AGENT GUIDE: How to carryout a sustainability audit on your travel products

An insulated orange water bottle at the beach

As travel enquiries begin to trickle back, it’s important for agents to make sure they are catering to the post-COVID traveller.

The past two years have seen many Aussies reassess their lifestyle and begin seeking more ethical ways to live, making sustainable travel more popular than ever.

Auditing the products you sell through a sustainability lens is a fantastic way to increase your sales, by putting in a little extra time to save your clients the hours of research it takes the less travel-savvy to ensure their trip does not cost the earth.

Below, Emily Fletcher, founder of My Non-Toxic Tribe and head of research and education at the Clean + Conscious Awards, shares her tips on how to engage in sustainable practices through conscious travel.

More than ever, Australians are aware of our planet and the impact of our own actions upon it – for better or for worse.

However, sustainable and even ‘regenerative’ travel is possible!

Here’s how travellers can have a planet positive effect and support incredible initiatives along the way, all whilst feeding their soul’s desire for those eye-opening moments that only travel can bring.

Move consciously

A large amount of our travel carbon footprint is generated when we are moving from one location to another. If the choice is there, taking a long-distance train or bus is a more planet-friendly option compared with a private car or plane.

In the enormous continent that is Australia, depending on your destination, an eco-friendly mode of transportation may be impossible to select.

Many travel products offer the choice to offset your carbon emissions, but if that’s not on offer, there are many large independent certifiers who offer this service or you can use an online calculator and donate to an organisation of your choice that is working to capture carbon or generate renewable energy.

Stay sustainably

Sustainable accommodation is good for both the environment and the local community. There are sustainable stays available for all budgets – from camping to hostels to luxurious resorts.

However, it is necessary to do your research and make sure you are not being ‘greenwashed.’

To make an informed choice, check out the accommodation’s website and look for a ‘Sustainability’ page, or call them and ask if they use local staff and products, what kind of energy they use, and if they have a waste and water recycling system. What do they do to invest in and support the surrounding community?

Tread Lightly

Where you can, encourage travellers to walk or take public transport to get around. Also, remind them to pack their reusables! Bring a keep cup, water bottle, reusable cutlery and tote bag to keep plastic usage low.

Have a Positive Impact

The way we interact with the local community dictates the impact of our stay. Make sure your client’s trip:

  • Supports local businesses – this can include going to the local farmers market, buying in independent shops and having meals in local cafes.
  • Includes eco-tours – choose tours that are environmentally sustainable, and preferably employ local guides.
  • Supports First Nations-run tour experiences – through supporting these businesses, you’ll be contributing to the conservation of a culture that prioritises living in harmony with the land.
  • Visits wildlife sanctuaries – Australia has many wildlife sanctuaries focused on conservation and carbon footprint reduction. Visiting fees support the many initiatives which are being run from these locations.

I’ve always loved the saying about visiting the beach ‘Take only photos, leave only footprints’ and I believe this can be expanded to encapsulate eco-conscious travel too.

Let’s keep in mind the following when we travel ‘Move consciously, Stay Sustainably, Tread lightly and have a Positive Impact.’

Featured image: iStock/anja_i

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