The Lower Zambezi National Park has become the world’s first national park to achieve a carbon neutral status. The reserve has now reached a point where it generates little greenhouse gas emissions from its operations, and the unavoidable emissions are offset by purchasing Verified Carbon Units (VFU) from the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project.
Inspired by efforts to achieve carbon neutral national parks from operations in the USA and UK, this Zambian initiative aims to show Zambian private sector tourism leadership, and their solidarity with those calling for global climate action.
Tourism is the world’s largest service sector industry, with significant energy, fuel and food production needs, and this announcement is sending a message to other operators worldwide to take incremental steps to reduce the emissions from tourism activities.
In Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP), every single tourism concessionaire based in the NP participated in this initiative. Even lodges based on the outskirts of the park funded the carbon neutrality of all the conservation management operations.
Operators took the further step of offsetting their head offices in Lusaka, Zambia’s Capital. Private sector operators voluntarily funded this milestone from their own internal revenues.
“The Lower Zambezi National Park is a world class tourism and conservation product, “ said Mr. Grant Cummings of Chiawa and Old Mondoro Camps, whose camps were the first to participate in this pioneering effort. “The operators are truly committed to this area, and to going the extra mile to run responsible, and sustainable products that contribute to Zambia’s position of offering some of the most fantastic and unique tourism experiences in Africa.”
Each year, the operator’s carbon footprint will be assessed to continue with carbon neutrality and improvement of the emissions reduction strategy.
The aim is to strengthen the scheme over time and provide lodges and clients with a pathway to achieving higher levels of emissions reductions not generated in the park, but related to travel to the park.