Explore Worldwide has this morning announced that it has been B Corp Certified, meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
Explore’s managing director Michael Edwards said: “We are completely delighted to have achieved B Corp status today, earlier than we expected, after a long process. Explore is a business that’s purpose led in everything it does – we’re continually striving to be better than yesterday and we absolutely want to be held accountable for the goals we set ourselves.”
Edwards continued: “I’m super proud that in the last 12 months we’ve launched a foundation, started making big reductions in our carbon footprint, and received the UK’s most sustainable travel company award in the 2023 Travel Industry Awards – and we’re now a Certified B Corp. It’s important to look back and see how far we’ve come but it’s even more important – crucial – to keep setting ourselves fresh targets, and acknowledging we have an awful lot more to do in achieving our targets for 2030 and beyond. It’s on the industry to protect the future of our planet so that generations to come can benefit from the same adventures that we’ve had.”
For Michael Edwards and Ben Ittensohn, regional director for AU/NZ, the achievement coincides with hitting the one-year mark into their successful expansion to the Australian and New Zealand market, underscoring Explore’s dedication to promoting purpose-led travel on a global scale.
Ittensohn said: “As we reflect on this remarkable year of building our team here in Australia, sustainability has consistently been our guiding principle in everything we do. Attaining B Corp status holds immense significance for our entire team, propelling us into an even more impactful year ahead as a newly certified B Corporation.”
The announcement comes as the operator publishes its first annual Purpose Paper, tracking the company’s progress against its sustainability goals. Structured into Planet, Places and People sections, the paper highlights where the company has surpassed its targets – 7.2 per cent reduction of intensity carbon – but also where additional efforts are required in working towards Glasgow Declaration targets.
Highlights of the report include:
- The launch of the Explore Foundation in June 2023 enabled a donation of over £60,000 within 48 hours of raising money for the Morocco Earthquake Appeal.
- The Foundation has supported two initiatives – with a third newly-announced – funding 61 bikes for One Bike in Tanzania and donating more than £14,000 to Lone Buffalo, wholly funding its Develop Together programme.
- Partnering with Klimate, Explore moved away avoidance carbon offsets this year and towards investing in carbon removal technologies with each travelling passenger.
- Additional donations to Cool Earth and Rewilding Britain further support Explore’s Planet commitments.
- The carbon intensity of Explore’s holidays – based on tCO2e per passenger, per night – has decreased by 7.2 per cent, year-on-year, exceeding the company’s target of 7 per cent.
- However, its absolute carbon footprint has increased due to uplifts in passenger numbers and business travel. Policies like a new low carbon travel incentive for staff hope to help, along with other initiatives to do business travel smarter, and utilise more rail for staff travel.
- Explore has set a target of 4.5 per cent reduction for 2023-24. While acknowledging another tough target to hit, Explore recognises the strengths of its committed team and excellent partners.
- Explore’s board and senior managers have had bonus targets equally aligned to People, Planet and Profit targets and achieved 86-96 per cent of maximum bonuses.
- Sustainability-centred benefits have been improved, including workations and a low-carbon travel policy where team members can earn extra paid leave by swapping flights for lower-carbon alternatives.
- Targets for next year focus around a DEI audit and publishing an inclusive hiring framework.
Explore’s dedicated sustainability specialist, Hannah Methven said: “It’s been an incredible useful exercise to run through all that we’ve done in the last month, and to continue drawing lines in the sand where we measure and compare. Using 2019 as our baseline year (the year that we committed to the Glasgow Declaration) and comparing against that year as well as year-on-year changes, it means the whole business is completely aware of where we are in this journey, and how much further we have to go. Each and every employee at Explore is fully onboard with our direction, and more engaged than ever before – it’s been a joy to see.”