Airstream and the National Forest Foundation (NFF) have partnered on the Caravan to Carbon Neutral initiative, a two-pronged, industry-first initiative to neutralize estimated carbon emissions created by the driving and towing of the company’s products, and is offer travelers the ability to offset the environmental cost of hitting the road.
As a commitment to the environment, Airstream will directly underwrite the planting of an estimated 118,405 trees by the NFF. Those trees are projected to help cut the estimated carbon generated by the first year of driving of all new Airstream travel trailers and touring coaches manufactured in 2021.
That figure also includes the estimated carbon emitted during the manufacturing and transportation of Airstreams from the Jackson Center, OH production facility to dealerships nationwide in 2021.
In a 2020 Airstream owner survey, 96 percent were concerned about the state of the environment. One survey participant said:
“When people travel with their Airstream, it keeps them more in touch with nature and humanity. This raises their awareness of the importance of having a healthy environment.”
Bob Wheeler, Airstream President and CEO said: “The Airstream community has a symbiotic relationship with nature and the environment. This program brings an innovative solution to Airstreamers who want to neutralize their estimated carbon footprint from driving their Airstream and contribute to a more beautiful natural world.”
The estimated 118,405 trees required to counteract the targeted carbon was calculated using Airstream sales forecasts for 2021, findings from an internal customer usage study, greenhouse gas equivalency calculators developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Transportation Statistics fuel efficiency estimates for gasoline-powered vehicles, publicly reported estimates from Mercedes-Benz, an Airstream aerodynamics study, and tree carbon sequestration estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Caravan to Carbon Neutral also allows any Airstream owner to help reduce additional carbon emissions through the purchase of “Carbon Reduction Kits” from the NFF through Airstream’s e-commerce website, Airstream Supply Company. Each Carbon Reduction Kit purchase is tax-deductible, with 100 percent of the proceeds directly supporting the NFF’s tree-planting program. There are silver, gold and platinum Carbon Reduction Kits available.
The silver Carbon Reduction Kit funds the National Forest Foundation’s efforts to plant 50 trees, reducing an estimated 25 tons of carbon over the course of their lifetime, equal to an estimated 62,000 miles driving a passenger car. The kit includes one 2021 Caravan to Carbon Neutral 5″ x 4″ Decal.
The gold Carbon Reduction Kit funds the National Forest Foundation’s efforts to plant 100 trees, reducing an estimated 50 tons of carbon over the course of the tree’s lifetime equal to an estimated 124,000 miles of driving a passenger vehicle. The kit includes one 2021 Caravan to Carbon Neutral 5″ x 4″ Decal, plus a 2021 virtual badge on Airforums.com.
The platinum Carbon Reduction Kit funds the National Forest Foundation’s efforts to plant 250 trees. Those trees will cut an estimated 125 tons of carbon over the course of the tree’s lifetime equal to an estimated 310,000 miles of driving a passenger vehicle. The kit includes one 2021 Caravan to Carbon Neutral 5″ x 4″ Decal, a virtual badge on Airforums.com, and a 2021 Caravan to Carbon Neutral 12″ x 18″ Flag.
Purchasers of Carbon Reduction Kits will be recognized with custom decals, flags to display on their Airstream, as well as other virtual signifiers, including a badge in AirForums.com, an online resource for Airstream owners.
“We are dedicated to leaving our natural world better than we found it. Addressing the causes of climate change is central to that mission. Transportation accounts for an estimated 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., so this is an area where we have a responsibility and an opportunity to lead,” said Wheeler. “Research shows that RV vacations can produce less carbon as compared to similar airline/rental car/hotel itineraries. But we felt that we needed to do more. The beauty of this effort is that we are both capturing carbon and helping to enhance our National Forests, which are popular outdoor recreation destinations for all Americans.”
Bob Wheeler is an executive committee member on the board of directors for the non-profit National Forest Foundation.
“We are excited to help Airstream and their customers reduce carbon footprints as they explore our National Forests and public lands,” said Mary Mitsos, National Forest Foundation President & CEO. “This program invites Americans to get involved and give back by planting trees and supporting our forests for future generations.”
The carbon sequestration initiative opens a new frontier in Airstream’s efforts to reduce its overall environmental impact. Other efforts include that the electricity at its production facility in Jackson Center, Ohio is offset by renewable energy credits purchased through the Jackson Center Municipal Power’s EcoSmart Choice program. In addition, Airstream vehicles are Certified Green by TRA Certification, Inc, a third-party rating based on resource consumption, energy efficiency, water efficiency, and indoor air quality during the manufacturing process.
Airstream’s innovative designers and engineers are continually seeking new materials to reduce vehicle weight and developing more efficient processes to reduce the resources required to build a “silver bullet.”
Airstream is also developing new concepts and partnering with global experts to reduce the resources used while camping, whether at a campsite or off-the-grid. It continues to focus on sustainable travel, including ways to make it easier for electric vehicles to tow an Airstream and further electrification of all of Airstream’s travel trailers.