Measure, understand, offset, and educate your staff, visitors, and members about transportation-related carbon emissions.

About the Carbon Neutral Visiting Initiative

Carbon Credit Capital and Environment and Culture Partners developed the Carbon Neutral Visiting InitiativeTM (CNVI) which focuses on working with cultural organizations to understand, measure, and educate their visitors regarding topics of climate change, carbon emissions and low carbon projects.

While many cultural institutions can and do make choices to help slow the rapid and dramatic impacts of climate change, there is a new opportunity to invite visitor engagement to respond to this problem. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that “The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors to anthropogenic U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions…29% of total U.S. GHG emissions in 2019”.

With over 35,000 cultural institutions in the U.S. welcoming millions of visitors each year and contributing to this value, the CNVI was developed to mitigate the impacts of travel to cultural organizations. Through a small fee, often a dollar or less, visitors can offset these emissions by supporting a positive climate action-project. Projects may focus on forest conservation, renewable energy, or clean water and sanitation all of which impact our climate.

In May 2022, the Discovery Museum in Acton, MA joined as the inaugural member of the Carbon Neutral Visiting Initiative. Learn more about it here.

Why Is This Work Important?

CNVI is a first of its kind program for cultural institutions.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of American adult travelers say they included a historic activity or museum while on a trip of 50 miles or more. Members’ and visitors’ carbon footprint from their trips to visit us cannot be ignored.

Prior to the establishment of the CNVI, there was no initiative dedicated to help members and visitors understand and mitigate their carbon footprint. As educational resources, cultural institutions must take responsibility for sharing basic information about climate change and how to limit it. Therefore, we think it is necessary to incorporate Carbon Neutral Visiting in our work.

Through our partnership with Environmental & Cultural Partners, we are thrilled to share that the Discovery Museum will now be offsetting the carbon from their visitors and employees travel to and from the Museum, under their Carbon Neutral Visitors program. It is truly incredible to see such a positive step forward from this cultural institution, one which we hope will pave the way for many other brands and businesses across the industry. This is a powerful way to engage and educate visitors on the importance of understanding their carbon footprint, as well as providing guidance on how small changes in their everyday activities can have a positive impact on the world’s climate. At Carbon Credit Capital we are committed to demonstrating the simplicity of offsetting your carbon footprint and this partnership is one of many that will help us achieve this goal.

Olivia Fussell, Founder, Managing Director, Carbon Credit Capital

Benefits to You

  • Reduce your organization’s carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets to cover staff, visitor, and member transportation to/from your site
  • Support unique carbon credit projects around the world
  • Educate your visitors/members about greenhouse emissions, climate change, and carbon footprints
  • Fill in gaps of your organization’s sustainability/climate action plan
  • Communicate to other institutions that you participate in the Initiative by posting a “Participant badge” on your website

Participate

Please reach out to CNVI@ecprs.org for more information or questions. More information about Carbon Credit Capital can be found here.


Frequently Asked Questions

General

Who manages the Carbon Neutral Visiting Initiative™?

CNVI is managed by three parties: Environment and Culture Partners, Carbon Credit Capital, and the participating cultural organization.

Who participates in the Carbon Neutral Visiting Initiative™?

The Discovery Museum in Acton, Massachusetts is the first participant in this exciting new Initiative.

Why should we focus on offsetting museum membership/visitation?

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of American adult travelers say they included a historic activity or museum while on a trip of 50 miles or more.[i] Members’ and visitors’ carbon footprint from their trips to visit us cannot be ignored.

Prior to the establishment of the Carbon Neutral Visiting Initiative, there was no initiative dedicated to help members and visitors understand and mitigate their carbon footprint. As educational resources, cultural institutions must take responsibility for sharing basic information about climate change and how to limit it. Therefore, we think it is necessary to incorporate Carbon Neutral Visiting in our work.

Carbon Emissions

What are “carbon emissions”?

