Our operations in Peru have achieved Rainforest Alliance certification for the fifth consecutive year.
By Tom Smith
As consumers become more aware of the importance of travelling responsibly, they are increasingly choosing companies that operate in line with their values. As a tour company, its absolutely crucial that your business works with a responsible local DMC in-destination, in order to ensure that these values are carried through your ground operations. In doing so, not only will you continue to capture an ever-growing segment of the global travel market, you will grow your business in a way that positively impacts people and the environment.
So, how do you ensure you’re working with the right operator? One way is to look for a global sustainability certification, such as that carried out by Rainforest Alliance. The Rainforest Alliance certification can often be seen on farm or forest products, symbolising that the item is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. However, they also have a certification program for inbound tour operators, and our operations in Peru have been certified since 2015.
In our most recent audit carried out last month, we achieved a very high overall score of 96%. Measuring policies, processes and actions both in the office and on trips, the certification audit covers everything from recycling and energy conservation through to interaction and engagement with staff, suppliers and local communities.
Although we achieved a very high score, we always want to be moving forward and this year’s verification has highlighted opportunities to do that. These include installing devices on all taps to reduce our water consumption and improving our insurance policies to better protect the horses that we use of some of our treks around the Sacred Valley. Since last year’s certification, we have now removed all single-use plastics, for example by introducing biodegradable containers for pre-packed lunches, on the Inca Trail.
Additional improvements made over the last year include increasing the scope of the code of conduct we have in place with the rural communities we work with, improved maternity leave conditions, increasing our commitment to providing equal employment opportunities, and providing more training on our child protection policies. Many of these are policies held by the Intrepid DMC team globally and ensure the fair treatment and protection of our staff, partners, suppliers and local communities, regardless of the destination.
We look forward to continuing to improve our operations in line with the Rainforest Alliance guidelines and achieve an even higher score next year.