1. Thank you so much for sharing your story with our readers. Can you tell our audience a bit about yourself?
Let me introduce myself. I’m Ivan Baidin, and I’ve been the head of Travelpayouts – one of the largest global travel affiliate networks – since 2013. This year, I also became CEO of a new travel project called WayAway, which helps users search for better travel deals and get cashback. I have more than 10 years of experience in the travel industry, and during this period I’ve observed more than just popular trends. I’ve witnessed firsthand how active players in the travel market have started making the business more environmentally sustainable, and I’m really delighted to be part of that trend. We began offering our Carbonfree project to WayAway Plus users a few months after the app launched. It helps travelers reduce the environmental impact of their trips and vacations.
2. WayAway is an innovative way to reduce your carbon footprint from traveling. How and when did that start?
On August 29, WayAway announced a new feature to help reduce tourism’s impact on the planet. The initiative is provided in partnership with Sustainable Travel International, who have been fighting the good fight in offsetting carbon pollution for over 15 years.
3. Can you explain to our audience what a carbon credit is?
Every traveler leaves behind a carbon footprint. Purchasing carbon credits is a simple way to compensate for the harm caused by CO² emissions. These credits represent the amount of CO² offset or absorbed (1 credit = 1 ton of CO²).
Carbon credits are a fast and effective way to help the environment, and they allow you to enjoy the pleasures of travel while reducing its harmful effects.
4. How do you calculate your carbon footprint from travel?
Depending on the distance, an airplane will produce a certain amount of CO² taking you to your destination. This can be measured by Sustainable Travel International’s calculator. WayAway Plus subscribers can get cashback from every purchase and donate to ‘A Green Way To Travel’ directly from their WayAway Plus profile. You can choose to donate the full recommended amount or just a part of it, but we’ll match your donation no matter what.
5. Everyone should be using WayAway to reduce their impact and help the planet. How are you spreading the word about your app?
We believe that educating WayAway users, and travelers in general, about being more responsible with their emissions is the best approach. That’s why we created a special Carbonfree site (link: https://carbonfree.wayaway.io/), where we collect the latest data and explain what a CO² footprint is. After launching Carbonfree, we noticed that many popular travel bloggers were on board with our initiative and even volunteered to share information and tips for greener and more sustainable travel with their subscribers, which included solutions for reducing their carbon footprints.
6. What does the future hold for WayAway? Any interesting projects on the horizon that you’d like to share?
We’ve already started our initiative with Sustainable Travel International. The first project we’d like to support is the Envira Amazonia Project in the Brazilian state of Acre. It aims to protect tropical forests from logging and cattle ranching. We will match all cashback donations gathered via the app in order to combat deforestation and promote sustainable agricultural practices.
We’re eager to partner with other eco-initiatives in the future. WayAway aims to inspire users to redefine travel and reduce its harmful impact on the environment.
7. Are you the only company trying to reduce the environmental impact of travel?
There are a variety of green options offered by travel companies. For example, now you can choose a flight with reduced emissions. Lots of flight search apps give you an emissions estimate for a particular flight, so you can compare and pick the greener option. But buying carbon credits takes it one step further, allowing you to offset your flight’s footprint simply by sharing some of your cashback.
Meanwhile, other technical solutions, like bio-aviation fuel and all-electric jets, are yet to surface. But the responsible choice for travelers today is simple: either limit your trips to walks in the park or educate yourself, so you can understand the impact of your travel plans.
8. What has customer feedback been like? How much CO2 has been offset since WayAway’s launch?
We’ve observed that WayAway users prefer green travel options while planning their trips and searching for tickets or hotels. Research conducted before the launch of our Сarbonfree program told us that 55% of our users consider eco-friendly travel options to be really important. I can’t say exactly how many credits have been purchased at this stage, but I can add that WayAway has already bought 2,000 CO2 credits for the Envira Amazonia Project to offset 2,000 tons of carbon.
9. Would you consider expanding your business to further reduce the environmental impact from hotel stays and other travel services?
That’s actually already an option. WayAway Plus users don’t just get cashback from booking flights. It works with other travel purchases such as car rentals, hotels, etc. They can then decide exactly how much of that cashback to put towards offsetting their travel footprint.
10. Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
Whether with cashback or our Carbonfree initiative, we like giving back to our users. We want to make traveling easy, fun, cheap, and environmentally friendly today and in the years to come.