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Sustainable travel

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Sustainable Travel Goals

Posted: Monday November 28, 2022

At Monkey Mountaineering, we know our clients want high-quality, affordable, low-impact experiences in the wild mountainous corners of the world.

The experience of a trekking trip can go beyond the physical challenge and wonder of our natural environment bringing positive impacts to our host community and their economies.

We are committed to becoming more sustainable in what we do and over the last few months, we have been working with Just Tourism on a sustainability plan to ensure that our impact continues to be positive, and that we work towards leaving a place better than we found it.

Our Sustainable Travel Goals are based on our values and what is important to us as a company.  We cannot change the world alone, so with a focus on some selected environmental, social, and economic goals, we hope our small changes will lead to bigger changes.  We believe that if a lot of people make small changes, the world will be a better place.

To focus our thoughts, we have used the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, choosing the ones which we feel are most important to our business values and where we feel we can make the most impact.  We have taken a rounded approach using the People, Planet, Profit concept and have identified ‘Climate Action’, ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, ‘Sustainable Communities’ and ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’ as the four goals to work towards.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

Positive economic impacts link to our environmental and social impacts.  Sustainable economic growth is imperative for Monkey Mountaineering, our local agents, and the tourism supply chain.  A quality experience will be delivered by paying fair prices for services and guides.  At Monkey Mountaineering, we only work with locally run businesses.  Work opportunities are created through developing skills and encouraging opportunities in tourism, the benefits will then spread beyond those directly involved in the tourism industry.

In 2023 we will:

  • Continue to work closely with our local partners to ensure we are paying fair prices for all services, even though this might make our trips more expensive.
  • Find ways, in cooperation with our local partners, to create regenerative tourism experiences such as using local food producers to spread economic gain.
  • Aspire to sponsor the training of one mountain guide to show career progression in each of our destinations.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

Putting local communities first is key to ensuring that the balance between community and natural resources is maintained.  At Monkey Mountaineering We always use local guides and support staff; this ensures that tourism income stays within the local community, driving direct employment and skills development.  This enhances and enriches the experience for our customers as the guide can speak the local language, share local knowledge and champion local customs and cultures.

During 2023 and beyond we will:

  • Continue to ensure all our guides and porters are paid fairly and are protected by local initiatives such as the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project.
  • Work closely with our local partners to ensure cultural interactions benefit the local community.
  • Look to add at least one new community-based tourism experience to our tours by the end 2023.

Responsible Consumption and Production

Waste management in remote and pristine environments is crucial for the sustainability of these destinations.  Keeping these areas beautiful for future travelers is important to ensure the community continues to benefit from tourism income.

Moving forwards, we will:

  • Establish a better understanding of how all waste, including plastic, food, and human waste, is managed on our trips.
  • Work with our local partners to reduce waste generated on our trips and monitor the reductions.
  • Ensure any waste that is produced is managed and disposed of responsibly.
  • Provide all our clients with ‘Leave No Trace’ information before they travel or take part in any of our activities.

Climate Action

Trekking is the main element of Monkey Mountaineering’s trips.  As a result, emissions generated by our trips will be lower than an average holiday.  Yet all our trips have a carbon footprint as transfers, accommodation, internal flights, and campfires etc. all create emissions.

The greatest volume of emissions from our trips comes from international flights.  Whilst these flights are not included in our packages, our clients do need to arrive at their destination, and the flight is the emission-heavy element of the trip.

In 2023 we aim to:

  • Review our itineraries and identify ways of reducing emissions.  This could be taking a group transfer rather than a private transfer or a train rather than an internal flight.
  • Supply our customers with flight options that are the most carbon efficient, which may not always be the cheapest option!
  • Research ethically sound, quality offsetting projects to support the destinations and communities that we visit.  Reduction is better than offsetting, but where we can’t reduce, we will and encourage our customers to offset their flights.
  • Carbon label each of our trips and activities by the end of 2023.

The journey to sustainability is long and challenging, and we have set ourselves some ambitious goals.  With our plan set and action points identified, we can start to make a difference.  We will regularly monitor progress and update you through our social media channels and on our website.

We don’t own all the good ideas so if you think there is something we could be doing to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our overall sustainability then we would love to hear from you.

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