Since our founding, Holbrook has been at the forefront of ecotourism and sustainability. We are dedicated to fostering best practices of ethical travel: conserving the environment and local natural resources, and improving the well-being of local communities in all our destinations.

Our Commitment to Sustainability

Our core values are rooted in responsible travel. We make every effort to work with locally owned lodges, tour providers, organizations, and guides that uphold these standards. We actively seek out information that affects the communities and environments we visit, and we aim to educate travelers about local and global conservation efforts in order to cultivate richer, more meaningful connections for both travelers and locals alike. 

Holbrook Sustainability Policy

We know sustainability is as important to our travelers as it is to us. Whether visiting a city, a rural village, ancient ruins, or a rainforest, it is possible to do so responsibly by designing travel programs that are mindful of the potential social and environmental impacts.Our programs follow the principles defined by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). In partnership with our suppliers and field partners, we are committed to:

  • Maximizing social and economic benefits to local communities and minimizing negative impacts
  • Providing education and training externally and internally
  • Integrating sustainability where possible throughout our programs
  • Conserving biodiversity, ecosystems, and landscapes
  • Reducing our carbon footprint and raising awareness about climate change

For many years, we have participated in sustainable global travel by collaborating with and supporting local conservation projects, non-governmental organizations, and community-based programs that advance conservation and sustainable development. 

Carbon Offsetting

Since 2008, we’ve partnered with ClimateSafe to easily allow our travelers to offset the carbon emissions produced during their journey. The ClimateSafe program supports renewable energy, energy efficiency, and forestry projects, both in the United States and abroad.

How ClimateSafe Works

We calculate the distance of your air travel involved in your program to the region you will be traveling (based on averages from common U.S. gateways). We then calculate the tons of CO2 used in your transportation and land/boat program (accounting for program length) and plug this value into our equation to determine the price of your offset.

Since our partnership began, thousands of travelers have reduced emissions through a portfolio of high-quality offsets, including:

Tree Planting

Planting trees is a fantastic way to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere while improving the watershed, enhancing wildlife habitat, and increasing forest-based revenue from nuts, fruits, and tourism activities. Holbrook supports an initiative in the Alajuela region of Costa Rica, where a local NGO has planted 11,000 native species on once barren plains near Chambacu. The project also provides a habitat for meliponas, a native bee species, from which organic honey is sold to a local market.

Water Energy

Water flowing in rivers, lakes, and the ocean can be used to generate emissions-free electricity, reducing the use of carbon based fuels such as coal and natural gas. Some of the greenhouse reductions used to neutralize travel activities come from Canada, and are generated by Summit Power on the Soo River Micro Hydro facility near Whistler, British Columbia.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is often the most cost effective way to achieve greenhouse gas reductions. Part of the reductions used for ClimateSafe come from replacing traditional light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL’s) in low income neighborhoods in north Florida, where Holbrook Travel is located.

Green Buildings

The portfolio of investments that generate ClimateSafe reductions also supports low-energy sustainable building practices, including LEED buildings, Net Zero Energy Home development (NZEH), and off-grid homes. These green building projects are located in Boston, Massachusetts and Florida.

Landfill Gas Destruction

Landfills produce large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. By covering the landfill, the gas can be trapped, cleaned up, and burned, which destroys the methane and thus reduces the impact on the climate. ClimateSafe has contracted with the New River Solid Waste Association in north Florida for this portion of the offset portfolio.

Our Commitment to Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency

We declare our shared commitment to unite all stakeholders in transforming tourism to deliver effective climate action.

We support the global commitment to halve emissions by 2030 and reach Net Zero as soon as possible before 2050.

We will consistently align our actions with the latest scientific recommendations, so as to ensure our approach remains consistent with a rise of no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

As a signatory, we commit to:

1. Deliver a climate action plan within 12 month of signing.
2. Report publicly both progress against interim and long-term targets, as well as the actions being taken, at least annually.
3. Align our plan with five shared pathways (measure, decarbonise, regenerate, collaborate, finance) to ensure climate action is consistent across all of tourism.
4. Share information on activities connected to Tourism Declares and/or the Glasgow Declaration among contacts and networks.
5. Work in a collaborative and constructive spirit with other members of Tourism Declares and/or signatories of the Glasgow Declaration.

Sustainability at Selva Verde Lodge

From the outset, Selva Verde was considered a pioneer in the world of ecolodges and sustainable tourism in Costa Rica. Today, Selva Verde continues that tradition through many efforts to ensure a sustainable future not only for the lodge and reserve, but also for the people and wildlife that call the Sarapiquí region home.

Biodiversity Conservation

When Giovanna Holbrook first purchased the property that would later become Selva Verde, the Sarapiquí region was largely covered in rainforest. To this day, Selva Verde remains a true rainforest refuge – one piece in the patchwork of rainforest habitat found in the region today.

Certificate of Sustainable Tourism

In an effort to minimize our impact on the environment, Selva Verde is proud to carry and support Costa Rica's Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST).

The Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center

Founded in the 1990's by Giovanna Holbrook and Bertha Carter, the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center (SCLC) was established to promote conservation education in the communities surrounding Selva Verde. Today the SCLC is a fully independent nonprofit working to achieve a sustainable future for the people and wildlife of the region.