The travel industry’s biggest event of the year, Travel DAZE, is just three days away (9 June!) and we’re so thrilled with this stunning line-up of speakers that we have to show them off.
Today we have Mindy Leow from B Labs, discussing sustainable travel, the benefits of B Corp for the travel industry and getting in touch with nature.
But before you check out this amazing interview, don’t forget to click HERE for tickets to this industry-leading conference so you can see her speak in the flesh!
Just enter the number of tickets you’re after, enter the discount code “AGENT100” plus just a few particulars, and it’s Travel DAZE here you come!
What are your key priorities for 2022 and beyond?
Our key priorities for 2022, specifically in my role, is to really engage with more businesses to measure their impact and realise that they can go on a sustainability journey as well.
We offer a free tool called the B impact assessment that is built upon 16 years of standard-setting that’s been improved over 16 years. I think the pandemic has enabled more businesses to take actions to align with their values.
I hope that we can expand to work with more companies and build their capability in becoming a more sustainable business in all areas of their operations as well as business models.
It’s really working with people to pursue a higher purpose through their business as well.
So what do you think are some of the biggest trends and opportunities for the travel industry right now?
I have a bias toward sustainable travel, but I think there certainly has been a trend for a number of years, but probably even growing.
Now that people have had a hiatus in travel and are now finding that they want more of these experiences that align with their values. Whether that’s travelling slower and travelling in a way that has less environmental impact, as well as travelling to educate themselves and experience first-hand how they can be part of global issues and the solution to that.
I think it’s more educational tours and tours that are ethically involved that are not exploiting local communities or causing unintended negative harm are going to be what people are seeking out, given that, we’ve truly become aware that life is very precious and we don’t take things for granted.
How do you think that the global travel industry right now – coming out of a pandemic – can benefit from more information about B Corps, perhaps working in sustainable travel?
I think B Corp is one way to identify sustainable travel companies and also, B Corp is a way for sustainably-minded companies to partner with other ethical companies in delivering those experiences that people are after.
B Corp is a rigorous certification for companies that meet a high performance in social and environmental areas and goes through a rigorous process to measure the impacts on five areas that include the impact on communities, impacts on the environment, the supply chain impact on customers, impact on workers, as well as their governance.
It’s a holistic tool that enables companies to decide where they want to make a positive impact and actually take action towards delivering and creating those positive outcomes.
B Corp is about good intentions.
Of course, it starts with good intentions, but B Corp is about actually having measurable and reportable outcomes, that are defined by that high level of social-environmental performance, which is only one of the requirements of certification.
We are seeing incredible growth in the movements of people using business as a force for good where in about 14 years, we certified 4,000 companies, but since the pandemic, in the last two years alone, we have received 6,000 applications, more than 6,000 applications for certification.
This is a trend in business, as well as in the world where people are finding ways to have agency and make the world a better place. What better place to do it than where you show up to work every day? I think it’s that kind of collaboration between businesses, that it’s really important if we really want to make a real difference in the world.
What’s something you’d like for Australian travel agents to know about how the B Corp status can help bolster and improve their business?
We would love to see more Australian travel businesses become certified. But even for those that are not sure yet, if that’s an undertaking for them, right now, we encourage them to use our free tool, which is called the B Impact Assessment and it’s a holistic measurement tool for companies to to build their capability around and create increase their understanding about what issues they could be having in the business.
There are more than 200,000 companies around the world that have engaged with the tool, and universally they tell us that it is incredibly illuminating, to have gone through the questions because it challenged us to think about the impact that they have, that they could be having, that they’re unaware of.
It’s about those unintended impacts that they could be having as a business and knowing what enables them to actually make different decisions to manage those impacts.
So if anything, it would be really good to use a tool to get a better understanding of their business.
What keeps you up at night?
What keeps me up at night is that climate change is actually here and I feel that we could be moving a lot faster to address the issues and understand the impacts.
When I first started this work I was really passionate about environmental change, and I thought that we are facing an environmental crisis. But in fact, now, I know that climate change is actually a humanitarian crisis and it’s going to have a disproportionate impact on the vulnerable people in the world. That’s probably what fuels me to do the work that we do.
How do you relax?
I relaxed by going into nature, taking walks, and you know, camping. I find nature is incredibly healing and rejuvenating and as much as I can get out into nature that’s a really good way find balance again.
You can catch Leow on the B Corp panel at Travel DAZE this Thursday.