At Arcadia Expeditions, we believe that our business has a higher purpose than simply profit. As leaders in the travel industry, we incorporate principles of Sustainability and Responsible Tourism into everything we do. We are committed to reducing our negative environmental impacts while increasing our positive social and economic impacts.
Through our small group, immersive style of travel, we aim for our business and our travellers to forge meaningful relationships with people in each of our destinations and contribute positively to the social, environmental and economic fabric of their lives. We believe it is our responsibility to help preserve the planet for future generations through responsible environmental stewardship and to fight global climate change by reducing and offsetting carbon emissions throughout our business.
David Mannix & David Adams FRGS
Founders – Arcadia Expeditions
Arcadia Expeditions has developed and refined its position on Sustainability and Responsible Tourism with advice and guidance from travel industry sustainability experts. This has allowed us to embed sustainability values into the business from its inception and incorporate Responsible Tourism initiatives into the daily operations of the company.
In order to lay solid foundations for our approach, we have developed a comprehensive set of policies, guidelines and actions that will maximise our positive social, economic and environmental impacts in the destinations that we operate in.
Arcadia operates under the guidance of our Sustainability Action Plan, which outlines our ambitions through clear and regionally defined targets, strong governance and accountability and through the frequent monitoring and independent evaluation of the positive impact we are having.
We have created three key themes that detail our Sustainability and Responsible Tourism initiatives:
Sustainability at the Office
Giving back to Local Communities
Responsible Travel ‘On the Road’
At Arcadia Expeditions we understand there is a great deal more that must be done and improved upon. However, we endeavour to be industry leaders in responsible and sustainable travel and will be striving for ever-greater impact in the years to come. We look forward to sharing this journey with our travellers and partners.
We value all feedback, the good and the bad, on our Sustainability and Responsible Tourism practices. With this in mind, we have set up a dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be delighted to hear from you, our valued travellers, to learn more about what is important to you and how Arcadia Expeditions can make the world a better place.
Being a relatively compact company, Arcadia’s co-founders directly lead and oversee the group’s Sustainability and Responsible Tourism commitments; taking it upon themselves to drive global initiatives, deliver best practice and identify ever-expanding ways Arcadia can embed responsible and sustainable travel in all we seek to achieve.
Naturally, a cornerstone of the all the company’s activities is a dedication to legal compliance and fair business practices concerning all of our stakeholders – this includes compliance with national and regional sustainability standards, rules and regulations. The company ensures it is aware of and up-to-date with all international, national and local legal requirements concerning its operations. Furthermore, Arcadia Expeditions adheres to a strict ethical code that is relevant for all employees and partners.
Particular areas of focus for the business are:
- Anti-bribery and corruption safeguards
- A concern for the health and safety of all employees and partners
- Fair labour practices and continual investment in employees
- Environmentally-friendly operating standards
With regards to its consumer practices and stewardship, Arcadia hold a firm belief in the mantra of ‘Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle’.
Offsetting Carbon Emissions
While Arcadia actively uses telecom and telepresence to reduce unnecessary business travel, some occasional travel is required. In these instances, Arcadia offsets the carbon emissions of its staff’s business flights. We also offset all the flights of our team of Expeditions Leaders.
Arcadia carbon compensate only through projects that are Gold Standard approved, which are seen by many NGO’s (such as WWF and the David Suzuki Foundation) to be the most stringent standard for carbon offsetting. We have chosen projects that target renewable energy as we believe that this addresses the central structural issues that cause climate change – that is, the world’s reliance on using fossil fuels for energy. We support projects that are based in two of the destinations we travel to. Both benefit local populations in addition to cutting carbon emissions:
This wind farm generates 45GWh of clean electricity annually, powering over 10,000 households every year. The local community in the projects vicinity have benefited through local employment opportunities, school supplies and health care facilities provided by the project.
98% of Ethiopia’s rural population do not have access to electricity. This project installs photovoltaic cells on the roofs of thousands of houses, providing equipment for using the produced electricity for lighting, thereby reducing the use of kerosene lamps and its associated health problems.
During the initial stages of crafting Arcadia’s itineraries, we selected several charities, foundations and social enterprises to become an integral part of our journeys. These groups were selected for their effective commitment to people and planet, as well as their transparent business operations.
In addition to the social and environmental benefits that these relationships offer, Arcadia believes that by weaving these mutually beneficial experiences into each of our itineraries, we greatly enrich the experience for our travellers and help create more informed and engaged global citizens. By introducing travellers to the stories and wonders of the world, we also seek to create a more respectful global community. By designing authentic experiences, we open the eyes, hearts and minds of our travellers – allowing them to taste, hear, see and feel the lives, struggles and successes of others. In doing so, we encourage empathy and break down ‘us’ versus ‘them’ stereotypes.
