Written by Gary Cohen
General Manager
The team’s trips and offices have been recognised for their social, environmental and economical sustainability – yet again.

You may have noticed the little green frog logo before - on your Magnum ice-cream or box of Tetley tea, perhaps. The Rainforest Alliance certification can often be seen on farm or forest products, symbolising that the item is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. However, did you know that Rainforest Alliance also have a certification program for tour operators? Well, they do – and our Peru team just got the tick of approval, yet again

Rainforest Alliance

The Intrepid Group’s Peruvian offices (in Cusco and Lima) first achieved certification in 2015 and have just successfully completed a full re-audit, achieving an exceptionally high overall score of 98%. Measuring policies, processes and actions both in the office and on trips, the certification audit covers everything from recycling and energy conservation through to interaction and engagement with staff, suppliers and local communities. This year, the audit team joined travellers on a community visit in the Sacred Valley, as well as talking to key suppliers such as transport owners and restaurants.

A Rainforest Alliance certification means that by travelling with an Intrepid Group brand in Peru, you are supporting a business that is genuinely committed to doing the right thing. It’s all very well to claim that you are operating responsibly as a travel company, but it’s far more valuable to have that claim verified through a specialised external audit, which is what Rainforest Alliance provide. As a business, going through the audit process is invaluable – as well as recognising what we already do well, it has also enabled us to identify areas of improvement. We always want to be moving forward.

Our possible areas for improvement are to better track our impact, increase awareness training for staff on issues such as unconscious bias or combatting child exploitation, and reducing plastic packaging on trips. For example, one new initiative has been to introduce biodegradable containers for pre-packed lunches on the Inca Trail. The containers, which are made from sugarcane pulp, biodegrade at a similar rate to food, and are composted in special recycling bins at the end of the trail.

As an international, non-profit organisation, Rainforest Alliance is dedicated to conserving biodiversity and ensuring sustainable livelihoods. Beginning in 1987, the organisation is now active in more than 76 countries across the world.   

To learn more about Rainforest Alliance, visit their website.

July 2018