Hi, my name is Hollie. I’m that person who’ll spend more money to make sure my eggs are RSPCA approved. I only adopt shelter pets and I’ve just discovered a hairdresser who donates hair clippings to help mop up oil spills in the ocean. So it looks like I’m changing salons again.
If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I’m passionate about responsible travel. But is it easier said than done? How do we make sure we’re supporting the right companies? After all, travel can change our lives and by travelling with the right mentality can we really help change the world?
Luckily, I’ve done the research for you. I could bang on about it for hours, but I’ve limited myself to my three favourite companies – all of which focus on sustainable travel.
Air New Zealand-
Not only are Air NZ one of the most innovative and creative airlines of today (we’ve all Googled their hilarious safety videos), but they’re also one of the leading travel companies to promote diversity within the workforce.
The airline is continuously rolling out initiatives that encourage a diverse workforce, and has already achieved its goal of 40 per cent of senior management positions being filled by women.
Air NZ has also teamed up with LSG Sky Chefs and the Ministry for Primary Industries to create Project Green, in a bid to tackle the overwhelming amount of waste created by the aviation industry. By enabling 40 in-flight products to be reused on future flights, they are expected to divert 150 tonnes of waste from landfill sites annually.
You know those sugar packets you don’t use for your mid-flight cup of coffee? Well, instead of being incinerated and sent to landfills, they’re now being reclassified to be reused on future flights. Sugar anyone?
In the first month of running Project Green across Air New Zealand’s international fleet, 266,000 plastic cups, 480kg of sugar packets and 3.5 tonnes of bottled water were reused. That equates to a whopping 13 tonnes of waste being diverted from our landfills.
The Intrepid Group –
Made up of Intrepid Travel, Peregrine and Geckos Adventures, the Intrepid Group has launched The Intrepid Foundation. The not-for-profit fund supports non-government organisations whilst empowering travellers to positively impact communities all over the world.
Already having donating $5.6 million to over 100 communities worldwide, the Intrepid Foundation will double any contributions made to ensure twice the impact.
Honestly, just reading about the projects the Intrepid Foundation support is inspiring. From the Amani Children’s home in Tanzania to Animal Care in Egypt (ACE), the Intrepid Travel Group is all about empowering others, understanding the deeper issues within these communities and maintaining the trust and integrity placed on them by these partner projects.
If you’ve read some of my other work, you’ll know that one of my biggest regrets is participating in Elephant Rides throughout Thailand. So, it’s not surprising that one project particularly close to my heart is the Friend of the Asian Elephant Project.
Having already raised close to $138,000 since 2004 to the cause, the FAE was established to protect and conserve the welfare of Elephants by providing free medical care for sick and injured elephants, as well as education for their keepers.
And my absolute favourite part of this wicked company? They are one of 160 travel companies who no longer support or offer Elephant rides on their tours.
The Flight Centre Foundation-
Okay, so maybe I’m biased because I work for this amazing company, but the Flight Centre Foundation is our way of harnessing the collective good of all involved to give back to the communities where we work, live and travel.
Based in Australia, the Foundation is committed to giving back to the communities in countries such as New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, the USA and Canada, and also supporting loads of charities here at home.
By launching programs such as Work Place Giving, 30 per cent of Flight Centre’s Australian employees contribute to the foundation – which is then matched by Flight Centre. This allows us to make annual commitments to our charity partners such as Food Bank, RedKite and Youngcare.
Not stopping at Workplace giving, in October 2017, 500 Flight Centre employees came together to set a record for the most food relief hampers to be packed in a single day. And guess what, they did it!
By the employees, clients and suppliers all banding together to purchase enough food, they were able to pack 10,000 hampers for Foodbank, all in the name of helping Australians in need.
To me, travelling is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can do. By building on the movement of responsible travel, companies like these have given us a platform to connect and contribute in positive ways.
By creating socially conscious travellers, they are giving us the opportunities to experience a type of travel that not only gives back to these communities, but also to the environment.
“Let integrity, humility, kindness, compassion, peace, and unity follow you wherever you go. We still have a chance at making this world a better place for us and our future generations.” – Edmond Mbiaka
To Air New Zealand, The Intrepid Foundation, Flight Centre Foundation and all other companies who are leading the charge, thank-you for all you do. You guys kick arse!