Below are a sample of some of the grassroots projects Arcadia work with that protect the environment and help the sustainable social and economic development of local communities in the destinations we travel to. ‘Arcadia Sponsored Projects’ are directly financially supported by Arcadia Expeditions, whilst our ‘On-Expedition Projects’ are supported by including visits to these projects during our expeditions with the purpose of raising awareness amongst our travellers. We invite all of our travellers to join us in support of these important projects.
In Morocco, Arcadia contributes financially to Project Soar, an initiative dedicated to empowering disadvantaged teenage girls. Project Soar provides a 50 workshop empowerment curriculum in many sites across Morocco, reaching over 400 girls. At the Project Soar headquarters in Marrakech, critical after-school programming is also offered to develop a strong sense of self and increase the girls chances of academic success. Their athletics program introduces girls to a diverse set of sports and health classes cover an array of topics essential for adolescent girls, including the provision of innovative period kits to help manage their menstruation.
Travellers on our Moroccan Art of Living expedition visit the Project Soar HQ in Marrakech and have the opportunity to meet with its founder to learn more about the work they are undertaking.
In northern Kenya, we financially support the Leakey Foundation. The purpose of the organisation is to increase scientific knowledge, provide education and promote public awareness of human origins, evolution, behaviour and survival. The Foundation funds scientific research that explores the many facets of human origins and shares the results of this research through innovative educational programs. They also provide funding for graduate students from countries with limited academic opportunities to earn advanced degrees in fields like palaeoanthropology and primatology.
Groups on our Cradle of Mankind expedition visit the Leakey Foundations Turkana Base Institute. Lodging at the research facility, our travellers spend a full day visiting some of the world’s most famous archaeological sites with an expert guide from the Institute and learn more about their community outreach programme.
During our expedition to Turkey, we support Small Projects of Istanbul, a local NGO facilitating the integration of displaced Syrian families into their new home in Turkey. Our groups meet with some of the brave individuals who have had to flee their war-torn homeland and the volunteers who give up their time to help them find their feet.
We visit the Tarabil School during our Sudan expedition, which is being upgraded by an Arcadia-supported NGO called Friends of Sudan that helps local people in developing meaningful projects related to education, healthcare and preserving the environment. This remote small school serves three villages near the pyramids of Meroe.
Our expedition through Botswana includes time with members of the team from the International Rhino Foundation in order to witness firsthand their ongoing and vital conservations efforts. The foundation has been working to ensure the survival of rhinos by raising awareness of poaching and supporting anti-poaching interventions across the region.
In India we have chosen to stay at the Sujan Jawai tented camp due to their outstanding commitment to preserving and protecting parts of the Indian wilderness. They have also created community development projects in the villages surrounding the camp such as educational support for local schools and the provision of a free mobile medical service that have directly benefited the local population.
Our expedition through Vietnam includes lunch at KOTO, a social enterprise restaurant in Hanoi that doubles as a holistic hospitality training school for disadvantaged youth. Over the years, the organisation has trained over 1000 students, helping to end the cycle of poverty and empower trainees to realise their dreams.
Arcadia is passionate about minimising the negative impacts that tourism may cause. A pillar of the Arcadia Expeditions travel philosophy is our belief in small group sizes. Some of our tailored journeys have a maximum capacity of 12 travellers, while others are capped at 16. Not only does this minimise the negative impacts on the destinations we visit, but it also provides a more immersive and intimate local travel experience.
All Arcadia travellers are provided with cloth bags and reusable water bottles at the beginning of their expedition to help them avoid single-use plastics such as plastic shopping bags and disposable water bottles. Obviously, these bags and bottles can be kept by our guests and used further to minimise waste on their onward travels or when they return home.
To further avoid single-use plastic, Arcadia does all it can to identify and make stops at water refill stations. Further to this, Arcadia instructs its in-country partners in all destinations to provide large tanks of potable water for group vehicles. We also encourage the hotels and lodges that host our groups to provide safe and reliable water at refill stations. These simple but effective measures can have a considerable impact and drastically reduce the amount of waste generated during each expedition. It also has the added benefit of helping our partners operate in a more sustainable manner.
Importantly, we want to make sure that as much money as possible generated from our expeditions stays in the destination. We aim to work with local guides and purchase from a range of local suppliers to ensure the economic benefits of travel are spread amongst the local communities in the destinations we visit. Where possible, we avoid using large international chain hotels, and instead work with locally owned properties. We like to include communities in our itineraries that are off the tourist trail, allowing an injection of cash into areas that are often overlooked and in need of development.
In addition to supporting a number of local grassroots projects during each expedition, we also provide a ‘Tips for being a Responsible Traveller’ booklet to each of our travellers. These are distributed electronically before their expedition commences and cover useful information on cultural differences, ethical issues, recommended consumer practices and guidance on environmentally-friendly travel.