TakeABreak Carbon Neutral from 1 July 2007

TakeABreak is now carbon neutral! As part of TakeABreak's long term commitment to the environment we have measured and offset our carbon emissions.

As of 1 July 2007 our carbon emissions have been audited by the independent consultants Carbon Planet (see their official carbon measured logo below). The net emissions have been offset by purchasing high quality certified offsets. Its all completely certified and with the highest level of rigour in the process.

We have always worked hard to keep our environmental footprint as small as possible but we were still surprised to find that our emissions came out at a very low level of 10.1 tonnes carbon equivalent per full-time employee. Nevertheless we are working to reduce this level even further in the future (more information coming soon). 

How can you help? By using TakeABreak you are supporting a small business that is committed to the environment. Most of our competitors do not incur the expenses so we do need you to support us. Please also recommend TakeABreak to your friends - marketing and advertising activities are one of the largest components of our carbon emissions so if we had more word-of-mouth we could try to reduce our emissions in this area.

So how does TakeABreak keep our carbon footprint so small? We have a comprehensive environment plan and this includes efforts such as:
a) We have greatly reduced our paper usage by moving to digital archival of most key documents.
b) We use online collaboration tools that reduce the need to travel for meetings. We minimise airline travel to trips which are absolutely necessary. So often phone, email or video conferencing can reduce the number of meetings needed. For example our board meets monthly via teleconference and only travels to meet face to face once per year.
c) We invest in energy-efficient appliances and computer systems. Computers are shut down when not in use and office heating/cooling is controlled by staff so the heater is never on if we are already warm enough.

Update January 2010: Carbon Planet has confirmed our ongoing 'carbon managed' status. They have helped us to purchase high quality genuine carbon offsets that cover our emissions.

Update June 2011: TakeABreak has not been able to continue our analysis of our carbon emissions, so cannot now claim 'carbon neutral' or 'carbon managed' for FY11 and beyond.


TakeABreak environmental case study

Starting small to save the environment.
TakeABreak is a small, family-owned and operated business. Many people believe they cannot make an impact when they are a small business, or perhaps they think that taking action to help preserve the environment is too costly for small businesses. At TakeABreak, they put their heads together and came up with some innovative ways they could influence environmental sustainability. 
Ensuring environmentally-responsible behaviour is core to TakeABreak’s operation, the management and staff. In 2005 a member of staff was appointed as the 'Environmental Team Leader' and to act as a single point of contact (this was just part of their overall job, as with most small businesses, TakeABreak could not afford to dedicate a whole person to the task). This was followed by brainstorming sessions to develop an Environmental Plan which covers:
  1. Environmental aspects and impacts of business
  2. Risk assessment and rating
  3. Environmental action plan.
The goals were to: 
  1. systematically reduce the company's impact on the environment 
  2. make TakeABreak carbon neutral 
  3. prevent pollution from company operations
  4. comply with local environmental regulations and legislation 
  5. communicate this policy to business partners, employees and the community through newsletters and onsite signage on equipment 
  6. educate employees and contractors on their responsibilities and ensure this is integrated into their practices 
  7. encourage, support and educate our accommodation operators and tourism visitors on ways to lessen their impact on the environment 
  8. continually improve TakeABreak's environmental performance.
TakeABreak undertook a range of environmental care activities that were specific to their business.
Development of Environmental Codes of Conduct – developed in conjunction with Keep Australia Beautiful NSW, there is an Environmental Code of Conduct for accommodation operators as well as an Environmental Code of Conduct for tourism visitors. These are promoted through the Holiday Inspirations and Business Breaks newsletters to over 240,000 subscribers. They provide practical ways for visitors and operators to mitigate their environmental impact in the areas of energy and  water consumption, water and air quality, habitat/eco system, wildlife impact, aesthetic/cultural and solid waste generation.
EducationHoliday Inspirations and Business Breaks newsletters include Environmental sections each month, with practical care tips to mitigate the environmental effects of travel. TakeABreak encourages responsible and environmentally aware travel and participation in certification schemes such as Green Stars, Eco Certification and Gumnut Awards.
External initiatives – During 2007/08 TakeABreak extended their relationship with the Keep Australia Beautiful Tidy Towns program and the Tidy Towns Travel initiative to include the Clean Beaches program. During 2010 TakeABreak is working with Clean Up Australia to promote the Clean Up Australia day initiative as part of their 20 year anniversary and Team Just 1 consortium.
Carbon Neutral for 2007/2008 and onwards - Carbon Planet has completed a carbon emissions audit for 2007/2008 and the company has budgeted for the purchase of high quality accredited carbon offsets to cover all emissions to make TakeABreak ‘carbon neutral’. As of January 2010 TakeABreak's official status is 'carbon managed'  - this means that Carbon Planet 'measures' the carbon emissions based on detailed information. Carbon offsets are then purchased to balance TakeABreak's carbon emissions. These can be tree-planting or other options include credits, which are invested in renewable energy projects.
Office-based measures that any business can afford - The policies of reduce, re-use, repair and recycle are well received by staff who are reminded through regular ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions, staff bulletins and through signage on equipment (monitors, heaters, lights).
Staff have flexible work hours and can work from home to reduce transport needs/congestion at peak hours.
To reduce usage, offices use energy-efficient light globes, windows/doors for natural ventilation, blinds to limit cooling/heating needs. Where possible, stationery (paperclips, folders, batteries, blu-tak) is re-used.
Computer parts are recycled, replacements are bought 2nd hand (e.g. monitors) and surplus items are donated to schools and non-profit organisations.  Inkjet cartridges are refilled and laser cartridges recycled via Planet Ark. Printing is 2 up or two sided. Used paper is re-used for notepads or composted (along with teabags etc) for schools for pet care. Stamps are sent to charity. Recycled products are purchased when possible (e.g. paper products).
The company's preference is for suppliers who adhere to environmentally-conscious products/procedures:  such as Enjo products and Tri-nature for cleaning; green electricity is used where possible; the default superannuation fund is Australian Ethical, who invest in environmentally-sound businesses.
The company vehicles are registered with Green Fleet to offset the greenhouse effects of using them by planting trees.
The Sydney office uses recycled timber throughout, including bearers, joists and framing.
Operational measures - TakeABreak is a low resource information source, which is viewed via a computer, not thousands of sheets of paper that become outdated, and are reprinted each year (or more often).  The depth of content (detailed descriptions, images, maps, pricing, availability content) reduces the need to print and post thousands of brochures. Enquiry emails carry the footer “Please consider the environment before printing this email”.
Electronic storage and submission of over 90% of accounting: tax, payroll, banking and invoices.
This is just the start and each year the environmental plan is reviewed along with other business plans, so TakeABreak continues to innovate and achieve year-on-year.
About TakeABreak.com.au
TakeABreak.com.au is the only independent online travel site specialising in boutique accommodation in Australia. Over 13,000 hotels, B&Bs and guest houses are listed on the site complete with in-depth information and guest reviews. The properties are easily searched via experience – pet-friendly, family, seniors, gay and lesbian-friendly and geography. The booking process is quick and simple with a “Best Deal” guarantee to ensure we are providing the cheapest price for that stay.





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