The word sustainability is thrown around a lot these days.
As the buzzword of the minute, sustainability is often used to promote less-than-sustainable products and businesses.
One way companies are countering this overuse is to increase their transparency, and SHOW travellers how sustainable their product is, rather than just telling them.
Which is why G Adventures has launched its new ‘Ripple Score’ to indicate just how much of a tour’s local expenditure remains in the local economy.
As a responsible tour operator, the adventure travel company scores pretty well, with 640 trips averaging at around 93, meaning 93 per cent of the money spent on that particular trip is spent with locally-owned businesses and benefits local people.
Sustainable Travel International and the Planeterra Foundation (G Adventures’ non-profit partners) assisted in the development of the Ripple Score calculation, as well as the development of the company’s thorough supply chain analysis survey from which the Ripple Score is the first outcome.
Jamie Sweeting, G Adventures’ vice president for social enterprise and responsible travel, said the Ripple Score is a way for the company to provide transparency for its travellers, and to drive the travel industry forward in terms of accountability.
“As well as educating our travellers about the positive impact they can have through travel, we want to push the industry forward so our suppliers and other operators become more accountable for their local economic and social impact,” Sweeting said.
“Over the past few years, we have undertaken a thorough analysis of our supply chain to find out how many of our suppliers are majority locally-owned, and thus how much money stays in the destination.
“When travellers use local businesses it has a positive economic and social impact on communities, and we seek to encourage more of this.”
“It’s always been our goal to prioritise the use of local service providers who employ local people,” Adrian Piotto, Managing Director for G Adventures Australia and New Zealand said.
“But just how well we were doing, and what benefits we were helping to create, were less than clear. That’s why we decided to undertake this massive outreach effort two years ago, and find out just how home-grown and beneficial our tours actually are.”
Piotto added, “We believe it represents a first in our sector and a sea change in tourism operations. We hope it coaches the industry forward so that suppliers and other tour operators become more accountable for their economic and social impacts in destinations.”
As a result of the survey, 640 of G Adventures’ approximately 700 trips have been given a Ripple Score.
These scores will now appear alongside each trip on the G Adventures website, and will also be published in G Adventures’ 2019 brochures which are available from mid-November 2018.
The Ripple Score is the latest purpose-driven initiative under G Adventures’ ‘G for Good’ social enterprise umbrella, which also includes the company’s suite of responsible travel guidelines aimed at protecting children, animals and Indigenous peoples’ rights, and its more than 65 social enterprise projects around the world which are designed to alleviate poverty, empower women and disadvantaged youth, and to celebrate Indigenous cultures.