These days, businesses seem to have a lot to say about sustainability. They certainly want their customers to think they’re doing a lot, as well. Whether it’s ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) reports, nonprofit partnerships, green certifications or impressive-sounding pledges, it’s enough to confuse anyone!
So, how can we tell the difference between substance and spin? There’s no simple answer to that question, but there is one standard out there that offers a pretty reliable certification based on an actual audit of a company’s social and environmental performance.
That’s the B Corp certification. It’s administered by the B Lab, a nonprofit organization which conducts assessments for companies that want to be certified. Prospective B Corps must achieve a minimum score against a set of criteria covering Governance, the Environment, its Workers and its Community. Companies large and small, in all industries and countries around the world have obtained the certification, about 5,700 of them as of September 2022.
So, B Corp isn’t specifically a tourism industry certification, but companies in travel & tourism have become certified. You can find a full list and read more about the whole B Corp concept here, but I’ll highlight (in alphabetical order) a few of the top ones.
This is, in my opinion, one of the absolute best large tour companies in the world. Based in Australia, Intrepid operates small group tours (generally no more than 12 travelers) to just about anywhere you can imagine going, as well as some places you probably never imagined going (Turkmenistan, anyone?). More importantly, though, they take their responsibilities as a travel company very seriously. They’ve taken steps to not only reduce their carbon footprint (through more than just offsetting!), but also to ensure that the communities they visit are better off for them having been there. They’ve been a B Corp since 2018, and were listed as one of the ‘Best for the World’ in Governance.
This is yet another tourism sector leader in social and environmental responsibility, and a certified B Corp since 2013. I’d heard of MEJDI somewhere before, but it wasn’t until I watched this video, featuring travel guru Rick Steves and Aziz Abu Sarah, co-founder of MEJDI Tours, that I really tuned into what this fantastic company is doing. They offer cultural tours to intriguing places with difficult histories such as Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland and the Balkans. Abu Sarah has worked in numerous conflict zones as an educator and peace negotiator and his co-founder has a similar background, so they really know their stuff and it shows in their itineraries. One of their trips, the Dual Narrative Israel/Palestine tour, is definitely on my travel to-do list!
They may have only become a certified B Corp in July 2022, but UK-based Much Better Adventures have made sustainability, conservation and social justice a core part of their business since their founding in 2012. As the name hints, their trips are pretty adventurous, involving everything from trekking to biking to kayaking. You don’t need to be an athlete, but a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to break a sweat are advised! They strive to leave as much of the money spent on their trips as possible in the host community (currently they average an impressive 78%), and they channel 5% of their revenues to their foundation, which focuses on conservation, rewilding and reforestation projects. Impressive!
These are just a few of the B Corps in the tourism sector, you can find lots more at www.bcorporation.net. Happy travels!
Title image by ValeriaLo at Pixabay