And the Winner is….

On March 30th, The Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce (TLBCC) announced the winners of the 2016 Business Excellence Awards. Ocean Outfitters received the 2016 Small Business Award.

Ocean Outfitters is proud to offer adventure travel while taking action on climate change. We came to a decision that in order to be authentically credible to our guests, we really needed to back up what we sell with environmentally responsible behavior. We identified these values and proceeded to implement changes that reflect these standards of excellence. We aim to be Tofino’s leading green business.

Our Top 3 Accomplishments:

Ocean Outfitters is now a carbon neutral company with Offsetters, Canada’s leading carbon management solutions provider. This means we measured our greenhouse gas emissions, are working to reduce them as much as possible and that we’ve offset our footprint by contributing to projects that prevent the equivalent amount of emissions. Offsetters’ projects are verified and validated by third parties to ensure that the emission reductions are real, additional and permanent. By supporting their projects, we prevent the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions that we would have emitted if we didn’t offset.

Some of the projects we’re supporting are:

The Great Bear Rainforest Carbon Project an Improved Forest Management initiative, which generates emission reductions by protecting forest areas that were previously designated, sanctioned or approved for commercial logging. It is a landmark project for balancing human well-being and ecological integrity through carbon finance, and is the first carbon project in North America on traditional territory with unextinguished aboriginal rights and title.

Nanaimo Landfill Gas Capture and Utilization is a project a little closer to home. Carbon offset funds enabled the Regional District of Nanaimo to reduce emissions of methane from its landfill by capturing and flaring the landfill gas that is normally produced. Without offset funds the financial payback for this installation would not have been viable and the landfill would continue to emit methane, which has the global warming potential of over 20 times that of carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. Use of these technologies is not common practice and yields savings in GHG emissions compared to the traditional approach. Beyond the direct climate benefits, the installation of the Landfill Gas Capture and Combustion project will reduce odours and the risk of landfill fires or explosions – improving the safety on, and quality of life around the landfill.

The Mare Manastir Windfarm is a Gold Standard offset project in Turkey. Carbon offset funds enabled the construction of the Mare wind farm in Izmir province, which represents a sustainable alternative to conventional, fossil fuel electricity generation. The Mare Wind Farm project contributes to the sustainable development of the local community in the form of job opportunities and trainings, transfer of technology and know-how, road improvement and the funding of local initiatives, like the building of a kindergarten. The Mare wind farm improves Turkey’s energy mix and reduces its reliance on imports. With this development, Turkey’s increasing energy consumption doesn’t have to signify a proportional increase in CO2 emissions. This Gold Standard project is a badge of pride for Izmir province.

Ocean Outfitters is an adventure tour company with a mission behind what we do. Aside from being carbon neutral and conscious business who donates to education and sustainability projects, the largest and most significant thing we do is connect our passengers, many of whom spend most of their time in cities, with the natural world. We carry thousands of people annually on programs allowing the opportunity to view wild animals in a wild ecosystem. The heart of all this is the hope that through connection to wild places we encourage stewardship and inspire people to make positive change. Our educational programs advocate for the preservation of the planet’s treasures.
We have set a goal to become a paperless company and we are almost there! Everyday we are working to implement new ways of operating that reflect our green ethics. Businesses can be solutions!

In the Community:

Ocean Outfitters makes significant annual donations to the Raincoast Education Society who has a mission is to help shape an environmentally sustainable future for the Clayoquot and Barkley Sound region through education and community stewardship. Our contributions enable citizens within and beyond the Clayoquot and Barkley Sound region to participate knowledgeably, effectively and responsibly in the work of shaping this future for our region and for our planet.

Ocean Outfitters cares about wild populations of salmon, which are under ever increasing anthropogenic and environmental pressure.

We implement a 3% For the Fish Fund. This tax on all charters goes 100% to support the Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society, which uses hatchery facilities to increase the survival rates of juvenile salmon. This initiative ensures that our clients have hands on participation in the viability of the resource for generations to come.

Ocean Outfitters also does some small but significant things in house. We do not use plastic bags. Even if you purchase a beautiful Arcteryx jacket you will be encouraged to wear it out of the store. We do not sell disposable water bottles. We rave about our great tasting tap water. We love when you sit in house for a cup of our organic coffee but if you must run and have forgotten to bring a mug, we have 100% biodegradable cups and lids. We even compost our coffee grinds!

Less consumption, less waste, better business. We’re doing our part!