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are mostly made up of carbon dioxide (CO2) in addition to smaller amounts of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

GHG emissions can be converted into CO2 equivalents so they can be compared. The terms ‘GHGs’ and ‘carbon emissions’ are often used interchangeably in articles and research papers.

Carbon emissions are released during the combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Other GHG emissions come from agriculture and livestock, and cooling systems such as air conditioners and refrigeration, among other sources.

How are trip emissions calculated?

We assist each participating cultural institution with developing the scope and boundary of carbon measurement. We then follow the GHG Protocol and other related carbon emissions calculation standards to perform the carbon emission estimate. To avoid as many discrepancies as possible, we rely on data provided by the cultural institution as the primary data input, including the total number of guests and the total amount of miles traveled by all guests. When it is necessary, some assumptions will be made, and supporting secondary data will be used for calculating the carbon emission estimates.

What is a “carbon footprint”?

A carbon footprint is the total GHG emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, organization, event, or product/service.

What is my carbon footprint?

The average carbon footprint per person per year in the US is 16 metric tons.

What else can I do to reduce my carbon footprint?

Other than the carbon emissions generated from your trip to the cultural institution, your carbon footprint comes from household electricity and heating, diet, waste, transportation (commute and travel), and shopping. The average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 metric tons, one of the highest rates in the world. Globally, the average carbon footprint is closer to 4 metric tons.

Carbon Offsets

What are “carbon offsets”?

Carbon offsets are generated from projects around the world that pull greenhouse gases (GHGs) out of the atmosphere or keep emissions from being released. Each time a project verifies they have reduced, avoided, or destroyed one metric ton of GHG, one carbon offset is created. If you emit one ton of GHG, and fund or purchase one ton of emissions reduction, you have a net carbon footprint of zero.

How do carbon offsets contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change?

Carbon offset projects mitigate GHGs from two perspectives, reduce carbon sources and enhance carbon sinks.

Carbon sources include the burning of fossil fuels. Reducing carbon sources can be achieved by carbon offset projects of improving energy efficiency, developing renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power for small communities, and designing more sustainable transport such as electric vehicles and biofuels.

Carbon sinks are anything that absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases, such as plants, the ocean, and soil. Carbon offset projects, such as forest, and grassland conservation and landfill composting, can enhance carbon sequestration or the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The more carbon emissions removed from a carbon offset project; the more carbon offsets can be generated. Similarly, as more carbon offset projects are established and operated properly, the more venues we will have to reduce carbon sources and enhance carbon sinks.

How long does a carbon offset project last?

A carbon offset project’s credit cycle typically spans 10 – 30 years. This means that the project has the capacity to remove GHGs from the atmosphere and generate a specific amount of carbon offsets during the timeframe. A project can continue if it passes regular verification and continues to successfully perform.

During the valid period of a carbon offset project, the money collected from offset buyers enables the project to continuously operate normally and support potential upgrades of the project design and monitoring method, which is overseen by the project registry. If the project is no longer valid for credit issuance or cycle renewal, this project would become a regular low carbon project but would no longer need to regularly undergo the rigorous review required by the registry. In other words, the project is still an environmentally friendly project but cannot issue carbon offsets. 

How many GHGs are reduced?

The annual quantity of issued carbon offset (equals carbon emission removal) can vary due to the wide range of carbon offset project types and characteristics. Varying characteristics include the technology used to remove GHGs, the amount of input (e.g., amount of waste added to a landfill for a gas capture project), and how long the project has existed.

Why do I need to pay for carbon offsets?

It’s up to you to choose the mode of transportation that you take to and from the cultural institution, but we would like to remind members and visitors to understand that we all can do our part to tackle climate change. With the principle of “reduce what you can and offset what you cannot”, the cultural institution encourages members to offset their carbon emissions through supporting verified low carbon projects.

Where does the money go?

Most of the offset cost you pay will go to fund the selected low carbon projects, and a small portion of the fee will be used for administrative costs. During the valid period of a carbon offset project, the money collected from offset buyers enables the project to continuously operate normally and support potential upgrades of the project design and monitoring method, which is overseen by the project registry.