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“This isn’t a label we wish to keep”: Intrepid recertified as world’s largest travel B Corp

Intrepid has recertified its B Corp status, maintaining its title as the world’s largest travel company to achieve the coveted certification.

But, according to the tour operator’s CEO, James Thornton, the company wants to pass the baton.

The tour operator first become a certified B Corporation three years ago after undergoing an extensive company-wide audit, which it had to undergo again recently to maintain the certification.

This time around, Intrepid achieved a new score of 91.2 from the B Corp Impact Assessment, an increase from its 2018 score of 82.7, showing nearly a 10 per cent improvement in the business’ overall social and environmental performance, focusing on the company’s practices specifically in 2020 and 2021, two of the most challenging years the business has endured in its 32-year history.

With greenwashing becoming more common than ever, Intrepid has pursued this certification because B Corporations are said to meet the “highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose”.

There are currently over 180 sustainable certifications available in the tourism industry, and some travel providers even make their own, according to Thornton, making it hard for consumers to differentiate which ones are trustworthy or legitimate.

“This is why we were drawn to the B Corp movement. To become a B Corp, a company must submit to a rigorous independent assessment of its entire business to ensure it not only meets the highest standards but also continues efforts to improve its business over time,” Thornton said.

The assessment evaluated the environmental and social impact of the business within all 32 of Intrepid’s majority-owned companies in five categories: governance, workers, community, environment and customers.

“The past few years have not been without challenges,” Thornton said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic caused us to cease international travel for the first time since the company was founded in 1989, which you can  imagine caused an extreme toll on our business.”

“Despite impediments such as a reduced workforce and virtually zero incoming revenue in 2020, we never allowed our vision to be the best travel company for the world waver, and I’m proud of the  achievements our team has made to advance our industry in such taxing times.”

Intrepid also attributes its B Corp status to being a main driver for giving the company the focus and opportunities it needs to continue to improve on its business, which in 2021 saw a strong result of  $124.2 million AUD in bookings globally, despite a year faced with ever-changing travel restrictions and border closures.

“We still hold the title as the world’s largest travel B Corp, but this isn’t a label we wish to keep for long,”  said Thornton.

“It’s our intention to share how being part of this movement isn’t just better for the world,  but is also a smart business decision. We hope to inspire other big players in tourism to pursue B Corp certification for themselves.”



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