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At Baja Bikes we believe that as a company and as a group we have a responsibility to our environment, our society and our planet. A company that has been in existence for more than 15 years cannot serve only the interests of its own shareholders.
This awareness ensures that we make decisions that are in line with corporate social responsibility and the pursuit of sustainable tourism. We want to use the power of Baja Bikes and the influence we can have for this purpose.
In order to make this goal concrete rather than just vague, we enlisted the help of MVO Nederland. We became a member, and together we developed a roadmap for Baja Bikes. This roadmap is based on the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were unveiled by the United Nations in 2015 as the new global agenda for sustainable development through 2030. Baja Bikes has taken three of these development goals and implemented them in its business operations. Below, we explain which ones and how.
Companies can support the goal of good health and well-being by (among other things) making thoughtful choices about what they offer their customers. Therefore, we are striving to offer only activities that are good for the body and mind. During our bike tours, for example, you develop yourself, learn something in the process, have fun, relax, experience something of a different culture, expand your horizons and exercise at the same time. So when we are making decisions about which products or services to offer, these elements are critical.
The essence of experiencing a city or destination with Baja Bikes is, of course, the bicycle as a means of transportation. Whether it’s a city tour, a bike holiday, renting a bike and biking on your own, or an electric mountain bike tour in the mountains. When it comes to promoting good health during a city trip, the bicycle is the ideal mean of transportation.
Here are just a few reasons why cycling is so good for your mind and soul:
Our point is simple: tourist and less tourist destinations cannot perish from their own popularity. Cycling in the city does not pollute the environment at all: bicycle tours are even eco-friendly. Because of the hundreds of thousands of people who cycle with us each year, we encourage the City Council to invest more in bike lanes and other green infrastructure.
Since Baja Bikes started in Barcelona in 2005, more than 250 kilometers of bike lanes have been built. We do not pretend that this is our merit, but we have certainly contributed to this process. For example, associations of bike tourism companies have been created to consult with municipalities about infrastructure and the coexistence of tourism and residents.
Additionally, when you book with Baja Bikes, you stimulate the local economy, and we have a financially responsible policy. We are not a multinational company based in a tax haven. During high season, we create work for more than a thousand locals who earn money, pay local taxes and make a life for themselves through Baja Bikes customers. Three-quarters of the money Baja Bikes earns goes directly into the local economy at the customer’s destination.
Baja Bikes has been a green company from day one because we do everything by bike. Then because we thought it was a fun activity, now because we also believe that bikes play an important role in reducing pollution in cities. This Dutch research showed that on average, a bus passenger produces 137 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometer. This means that an average participant of an average Baja Bikes bike tour (of 12-15 kilometers and 3 hours) saves one and a half to two kilograms of CO2 by not being on a tourist bus. Well done!
That’s why we select our product offers according to the criteria of environmental friendliness: Bike tours, bike rentals, E-MTB tours and Escape Tours. We get enough offers to offer other things as well, but based on the above, we decide against it if it doesn’t meet that goal.
Climate policy also plays a role in choosing partners. For example, we work with a bank that also focuses on sustainability (mehr lesen).
Our goal for 2021 is to make Baja Bikes completely CO2 neutral. And here is how we plan to do it.
The first step was to calculate the environmental impact we create – our so-called “carbon footprint.” To do so, we used a calculation model from Carbonfootprint.com, which uses the number of employees, office space, flights, fuel and a few other things to calculate the environmental impact. In our case, the model gave a result of about 50 tons of CO2 per year caused by Baja Bikes.
We then contacted the Life Terra Foundation, a foundation supported by the European Commission that focuses on biodiversity and climate protection. The Life Terra Foundation helps companies and organizations neutralize their carbon footprint by planting trees. According to the foundation, Baja Bikes should plant 250 trees per year to neutralize the 50 tons of CO2 over a 40-year period.
Here’s how it works: They plant 250 trees on a plot of land that the foundation has arranged to remain untouched for at least 40 years. It takes the trees about ten years to grow and to become a small forest. After 40 years, the forest is transformed into a full piece of new nature. The trees also need these 40 years to neutralize the 50 tons of CO2, which means we will need to plant 250 trees every year. To reduce the risk of viruses and insects, 8 different species of trees are planted in one forest. At the beginning of 2021, we signed the contract with Life Terra Foundation to plant 250 trees every year.
250 trees are about 0.25 hectares of forest, depending on the tree species. After 10 years, Baja Bikes will have planted 2.5 hectares or 25 thousand square meters of a new forest!