As an organisation that is committed to creating change and focuses on conservation and sustainability as well as personal development, it is understandable that we come under scrutiny when it comes to flying. We’re very proud of the experiences that we offer, the impact and the benefit that they bring and thought now would be a great time to discuss this further, whilst releasing some other really exciting news. Below we'll cover the following:
- B Corporations,
- Declaring a climate and ecological emergency, and
- The Floogle Fund.
Yes, flying is a big contributor as are computers & phones, and amongst the obvious; meat, dairy & the fashion industries. Ultimately, we need to know when to use things & how to use them, i.e. in moderation and a sustainable fashion. There are many benefits of ‘flying’ (travel & tourism): cultural integration; exposure & connection to social & environmental issues; personal development; job creation; reducing poverty; sustaining economic growth and increasing female employment and independence.
We aim to teach our students about the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which cover many of the global issues that we’re facing and unfortunately, some of these problems are further afield and flying is required to reach them. We feel it’s a valid and important journey for students to make as it’s this experiential learning phase (Kolb’84) and the socio-emotional connection that creates change for pro-environmental behaviour (Ting & Cheng, 2017). You will not get the same level of impact or change through a screen or board in the classroom.
Therefore, we need to ensure that students are fully aware of their impact, understand the implications of flying and value the influence they can have in their day-to-day lives through sustainable actions. We track and monitor this change through performance management tools, pre and post-trip, and have already seen incredible results. Our most recent trip showed that:
100% of students now know what the SDG's are,
100% appreciate how first-hand experiences can connect them to social and environmental issues,
84% are prepared to change their behaviour,
92% are prepared to reduce their energy and water consumption, and
96% feel that the trip helped them personally.
Not only were we the first UK BCorp in the Travel industry back in 2016 but also one of 21 signatories (amongst Christopher Davis, chief sustainability officer, The Body Shop International; Paul Polman, former CEO, Unilever; Sir Tim Smit, founder, Eden Project) who signed a letter to the Editor of The Times supporting Extinction Rebellion and declaring a climate emergency.
Our commitment to track, measure and monitor our impact and carbon footprint has developed into a very exciting partnership with ClimateCare who have helped us become one of, if not ‘the’, first travel company globally to be carbon positive. Over the summer months, we worked hard behind the scenes to calculate the carbon cost of each of our trips, taking into account flights, land transportation and accommodation services. Our first carbon positive trip returned back to the UK last week, whereby we offset these emissions through a portfolio of projects that: help to cut carbon emissions; provide safe water; improve health; increase education; empower women and children; stimulate local economies; create jobs and protect habitats and wildlife. We also ask our students to offset their flights as well, so that they take responsibility for their actions and become aware of their footprint. Through this portfolio of projects we:
Help to provide safe drinking water to 4 million people, whilst cutting carbon emissions by reducing the need to boil water through the LifeStraw Carbon for Water project in Kenya.
Support 350 manufacturers and 500 retailers in Ghana to produce Gyapa stoves, cutting more than 3million tonnes of CO2 and saving 4.1million people more than $75 on their fuel bills.
Support Burn Stoves in Kenya, cutting emissions, reducing toxic fumes & decreasing fuel bills. Provide women with skills & training, who make up more than 50% of the workforce.
Support renewable wind farms in India, providing rural communities with clean, reliable energy.
B Corporation: using business as a force for good
As stated, we were the first BCorp in the travel industry in the UK back in 2016 (I just like saying it ;) and we’re very pleased to announce that we have just re-certified and increased our score by over 10%, now sitting at 91.3. The assessment is comprised of 5 main areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers in which the median score for ordinary businesses is 50.9. This network includes the likes of Innocent Smoothies, The Body Shop, Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Proper Corn, Method and Pukka tea.
The ClimateCare partnership and BCorp accreditation support our decision to declare a climate and ecological emergency. We recognise that there are limiting natural resources on our planet and need to reconsider ecosystem services, taking into account new business models, strategies, and stakeholder relations for a sustainable future. We want to collaborate with government, businesses and consumers who are committed to making a positive social and environmental impact and like us commit to ensuring that all business decisions take into account climate and ecological breakdown.
The Floogle Fund
Finally, we’re really excited to launch our new 2% Fund, in which we’ll be donating 2% of revenue from every trip: 1% back to the project and 1% back to the customer for future programmes. This idea was born from our previous membership to '1% For The Planet' but we felt slightly disconnected from the projects and wanted to do more for our customers and the programmes that they support. We also wanted to go the extra mile. We hope that this will build a network of schools that have a positive social and environmental impact.
We understand that Flooglebinder (like all businesses) has an impact on society and the environment in which it operates. However, we ensure that it’s a positive one for a better, and more sustainable, future!
The points raised above are on-going projects and don’t include: the cocoa factories that we’re constructing to invest in local economies, increasing yield production and job creation; the artificial reefs we’re building to protect vulnerable coral reef ecosystems; or the orange trees we’re planting to save lives by reducing elephant/human conflict.
Throughout these programmes, we ensure that: jobs are not replaced by western participation; cultural integration does not cause further pain and suffering to destitute and/or orphaned children; and that the funds go directly into the programmes to essential projects for a sustainable future.
These projects wouldn’t happen without eco-tourism nor would the change occur without these experiences. These development-learning models go back further than David Kolb’s work in 1984 to the Chinese philosopher Confucius around 500BC:
"Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand."
In short, yes, flying is a big contributor but if the ‘programme’ is designed right, the net impact is a positive one for all stakeholders.
And Finally, yes, as far as we know we'll be the first climate positive travel company globally!!!