The Carbon Challenge

The climate challenge is urgent, and the tourism industry must be a driver of change.

We must act immediately to accurately measure our individual and collective carbon footprint, work together to significantly reduce carbon emissions by 2030, and be net zero carbon before 2050.

Read about the Tourism Carbon Challenge and take steps within your own business.

Part of your sustainability journey is ensuring you keep track of your carbon. Understanding your emissions breakdown is important so you can act on the trends you see. There are different tools that you can use depending on your needs and where you are in your sustainability journey. Free tools will provide an estimate of your emissions. Paid tools will follow international standards for quantifying and reporting your verified carbon emissions.

Tools that calculate your emissions are combined with tracking tools. Calculating is the first step in understanding what your carbon impact is across your business and tracking ensures you know the cumulative impact and can decrease emissions where possible. Offsetting is a step you can take to offset any unavoidable emissions. Keep in mind that the goal is to reduce emissions and offsetting is only a short-term solution. Here are some answers to common questions about offsetting.

The final step is certification to show tourists, your community, and other businesses how far along you are in your carbon reduction journey.


EKOS Tourism Calculator - Lite (FREE)

This free online calculator is great if you don’t quite have the information for a full carbon assessment or the means to be zero carbon yet. It provides you with an easy-to-read overview and report of your emissions and allows you to track your emissions from a variety of sources across your business.

EKOS Lite also offers a carbon offsetting option that supports New Zealand and wider Pacific indigenous forest conservation and development. As well as the cost of offsetting carbon, this incurs a small fee. This includes the issuance of the EKOS Carbon Friendly certification if you would like it. 

Sustainable Business Network (FREE)

The Sustainable Business Network free Carbon Emissions Calculator is excel based. It will provide you with a visual representation of your monthly emissions and cumulative emissions by source. It provides you with a simple way of distinguishing where you need to improve. This would be a good tool for detail-oriented people and those with some excel experience. It does not provide you with certification or carbon offsetting tools though this leaves the opportunity open for you to decide how you do this.

Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (FREE)

HCMI is made specifically for hotels and provides you with hotel specific input slots that allows you to break down your emissions based on number of rooms, size of property, type of hotel etc.

Carbon Neutral Trust (FREE)

Carbon Neutral Trust has an online and offline tool that allows you to calculate your emissions. This tool considers trees and shrubs that may already sequester carbon as well as any worm farms etc that exist on your property. If you are having issues with calculations, you can send in the offline form to their volunteers, and they are able to assist in calculating your emissions. The trust offers local offsetting opportunities to ensure your contribution goes back into your community.

Toitū Carbon Assess (PAID)

Toitū carbon assess is a low cost paid carbon tool. The tool provides you with reports to collate your data and benchmark it with others in the industry. Toitu carbon assess includes the calculation software, 5 years of carbon assessments, footprint reports, secure sharing with chosen stakeholders and annual and sector comparisons. This is a great tool if you like the information broken down for you in an easily digestible way and wish to share your results with specific stakeholders such as those in your supply chain.

Toitū (PAID)

Toitū also offers programmes called Toitū carbonreduce and Toitū carbonzero which provide internationally recognized certification to businesses. They are paid programmes and include membership, auditing, certification etc. The cost depends on business type and size. These programmes require annual audits of your business. There are offsetting as well as reduction requirements to remain certified by Toitū. This would be a great tool for a business who is ready to take the next steps to becoming net zero.

Toitū has a range of offsetting projects in several countries including New Zealand, China, Thailand, India, Chile, and others. Their projects include renewable energy generation, forest sequestration, landfill methane capture.

EKOS Business Calculator (PAID)

EKOS works with you to measure your carbon and work towards certification of your business in net zero or even net positive. You are provided with detailed reports on your emissions. Businesses must be committed to their reduction targets to take these programmes on and already have a good understanding of their emissions profile.

Their offsetting programme is run through partnership with landowners to grow and protect indigenous forests in New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

Thinkstep Carbon Programme (PAID)

The Thinkstep Carbon Programme offers advisory support to assist you in dealing with emissions through business strategy advice and science-based targets. This programme is similar to the other paid tools, however, provides you with flexibility on the certification and offsetting options you choose.