HOW TO  
MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHILE TRAVELING

Innovative business models driving impact at scale

The impact of traveling on cross-cultural understanding is inestimable, and tourism in emerging countries contributes a lot to the development of their economies. 

Unfortunately, traveling is also responsible for a huge percentage of our carbon footprint, and we can’t continue to travel in the same way we did.

On this page, discover how innovative businesses are helping to make travel less harmful for the environment and to make sure tourism benefits the local population.

1) Reduce and compensate your carbon footprint

The travel industry can be a real driver for change but it is also responsible for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. A very few number of airline companies, such as EasyJet, and travel agencies like World Expeditions or Better Places Travel are offseting their carbon emissions to offer carbon neutral trips.  Other interesting business models include FLYGrn, which offsets your carbon emissions directly when you book a flight through its flight search engine and take it on their own margin so you don’t have to pay extra, and ZeroTrip which offsets your carbon emissions when you book your accommodation with them.

By offsetting, airlines can also be critized as this can be seen as a way to pay others to be allowed to keep polluting. Innovations in the airline industry is therefore critical for them to reduce their emissions, for example by using biofuels. The industry is also pumping in research and development into electric aircraft.  Beside offsetting your trips, you can also prioritze companies which are working harder on reducing their carbon footprint.  The Atmosfair Airline Index offers a comparison of airline’s carbon efficiency but its latest index is from 2018.

 

EasyJet

The first large airline company to be carbon neutral.
Business model innovation :
Every tonne of CO2 emitted by its fleet of 331 planes will be compensated by investing in programs to remove CO2 from the air – such as planting more trees.  EasyJet has reduced the amount of carbon it emits by 1/3rd since 2000 by using more fuel efficient aircraft, loading planes to the maximum possible (average of 92.9% in 2019) and flying point-to-point routes.  It has a few partnerships, for example with AIrbus, to research hybrid and electric aircraft. 

Impact : Reducing e-waste, good working conditions for all people along the supply chain

Scale : EasyJet is Europe’s fifth biggest airlines with 96 million passengers in 2019 

2) Choose experiences that benefit local communities

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), out of every 100 $ spent on vacation by a tourist from a developed country, only 5$ stays in the destination’s economy.

Traveling gives you an opportunity to have a positive impact on the communities in the country you  visit. The number of platforms allowing you to find and book unique and authentic experiences with locals have mushroomed over the past few years.  To name a few : Localalike, I-likelocal, Rutopia, Authenticitys (B Corp), Backstreet Academy, Better Places Travel (B Corp) or Grassroutes for trips in Indian villages. They usually commit to give 70 to 100% of what they earn to the locals. Check for the certification B Corp to ensure the authenticity of their commitment. The platform The Better Traveller, edited by the non profit Our Better World, offer also rich advice to support local social enterpreneurs while on the go in Asia.

 

Reality Tours & Travel

Tours in slums and villages in India.
Business model innovation :
80% of the profits from the tours fund the company’s sister NGO Reality Gives which supports education programs for the slum and villages communities.

Impact : Education programs, increase tourists awareness and understanding about slums, boosting pride and self-esteem of locals, providing employment for locals

Scale : Impacted lives of over 6,000 people (2018), raised 450,000 $ in 10 years to support education programs

G Adventures

Authentic adventure tours in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Business model innovation :
All aspects of the tours are crafted to boost the local economy (meals, accommodation, handicrafts, transport, experiences) and sometimes include visit of social enterprises created by their NGO arm Planeterra. An annual contribution also goes  to Planeterra.

Impact : Job creation, education and health programs, infrastructure installation… 

Scale : 34,400+ people  in 2016 benefited from 50 social enterprises created by Planeterra. Planeterra created jobs for 1,529 women, trained 370 youth to the hospitality industry and engaged 888 community members in tourism in 2016.

3) Eat at restaurants and book accommodation that give back to a cause/the community

Prefer small-scale accommodations and ecolodges that are run by local families or employ and train young locals or disadvantaged people (for example, KOTO in Vietnam train 600 disadvantaged students, Magdas Hotel employs 20 refugees or Sumba Hospitality Foundation trains young Indonesians to the art of hospitality). Do your research on how their profits are allocated. Some accommodation and restaurants give 100% of their profits to a cause or to their affiliated NGO (for example, Good Hotels in UK/Guatemala, Makabata Guesthouse and Café in the Philippines, Hotel Birgkarhaus in Austria, Eco-Logic Retreat in Thailand, The Skwachàys Lodge in Canada). 
 

Fair Warung Balé

Restaurant serving Indoensian food in Bali.
Business model innovation :
Fair Warung Balé restaurant gives back  100% of its profits to the Fair Future Foundation and its Free Health and Medical Care programs. 1 meal = 2 free medical treatments. Their profit also funded their pediatric hospital building opened in 2016.

Impact : Saving lifes, healing the sick and injured people

Scale : More than 30,000 people per year.

Mdumbai Backpackers

Backpacker accommodation in South Africa.
Business model innovation :
Unique ownership model : 50% owned by the community and 100% owned by the community association and affiliated Non profit TransCape.  
Mdumbi Backpackers supports staff members in running their own personal  businesses (ex: Mama Nowethu’s bread, Mama Nosekile’s laundry service). Guests are welcome to visit TransCape’s projects.

Impact : Empowering the community with programs in education, health, livelihood and micro-finance.

Scale : 5 clinics, HIV awarenesss for 130,000 people, HIV testing for 5000 people, 200 children cured, educational resources to 1200 children, 240 businesses strated…

FEATURED STORIES

G Adventures

G Adventures

G Adventures offers authentic adventure tours in a responsible and sustainable manner. All aspects of the tours are crafted to boost the local economy (meals, accommodation, handicrafts, transport, experiences) and sometimes include visit of social enterprises created by their NGO arm Planeterra. An annual contribution also goes  to Planeterra.

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Fair Warung Balé

Fair Warung Balé

Fair Warung Balé is a restaurant in the heart of Ubud, Bali. It gives back  100% of its profits to the Fair Future Foundation and its Free Health and Medical Care programs. 1 meal = 2 free medical treatments. Their profit also funded their pediatric hospital building. 

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What YOU can do

Get inspired on how to:

Consume Responsibly

Make a Difference While Traveling

Contribute Financially

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What WE can do 

For Enterprises:

Learning Expeditions
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Corporate Events
Inspiring Content
Sourcing & Monitoring 

For other collaborations and partnerships, don't hesitate to reach out: info@scalable-impact.com