As supporters of the TreadRight Foundation, we are committed to safeguarding the communities, environments and wildlife of the places we visit. It’s our responsibility as a Travel Management Company to Make Travel Matter, which is why we asked our team to share their green travel resolutions and tips for 2020.
No more single use plastic
Single-use plastics are the result of today’s throwaway culture. Most of our plastic ends up in landfills, our oceans and waterways. The problem is that plastics do not biodegrade – in fact, it can take thousands of years for a plastic shopping bag to decompose.
“Do your part for the environment by choosing to refuse,” says Sharon Leong, CEO, Thompsons Travel. “Get into the habit of bringing your own lunch container, travel mug or water bottle, as well as shopping with a reusable shopping bag.”
Shelley Fourie, Retail Manager, Durban, plans to make 2020 the year to recycle more – at home, and at the office. “We have separate bins to ensure our waste is correctly separated,” she says. “Plus, the coastal teams have joined forces to get more involved with different green projects, such as beach clean ups.”
Chantal Kliche, Coastal Manager, plans to bring green thinking back home. “My resolution for 2020 is to personally continue educating my children about a greener SA in fun ways, like always picking up litter on visits to the beach and our fun hikes.”
Shelley adds: “I think the more we can make people aware of what they can do; if each person does more than they have before then we can only improve collectively.”
Going green by growing green
Wendy Schulze, CEO, Thompsons for Travel, is planning to plant more trees for a greener Africa. “Spekboom is a great option as it is very effective in fighting air pollution,” she says.
Chantal adds: “In 2020 we’ll definitely be creating more sustainability both at work and at home, by continuing to grow vegetables fruit, herbs and trees!”
Mitchell Hudson, New Business Manager, says he always tries to take a direct route when flying. “I also tend to look at which aircraft is being used on the route, as older aircraft are heavier on fuel.”
According to Mitchell, aircraft such as the Boeing 747 / 737-400 / 777-200 and Airbus A340s tend to be very fuel dependent, whereas the Airbus A350s / A330 NEO / A320NEO or Boeing 787s / 737-800 / 900 are ultra-efficient and burn up to 35% less fuel.
He adds: “I also research the property that I would like to book, to ensure that they are environmentally aware and have initiatives in place to offset their carbon footprint.”
When travelling, whether for business or leisure, it’s important to experience and respect all that makes your destination different and unique, from its history, architecture, religion, dress and communication codes, to its music, art and cuisine. By supporting local businesses – from restaurants to artisanal crafts, you’re enabling the communities you visit to thrive.
“One of the best ways to support the locals is to research your destination before you leave,” says Chantal. “Learn about local customs, traditions and social conditions. It’s a great way to build understanding of the local community.”
Sharon suggests learning to speak a few phrases in the local language. “This can help you connect with the local community and its people in a more meaningful way.”
Here are some more ways you can support the communities you visit:
- Buy locally made handcrafts and products.
- Respect livelihoods of local vendors and artisans by paying a fair price.
- Do not buy counterfeit products or items that are prohibited by national/ international regulations.
- Hire local guides with in-depth knowledge of the area.
Wild about wildlife… when it’s in the wild
Seeing wild animals when you travel, like coming face-to-face with elephants, tigers and dolphins, can be such a memorable part of your trip. However, you may not be aware these animals often suffer unseen cruelty and abuse.
But how do you know whether an attraction or activity can harm an animal? “If you’re not sure whether an animal encounter is ethical, just say no,” advises Chantal.
The TreadRight Animal Welfare Policy outlines 5 Freedoms, a compact of rights for animals under human control.
These 5 freedoms are as follows:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst: Easy access to food and water designed to meet animals’ specific dietary needs for optimum health.
- Freedom from discomfort: Animals must be provided with an environment consistent with their needs, including shelter from the elements.
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease: By prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to express normal behaviour: The provision of enough space, appropriate “natural” facilities and the company of animals of its own kind.
- Freedom from fear and distress: The provision of conditions and treatment that avoid mental suffering
We invite you to join us in Making Travel Matter. Sign the TreadRight pledge and make 2020 your greenest year yet. #gogreenwiththompsonstravel