By Damien Martin
Natural Habitat Adventures
Natural Habitat became the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company in 2007. Since then, Natural Habitat has offset more than 34 million pounds of carbon emissions. Partnering with the World Wildlife Fund, Sustainable Travel International and The International Ecotourism Society among other conservation-driven institutions, Natural Habitat is always looking for ways to improve in its stewardship of the natural world. All of the company’s tours are carbon-neutral by design, and it offers guests the opportunity to offset the carbon footprint of their flights for about $25-$125 per person depending on distance travelled.
Big Five Tours & Expeditions
At its founding in the 1970s, Big Five was part of establishing a code of ethics for tour operators in Kenya’s national parks. Early steps such as prohibiting smoking and training guides to respect wildlife in its natural setting have led to involvement in projects such as Tough Tigers, committed to preserving the fragile tiger population in South Asia, and a women’s co-op in Andean Peru. “Giving the villages a reason for you being there, that’s sustainable tourism,” Big Five president Ashish Sanghrajka said. Big Five also spearheaded development of galapagos.com, safaritours.com and the forthcoming visibleasia.com websites to rank destinations in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia in terms of sustainability.
In addition to a partnership with National Geographic and Natural Habitat, Lindblad supports RED Turismo Sustentable, a Mexican nonprofit that combines ecotourism and sustainability to strengthen communities and their economies. Thanks in part to Lindblad and National Geographic’s LEX-NG Fund, the town of Cabo Pulmo in Baja California Sur switch its main economic engine from fishing to marine tourism. Lindblad has also played a role in preserving the Isla Rasa in the Gulf of California, an island that is home to about a million birds during nesting season and supports long-term ecological monitoring in the gulf.
Abercrombie & Kent
Through its philanthropy wing, A&K has partnered with LifeStraw to bring high-volume water purifiers to schools throughout Kenya’s Masai Mara, allowing more than 7,000 children to be protected against waterborne illnesses. Guests on Kenya safaris have the opportunity to visit one of the Safe Water for Schools communities. This is just one of more than 40 projects A&K is involved in across all seven continents, from embracing cultural heritage, environmentally sensitive operations and fair wages for local employees. “Whenever someone decides to travel with A&K, they’re helping people, cultures and economies around the world prosper in sustainable ways,” A&K vice chairman Jorie Butler Kent said.
For every safari Micato sells, the company pays school fees for a child from Nairobi’s Mukuru slum all the way through high school through its AmericaShare program. On six of its classic safaris and all its bespoke safaris, Micato offers travellers the chance to spend an extra day in Nairobi visiting one of the AmericaShare projects, be it visiting the “mamas” who care for the slum’s children, planting a tree, serving a meal or just talking with teenagers about career possibilities. Micato and the Pinto family are committed to protecting Africa so future generations can experience the wild beauty and majesty of the land they call home.
“If you’re not giving back,” Lindblad vice president of North America sales Lesa Bain said, “you shouldn’t be going.” We couldn’t agree more.