Sustainability & Regeneration
We know that the way we explore the world right now is not sustainable. But once you’ve opened the travel box, can you put it away and be satisfied to stay in one place? Maybe some can – but not us. Rather than seeing ourselves as a problem and feeling guilty for wanting to explore the world, we want to be part of the solution.
We want to learn and grow a new way to travel, in partnership with each person involved in the creation and operation of our trips: our guests, our suppliers, their staff and the people we meet in destinations. We want to collaborate with others who share our views, and to lead by example for those who don’t (yet).
Together, we can create amazing ways to explore the world in the future, and we want to show you how we plan to achieve this. However, we recognise that there is no “absolute truth” in sustainability: this project does not have a final destination, it is an ongoing journey, the ups and downs of which we promise to share with you.
As regenerative travel is an evolving concept, subject to review with new research and learnings, we approach this in the hope that we can continue to improve and deepen our impact with time. We will continue to monitor and amend this document as required. Our members will be able to access more detailed annual reports explaining our targets and goals, as well as the progress we have made towards them.
Below you can find an overview of our sustainability and regeneration roadmap. This explains how we plan to ensure we operate sustainably as a business, while generating the maximum possible positive impact through our work. See something missing? Get in touch.
Sustainability & Regeneration Roadmap
Three main areas of concern:
Our sustainability and regeneration will be concentrated on the following areas:
- Impact generated during business operations and preparation of itineraries
- Impact generated through the operation of the itinerary
- Level of connection generated
Impact generated during business operations and preparation of itineraries.
Within the business:
- Our written code of ethics will be openly available to all staff members, suppliers and guests. It addresses our policies concerning Values, Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Inclusion
- Sustainability KPIs will be set and fully incorporated into our wider business objectives (e.g. how many tons of carbon we save per year, how many euros we put into the hands of local communities)
- We will generate yearly impact reports illustrating our progress against these goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
- As soon as reasonably possible, we will establish an advisory board of stakeholders from different areas of the industry and beyond. The purpose of the board is to ensure different stakeholders are represented, diversify the discussion around business goals/progress and encourage accountability. As part of this we promise to:
- Establish a written policy and process for engaging stakeholders and setting up the board.
- Hold an annual board meeting to review and audit financial, impact and sustainability reports.
- Seek input from the board when setting future goals & KPIs, and discuss the business direction.
- Close the loop by annually reporting on the goals we have created and shared with all stakeholders (staff, guests, suppliers, and board members).
- We commit to paying our staff fair wages, which match or exceed the local living wage and/or industry standard for similar roles.
- We will measure our company culture on staff satisfaction as well as results.
- We will establish, recognise and incentivise behaviours in line with our values, rather than results.
- We will proactively seek to provide employment opportunities for local people, women, those from diverse ethnic backgrounds and other marginalised groups.
- We comply with all GDPR and data protection laws
- We collect customer feedback, analyse this feedback and set targets for improvement.
- We will establish and set goals to reduce the carbon footprint of our website, equipment, processes and outputs (including those of our trips).
At the destination:
- When planning our itineraries, we:
- Encourage off-peak travel to spread the impact of tourism & spread cashflow for suppliers
- Encourage lesser-known destinations where possible to ease pressure on the environment.
- Include regenerative activities where possible: workshops, rewilding, litter picks, working with local craftspeople and artisans.
- We avoid using Airbnb, OTAs or other platforms which profit by siphoning money away from local economies.
- We work directly with suppliers wherever possible, prioritising the use of independent, ethical businesses and local guides.
- We establish a selection process with our suppliers to ensure that these aims are met:
- Accommodation providers are independently owned, so that the money stays within the local economy.
- Suppliers comply with all local laws and regulations, including those related to social and environmental performance.
- Suppliers practise good governance, including policies related to ethics and corruption.
- Suppliers demonstrate positive practices beyond what is required by regulations (e.g. environmentally-friendly manufacturing process, excellent labour practices)
- Suppliers employ transparent pricing of products and/or services, fees and taxes.
- Suppliers pay their staff a living wage for their region if applicable (or at least the national minimum wage where living wage is not known).
- We prioritise working with suppliers who employ a diverse group of people, aiming to ensure they offer opportunities for young people, marginalised groups, and women.
- We recognise and prioritise suppliers with third-party certifications related to positive social and/or environmental performance.
