Certifications such as that of Estância Mimosa, from the Rio da Prata Group, are among the climate action goals proposed by the United Nations and the Glasgow Declaration for tourism.

Climate change is one of the biggest problems currently facing humanity. Since 2021, the Glasgow Declaration has offered all actors in the tourism sector a strategic framework that encourages the internalization of climate action in all areas of the tourism value chain: destinations, attractions, companies and tourists.

In this context, Estância Mimosa, an important ecotourism attraction located in Bonito (MS), celebrates an unprecedented achievement for the global tourism sector. It became the first tourist attraction in the world to receive Climate Positive Certification, granted by the International Green Initiative Organization. This achievement highlights the commitment and work of Estância Mimosa, not only towards environmental sustainability and the preservation of local biodiversity, but also with the climate action goals proposed by the United Nations and the Glasgow Declaration for tourism.

The Certification was awarded to Eduardo Coelho and Simone Coelho, directors of the Rio da Prata Group of which Estância Mimosa is part, during the Seminar on Climate Action in Tourism: Global Challenges and Local Opportunities for Innovation. The event was held at the Sebrae Ecotourism Center, in Bonito on July 27th and was attended by Embratur, Ministry of Tourism, MS Tourism Foundation and several professionals in the sector.

“We are very happy with the certification of Estância Mimosa as the first “carbon negative” attraction in the world, mainly because this is the result of work initiated by the Tourism Foundation at the end of 2021, when negotiations began to certify Bonito as the first ecotourism destination carbon neutral world. Based on this and the work done with businesspeople, the Rio da Prata Group, which is a very professional group that works with three of the main ecotourism attractions in the country, was also able to seek this certification. And they went further, as they are now ‘Climate Positive’, which is a negative carbon certification, that is, they sequester more carbon than they emit into the atmosphere”, praises Bruno Wendling, director-president of the Mato Grosso Tourism Foundation southern.

“This shows that we are on the right path and that Bonito, in fact, is a carbon neutral destination. When companies understand this and start working in this direction, they show that they are concerned, that it is not just about promotion, I understand that this will be the first of many attractions. Estância Mimosa will certainly serve as an example for other attractions in Mato Grosso do Sul”, highlights Wendling.

Criteria met

To obtain certification, Estância Mimosa began the Green Initiative Certification Cycle in 2023, following compliance with the strict sustainability and environmental responsibility criteria established by the organization.

The Climate Positive Certification demonstrates that Estância Mimosa not only has a neutral balance between its emissions, captures and compensations, but also actively contributes to mitigating climate change by preserving and recovering native forests within the limits of the attraction, which account for more than 84 % of the total area of the property. Preserving these forests ensures that the carbon present in their biomass is not released into the atmosphere through exploitation, in addition to allowing more carbon to be captured by plants throughout forest restoration.

Throughout the project, all sources of greenhouse gas emissions from the attraction were quantified for the year 2022, classified into 4 categories proposed by the ISO 14064 methodology, namely: direct emissions and removals, indirect emissions caused by imported energy, indirect emissions caused by transport and indirect emissions caused by products used.

The carbon footprint calculation was carried out following the principles of Relevance, Completeness, Consistency, Transparency and Accuracy, and taking into account the complete scope 1, 2 and 3 of the attraction. This means that all emissions related to the business’s operation and value chain were evaluated in a detailed and standardized way, in order to allow comparison of results in the coming years and to highlight the effect of the reduction measures that will be taken. All raw materials used in the attraction were accounted for, from fuel and paper consumption to rice, meat and beans. Among the results, we have that Estância Mimosa’s emissions in 2022 were 277.76 tons of CO¬2equivalent, which results in 12.46kg of CO2 per visitor received in 2022.

The analysis of carbon capture in 2022 was carried out by combining detailed maps of the property’s vegetation cover recently carried out using UAV technology, satellite images and forest inventory and carbon capture studies. The Estância Mimosa area is a rural property, with a large area of primary forest and forest regeneration. In this survey, it was found that the forest regeneration areas, equivalent to 89 hectares, captured in their aerial biomass a total of 460.36 tons of CO¬2 throughout 2022, being greater than the total emissions of the attraction.

Regeneration areas have an accelerated accumulation of biomass in their initial phase of development, which then tends to decrease as the forest becomes more mature. Furthermore, the carbon stock present in primary forest areas was estimated, which, in addition to avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, has a clear effect of environmental additionality in the region, as it is home to a wide range of birds, mammals and other animals already identified on the property.

Milestone in global ecotourism

Luiza Coelho, Sustainability Director at Estância Mimosa, expressed her gratitude for the recognition and highlighted the attraction’s ongoing commitment to promoting sustainable practices and inspiring other companies in the sector to follow this path. “The Carbon Neutral Certification in the Climate Positive category is an extraordinary milestone for Estância Mimosa and an incentive for us to continue our work in the search for excellence in sustainable ecotourism. We are proud to be leaders on this journey and are grateful to everyone involved who made this possible,” she concludes.

Text: Grupo Rio da Prata Advisory, in collaboration with Débora Bordin (Fundtur/MS)