Responsible travel code of conduct
The following are Spirit Journeys Worldwide’s key principles for operating ‘Responsible’ Spirit Journeys Worldwide trips.
We aim to:
- Use locally owned infrastructure for accommodation and transport where possible.
- Spread the financial benefits amongst local people and operators.
- Provide employment and leadership opportunities for local people.
- Respect local customs and culture.
- Provide safe trips for Spirit Journeys Worldwide staff and travellers
- Educate travellers and our operators about how and why we choose to travel this way.
- Limit the negative impacts to daily lifestyles of local people not involved with Spirit Journeys Worldwide groups.
- Limit the physical impact of trips in all destination communities-particularly sensitive natural and cultural environments.
- Provide support to organisations and local communities visited by Spirit Journeys Worldwide groups.
- Provide fun enjoyable trips to Spirit Journeys Worldwide travellers.
- Provide opportunities for travellers to interact with local people.
- Actively ban leader and passenger participation in or endorsement of commercial sexual activities or illegal drug use on Spirit Journeys Worldwide trips.
- Actively discourage the participation of Spirit Journeys Worldwide groups in activities which exploit animals – wild or domestic.
- Use local operators that adhere to Spirit Journeys Worldwide’s Responsible Travel Philosophies and provide the best possible service to Spirit Journeys Worldwide travellers and staff.
- Work to prevent the exploitation of children in tourism.
- Support and encourage fair employment practices.
- Give our travellers the best possible value.
- Actively reduce our carbon emissions wherever possible and offset the balance, aiming to maintain our carbon neutral status (gained in 2010)
Policy and guidelines
We are committed to trying to reduce, re-use and recycle as much waste as is possible, wherever we are in the world. We review and update our responsible travel policies on a regular basis because we know there’s always more we could be doing – but this policy forms the basis of the minimum standards we aim to achieve both in our office and out on the road.
Waste Minimisation: reduce, reuse, recycle
Office and Workshop:
- All paper products we use in the office are recycled, from paper to envelopes.
- We print on both sides of the paper whenever it is appropriate.
- We try to reduce what we print by using email and online media for internal and external communication wherever possible.
- We recycle as much as we can, from paper to plastics, glass, cardboard, oils and metal.
- We also use recycling schemes for our workshop, e.g. oil, batteries, metal.
- We calculate our brochure production carefully to avoid excessive print runs, and encourage using our online brochure.
- Out of date brochures are recycled at a dedicated paper plant.
On the Road:
- We communicate with our crew online – reducing postage and printing.
- We recycle wherever possible, often supporting informal projects with local people collecting materials for recycling.
- We bury our bio-degradable waste or give it to local people as feed for livestock.
- Our crew encourage travellers to minimise plastic drinks bottle consumption.
- All trucks provide re-useable shopping bags to use in place of plastic bags.
- Vehicles are generally serviced in established workshops, where the local people have a responsible attitude to the disposal of waste products.
- Products such as oils and tyres are often reused several times after we have finished with them as we pass them on to local people.
Energy efficiency and resource consumption
Office and Workshop:
- Where possible we turn off our lights, computers, printers and other electrical equipment, particularly at night.
- We minimise our energy consumption in whatever way we can, e.g. using slimline energy efficient light bulbs and minimising water usage.
On the Road:
- When cooking whilst camping, we generally use gas instead of wood. It’s a cleaner fuel and this way we don’t deplete valuable local natural resources.
- We do sometimes indulge in a campfire, but only where resources are plentiful and we would not be in competition with local people for supplies.
- All our trucks conform to UK emission controls when they leave the UK.
- Each truck is regularly serviced and maintained to ensure it runs as efficiently as possible.
- Passengers and crew are encouraged to use rechargeable batteries for items such as cameras, personal music systems, etc. These can be charged from mains supplies or on our trucks as we travel.
- Waste water is disposed of away from fresh water sources.
CODE OF ETHICS FOR TRAVELLERS
- Travel with a genuine desire to learn more about the people of your host country. Acquaint yourself with local customs and be aware of the feelings of other people, thus preventing what might be intrusive behaviour on your part.
- Your pre-trip research can be continued by asking questions while you are there. Any attempt to learn even a few words of the relevant language will make this a more rewarding experience for all involved.
- Realise that often the people in the country you visit have time concepts and approaches different from your own.
- Don’t treat people as part of the landscape, they may not want their picture taken. Put yourself in their shoes, ask permission first, and respect their wishes. Many people love to see images of themselves so if you are somewhere remote with your digital camera then do show the locals the pictures you have just taken of them with the wonders of modern technology!
- Do not make promises to people in your host country unless you can carry them through.
- Ensure that your behaviour has no impact on the natural environment. Avoid picking flowers, removing seeds, damaging coral, and even buying souvenirs such as shells and skins. Understand that there can be no guarantees when it comes to wildlife, all sightings are a bonus.
- Try and put money into local people’s hands: drink local beer or fruit juice rather than imported brands and buy and eat locally produced food. When you are shopping, even where bargaining is expected, do inject humour and remember a low price almost certainly means a lower wage for the maker.
- If you want to take gifts make sure they are appropriate (for example there are few dentists in remote communities, so sweets are not recommended).
- If you really want your experience to be a ‘home away from home’, it may be foolish to waste money on travelling!