At EarthTreks we endeavour to be sustainable in all that we do. We support local economies, run eco-friendly trips that teach conservation and offer authentic cultural experiences, and we offset the carbon footprint of all of our customers’ and staff’s international air travel. We do everything to respect the communities we visit, and have a positive impact by supporting only locally-owned businesses.
Travel allows us to get up close to some of the world’s most amazing natural gems and beautiful cultures. It has the power to transform us as individuals, as well as the places that we visit and the people who live there. If we travel sustainably, that impact can actually be a very good one, rather than a negative impact.
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EarthTreks’ Sustainable Travel Policy
We Plant Trees - One of the Keys to Curbing Climate Change
In 2013, EarthTreks formed a three-way partnership on the development of a reforestation project on what was formerly pasture land – a large chunk of land that had been cut down decades before to raise cattle – that constitutes a very important corridor for migratory birds and habitat for flora and fauna (including a long list of endemic species), as part of what is now recognized as a highly delicate, megadiverse (2018) Choco Corridor, just a few kilometers from the actual Equator line. Along with the local environmental organization, Puntos Verdes, and German climate change organization, KEK, EarthTreks partnered to plan over 13,500 trees over the span of four years. Those trees continue to be carefully monitored semi-annually by a team of scientists from Germany. We also offer the ability for EarthTrekkers to plant a tree or two as part of ur reforestation project. Most recently, in early 2022, we will begin working on a new reforestation project that will be a forward-thinking project to allow sustainable building, called a “carpenters’ forest”.
We Offset all of our All Clients' and Staff's International Flights
Taking the advice of an excellent and reputable Canadian environmental organization, the David Suzuki Foundation, we chose Less Emissions as the carbon offset provider for all of our trips since our inception. We have been voluntarily offsetting 100% of the air travel associated with our trips ever since. Derived from international projects meeting the Gold Standard Foundation’s sustainable development criteria, as well as the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism protocols. Less Emission’s offsets are endorsed by leading environmental groups, including WWF International.
We Adhere to Strong Conservation Values and Practices Across All We Do
It is essential that we protect and conserve our planet’s most vulnerable destinations by changing the way that we travel. As one of our main specialties is visiting particularly delicate ecosystems, such as the Amazon rainforest and the Galapagos islands, we pay extra attention to how careful we are – in the planning stages by preparing our clients about what to bring and pack, to how to act correctly when actually there.
We strive to be as sustainable as possible every step of the way when traveling in other countries. In fact when it comes to the trips we offer, we go beyond sustainable tourism and are now striving to make all of our travel lead to positive impact travel. We use local transportation when possible, and when not, we use locally owned transportation that is well maintained and fuel-efficient.
We encourage Earthtrekkers to minimize their waste and water usage, always providing the means by which to fill their water bottles along the way for free. We only eat at locally owned restaurants, and ideally ones that use locally grown produce. We shop at local markets for locally-produced items, and encourage our travelers to be as respectful as possible in their purchasing methods. We always obey all rules in place for visitors, such as in parks and waterways. We stick to paths that already exist, to not contribute to damaging nature, and ask our travelers to be particularly cautious when visiting extra sensitive natural systems, such as in the Amazon basin or when snorkeling in the Galapagos.
We Respect and Empower the Local Cultures We Visit
Sustainable travel is not only about protecting nature, but also protecting, respecting, and giving back to all of the communities we visit. We want we want to empower communities to celebrate their culture, as well as to help improve their economies.
We help EarthTrekkers to carefully respect the different cultures they visit, including their various traditions, religions, customs, and other ways. We strongly encourage interaction with the local people in all areas we visit, and even try to teach some local language before and during every trip, to enhance that possibility. It enhances the experience for everyone. We also speak to our travelers about appropriate photography, and dress standards (particularly when visiting religious sites that have a specific dress code), and we carefully portray destinations and people fairly and respectfully in all of the marketing materials we produce and otherwise.
Tourism plays a tremendous role in the economy of the communities we visit, and through our trips, we try to maximize the benefits for them by employing only local people, featuring only local suppliers and service providers, and encouraging our travelers to do the same – supporting the local economy every step of the way. We also pay relevant taxes and do not engage in any form of illegal, corrupt or fraudulent activities along the way.
Our Suppliers Are All B Corp Certified and Carbon Neutral
The cornerstone of running EarthTreks’ trips and retreats sustainably is through our suppliers. All of our suppliers have committed to following a strict list of protocols to ensure our travel offerings are all sustainable. Our suppliers are all B Corp certified and carbon neutral. Together we offer a form of tourism that has a positive impact on the communities that we visit on all of our trips as well as the retreats that we host in the fragile ecosystem in the mega diverse region of Mindo, which we lovingly referred to as our southern office.
We Protect Vulnerable People and Animals
We are sure not only to always observe basic human rights, but to go further than that, and ensure we promote among our suppliers, guides and travelers alike the right to be treated with dignity, equality, and respect. When possible, we support local cooperatives and other initiatives that are led by women and minorities, we ensure we do not take part in anything that could be interpreted as discriminatory in any way. We never employ children. We do not use suppliers that allow children to perform work that is illegal or immoral. We do not visit orphanages as part of any trip. As it relates to animals, we strongly oppose any exploitative or illegal practices that have a negative impact on animal welfare in any way.
We Run Our Business Operations Sustainably
EarthTreks strives to be sustainable in all of our business practices, from using local supply chains and Bullfrog powering our business operations in Canada, to implementing conservation initiatives through the energy we use, by reducing waste (particularly plastic and paper waste), and implementing water saving initiatives.
We Support and Partner with Organizations Working Towards Conservation and Sustainability
Over decades, we have developed many strong partnerships with organizations and projects in Canada and Ecuador, whose central mandate is conservation and/or sustainability. This may be expressed in the form of fiscal support for organizations supporting conservation or in the form of volunteer work and leadership. Please GET IN TOUCH if you would like to know more about this topic or anything else above. Listing all that we do and have done might otherwise be interpreted wrongly. The reason we do it is to put things right, with people, places and the planet.