Making Travel Sustainable: The Erica Way
Greetings! I’m Spiffy, the Interplanetary Journalist, back with an interview with Erica Eliot, Co-founder & CMO, Jet-Set Offset!
SPIFFY: Hi Erica, Nice to meet you! Tell me what challenge are you addressing through Jet-Set Offset. Love that name, btw! :)
ERICA: Thanks Spiffy! Jet-Set Offset is a donation-based carbon offsetting tool for sustainable travel. We connect travelers and businesses concerned about climate change and corporate sustainability with non profit environmental organizations. The Jet-Set Offset platform facilitates automatic one-cent per mile donations to a traveler’s or business’ chosen charity.
We partner with a growing roster of climate-focused non-profits across the United States with a variety of missions: reforestation, renewable energy, urban greening, conservation, and more.
We want to make happier, more sustainable travel a reality
SPIFFY: That’s very cool! What motivated you to do it?
ERICA: My fellow co-founders at Jet-Set Offset were former business travelers who, after logging more than 100,000 air miles a year for nearly a decade, suffered from extreme environmental guilt. My background in sustainability and my work with non-profit and community organizations has helped our founding team form a strong, mission-driven partnership. We all love to travel, but we are also climate activists who care deeply about sustainability and environmental justice.
We searched for but could not find a carbon offsetting service with the characteristics that distinguish Jet-Set Offset: simplicity, automation, choice, and credibility. So, we created it!
Image Courtesy: Erica Eliot
SPIFFY: Great! How does Jet-Set Offset fight for a more equitable world?
ERICA: Air travel is a major contributor of carbon emissions around the world, and the problem is only getting worse. Jet-Set Offset was built so that we can each help fight climate change (not just cause it) every time we take off. Our unique approach aims to support a broad range of environmental nonprofits working beyond 1:1 carbon mitigation, towards systemic change. Choice and inclusion are at the heart of our mission.
SPIFFY: Tell me about a recent milestone by Jet-Set Offset and what impact does that make?
ERICA: In the last year, Jet-Set Offset members have made offset donations for almost 5 million air miles! For one of our partner organization (Green Energy Consumers Alliance), Jet-Set Offset donors gave one-third of all donations to their New England Wind Fund initiative in 2019. That's enough to provide wind to power more than 104 average homes for a year! We love to share milestones like this because it shows how small, individual actions can lead to impactful and measurable change.
SPIFFY: Good going, Erica! What failures have you overcome to reach this point?
ERICA: Prior to Jet-Set Offset, I'd taken a break from my career and had a flower farm for several years (yes, really!). I failed at some part of that job probably every day -- I didn't sow the correct seed in time, or planted things incorrectly, or a storm took out an entire crop, just to name a few examples. My biggest takeaways from the years I spent farming are: that experiencing failure doesn't *make* someone a failure, and so much is out of our control. What *is* in our control is how we react, and I learned that failure often creates opportunity, spurs creativity, and encourages exploration.
SPIFFY: What's something you've learned unexpectedly from someone recently?
ERICA: I recently experienced a really challenging "no" from someone I'd worked with professionally for a long time, and it hit me personally and profoundly. After a few weeks of sadness and wondering what I could have done differently, however, I realized that this "no" had opened up so many other opportunities for me, and I really began to understand the phrase "Rejection is merely a redirection." I try to remember this now anytime I experience rejection -- that it creates space for something else that may be even better.
SPIFFY: That message really resonates with me! I’ll be sure to broadcast it all over the universe. Thank you for talking to me today, Erica.
ERICA: Thanks for this interview, Spiffy. Safe travels!
Erica Eliot is a designer and social entrepreneur with 10+ years of diverse project experience serving non-profit and private sector organizations. She specializes in designing and implementing creative and strategic marketing solutions and integrated communication initiatives. Passionate about sustainability, typography, good coffee and long hikes. She loves to travel, but calls Maine home. (Nominated by: StartOut)
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse stories with the mission to inspire kids and youth around the world to become entrepreneurs with empathy. This series features interviews of inspiring founders by our very own Spiffy to introduce young readers to innovation, inclusion, and entrepreneurship. Check out Spiffy's tales from Planet Earth and other planets HERE.