscious travellers to visit and make a positive impact to the sustainability of the region,” Stoeckel said.
Notably, the Sunshine Coast Sustainability Program is the first destination-wide carbon removal program in Australia, allowing all members of Visit Sunshine Coast to actively participate. While carbon calculators are not a new concept, the collective effort of an entire region working together on a sustainability initiative sets this program apart, offering visitors and tourism businesses to easily calculate and remove carbon emissions through the regeneration of local ecosystems.
Brisbane-based sustainability organisation Reforest will play a vital role in implementing the program, which is launching with two reforestation projects, one in Cooroy and the other in Caloundra.
“This is all about restoring the local ecosystems that tourism depends upon, and which visitors come to the beautiful Sunshine Coast to see,” Reforest co-founder and chief executive officer Daniel Walsh said.
“In the future we aim to enable a diverse range of projects that are restoring all the important ecosystems of this area, as well as giving visitors the opportunity to have immersive regenerative experiences as part of their stay.”
Sunshine Coast tourism businesses, spanning accommodation providers, coastal cruises, and family attractions, are eagerly signing up to reduce their carbon footprints and contribute to the program’s success.
The Sunshine Coast Sustainability Program includes several key components:
- A carbon calculator to help visitors understand their carbon footprint.
- Tips and tricks for visitors to minimize their carbon footprint.
- Local reforestation projects for visitors to actively participate in carbon removal.
- A toolkit for tourism businesses to calculate their emissions and identify ways to take positive climate action.
- A dashboard to showcase program outcomes and highlight sustainability stories.
The Sunshine Coast is home to three UNESCO Biospheres situated side-by-side, and the planting of more trees through this program will contribute to the protection of this unique Biosphere corridor for generations to come.