Your Footprint

When we began our journey to establish Green Cultural Travel, we wanted to offer people the opportunity to have amazing experiences, adventures and create memories that last a lifetime.

But, we also wanted to ensure that what we offer is as much as possible sustainable and ethically sound.

What does that mean, and how do we quantify it ?

Rating Your Footprint

So, we began working on our own rating system, looking at the “Footprint” of our products. By its nature, the act of travelling generally has a heavy carbon footprint, and in addition, when you visit a location, you are often using limited resources such as clean water and fresh food.

This use of these precious resources can drive up prices so that it becomes too expensive for the local population.

Every Unique Experience, Tour and Package offered on our Website has been assessed in terms of its footprint. This is the impact — both positive and negative, that your journey makes in terms of the environment, the local community and additional external factors.

To reduce or offset your footprint, we seek wherever possible:
1) To use local service providers such as transport, expert guides and locally owned accommodation where appropriate.
2) Encourage and support our partner-hotels in improving their environmental footprint.
3) Incorporate visits to local community projects that are making a positive impact.
4) Our Foundation is supporting sustainable local projects within the communities our guests visit.

So for example, a locally owned hotel that is undertaking best-practice environmental initiatives will achieve a high score. A chain hotel owned by a multi-national company, even though they are also undertaking the same environmental initiatives, will score less as the profits do not remain within the community.

 

We have 5 Ratings

Heavy
We do not accept a product that we rate as “Heavy”. If the initial footprint is Heavy, but the underlying experience is worthy of support, then we work with our local Expert Partners to reduce the footprint or we price in an additional contribution to support our Community programmes.
Reduced
Minimum current acceptable rating with us continuing to work with our Local Partners to reduce it to “Light”. Additional contribution to the Foundation can also achieve the required Offsets to reduce a footprint to “Light”.
Light
Now we are starting to get happy. Your positive impacts through visiting and supporting local businesses and community projects are offsetting your carbon footprint and resource use. We are also achieving positive impacts through the profits we make from your booking.
Neutral
It is a challenge to reach this rating as not only are we overcoming a carbon footprint but also the impact of your use of limited resources. Only through partial giving back in time or additional sponsorship can you reach this rating for many of our products.
Positive
This one is for our Volunteers, Internees and some our Retreats, Hosted Learning and Collective Adventures. The energy and time you provide to the places you visit outweighs your carbon and resource footprint.

We are pleased that we have been able to achieve for the majority of our products a “Light” rating. We are lucky to have the ability to direct our margins back into supporting local community projects as a way to offset your footprint.

You can also help by booking your flights through our Affiliated Partner (look for the link when you are booking your tour or package) and we will take our net commission and invest in a suitable carbon offset project.

As our journey continues we look forward to working with more and more local Expert Partners to bring you amazing experiences that are sustainable and ethically responsible. Or as we like to say:

 

“Great Journeys Make a Difference”

 

About Author

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Kim Burton