- We create policies on the following, which our suppliers must agree to adhere to as far as reasonably possible:
- Waste and energy usage
- Positive impact – how can we make the guests’ visit actually improve the place they stay at
- We create reports on our progress with suppliers::
- How much money has been put into the local economy
- How much CO2/waste has been saved through energy/waste-saving initiatives
Impact generated through the operation of the itinerary:
Travellers generally have a higher environmental footprint while on the road compared to what they would create at home. We want to work together with you (our guests and suppliers) to measure and reduce this footprint.
Before we begin operating our trips, we will estimate carbon outputs of the trips together with our suppliers. We will actively seek feedback regarding all carbon-producing elements of our trips from our guests during initial departures, to develop accurate measuring and work with our suppliers on reducing our impact.
During the itinerary, there are 3 elements to the impact we generate:
- How do we get to the destination?
- How do we get around in the destination(s) and what do we do while we are there?
- Where do we sleep, eat & explore in each destination?
How we get to the destination
- We calculate the average kilometres travelled by our guests to reach the start of their travel itinerary
- We only book overland, low-impact travel (e.g. trains, plus ferries and public busses where necessary)
- We encourage and educate guests on the benefits of using low impact transport (ie. public or shared)
- Where guests ask about private transfers to their accommodation, we suggest alternatives unless explicitly requested. We do recognise that for certain groups and certain destinations, a private transfer may be required, but in such cases we explain the reasons for this choice.
How we get around at/ between destination(s)
- We use the lowest-carbon transport option available where viable & acceptable
- Meaning of viable & acceptable:
- The connections of trains/ buses should make for comfortable travel
- Not having to switch train stations in a city where possible
- Waiting times between connections should not be longer than 2 hours (unless planned as a stop)
- Travel time should not take the majority of time that the guest has in a destination
- Transport options selected should always be safe and reasonably comfortable.
Where do we sleep, eat & explore in each destination?
- Suppliers (these include accommodations/ activities/ experiences, such as restaurants, bars, shops)
- Have our suppliers been selected in line with the above policies?
- Do our suppliers measure their impact? How?
- Are there sustainability policies in place? If so, which ones?
- What are their sources of energy?
- What products are used in accommodation: e.g. cleaning, bathroom amenities?
- Is there access to clean drinking water, to discourage the use of bottled water?
- If the supplier provides food:
- How are the ingredients grown (organically/pesticides/grass-fed meat/free-range eggs)?
- Where are they sourced from (km to table)?
- How much single use plastic is used by the supplier
- How much food-waste is generated by the supplier and do they redistribute this?
- In the destination, how easy is it for the traveller to assess all the above elements and make responsible purchase decisions (independently of the itinerary we book – for example be during a walk around town, while on a day trip).
Level of Connection Generated:
Connection is a key part of travel. There are 3 levels of connection that can be generated. Evidently demonstrating connection is not an exact science, but in gathering feedback from customers, we will get an idea of how much connection travellers felt across all three areas.
- Connection with oneself (the traveller)
- Connection with others
- Connection with nature/ the surrounding environment
Here are some of the ways we aim to create opportunities for connection:
Connection with oneself (the traveller)
- We offer free time to relax in beautiful, comfortable and calm surroundings
- We allow travellers to personalise the level of activities included in their break to suit their needs
- We offer immersive and regenerative activities and measure guest satisfaction around these.
- We measure level of satisfaction regarding comfort of accommodation
- We measure access to healthy and wholesome organic food available & clean drinking water
Connection with Others
- We ensure that trips create environments where talking with local people is facilitated (in workshops, sports, private guiding/instructing). We encourage guests to ask questions, talk honestly and openly with local people and take a proactive approach to getting to know people in a respectful and curious way.
- Suppliers should be committed to interact with guests and to sharing local insights in a balanced way, addressing environmental, social, and cultural challenges where relevant, and explaining how these are being tackled locally.
- Accommodations provide opportunities to connect with other guests, for example accommodation provides opportunities to join in with group activities and experiences
- Suppliers are welcoming and inclusive of people of all races/gender/orientation/abilities/backgrounds.
Connection with nature/ the surrounding environment
- Trips provide opportunities to connect with nature in a non-exploitative way
- Guides/accommodation suppliers provide clear guidance on how to avoid damaging the environment, and how to improve it where possible
- Trips provide ways to learn more about the natural environment from local people who work with it.
We are committed to holding ourselves accountable to this sustainability manifesto.
Being ambitious and transparent means that we may sometimes fail to meet our goals, or have to adjust them over time.
We think that’s ok, because it’s part of the process of being accountable. While we can’t promise to be perfect, we can promise to keep getting better.
Have questions about our policy? Get in touch at [email protected]