Greenwings view on responsible tourism
The people behind Greenwings are conservationists and at the heart of our company is a belief and a passion in protecting the natural world. We strive to operate in an environmentally responsible way, through our own actions and through our procurement of services for our tours – for example using local guides and conservation aware local service providers.
Overall, it is our belief that there are far more positive contributions made by responsible ecotourism than negative. It benefits local communities and their economies and it can demonstrate and promote a strong interest and desire to protect the natural world. However, everyone accepts that air travel contributes towards climate change. We encourage all our guests to make donations to offset the harmful CO2 emissions that their flights will unavoidably create. This is a voluntary action and the amount donated is left up to each individual. We are always happy to suggest suitable recipient organisations for donations.
We are also able to offer holidays which can be flight-free, making use of other transport networks, mainly rail and sea. To help our guests choose holidays where this is more easily achievable we’ve set up a dedicated ‘Flight-free holidays‘ section on our website. In addition, for our large numbers of UK based guests we are working on adding more and more of our ‘British Wildlife Breaks‘, providing even more choice for those who wish to stay local and minimise their travel footprint.
Our commitments to conservation
We are active supporters of conservation through sponsorship and direct donations. We donate money to a local conservation project or to an appropriate charity from every single one of our holidays and we work with several organisations in a variety of different ways to promote them and their conservation objectives.
Almost all of our leaders either work for, or used to work or volunteer for, conservation organisations like Butterfly Conservation, RSPB, The Wildife Trusts and so on. In fact many of our leaders are actively involved with wildlife charities, volunteering their time and energy in a manner of different ways. They therefore have a deep understanding of nature conservation and the wide ranging issues and challenges that we face on a daily basis to care for the natural world.
We work with local guides and use local products and services wherever possible for our holidays. We believe emphatically that in doing so we are helping to support the local economies of the places we visit and showing the value and importance of the natural world. This is particularly beneficial in countries where the concept of valuing nature for its intrinsic value is either in its infancy or unheard of.
We donate photographs to any wildlife charity that wishes to use them to promote care, interest and protection of the natural world. Numerous images from our leaders can be seen gracing magazine front covers, books, leaflets and calendars – often these are sold to raise funds for a particular wildlife project or charity.
Single-use plastic policy
The BBC brought the problem of plastic pollution to the attention of many people with Blue Planet II, a series that emphasised the pervasive damage caused by plastic in the marine environment. Greenwings is committed to reducing and removing any single-use plastics from its activities and will encourage its partners and suppliers to do the same. To begin with we are introducing two simple but effective measures:
1. Instead of buying drinks (especially water) in plastic bottles we will switch to a reusable container. We intend to design a Greenwings stainless steel water bottle which will be made available to our guests.
2. Use cloth bags instead of single-use plastic equivalents. We already do this as a general rule but will make it a higher priority and remind our guides, guests and suppliers of our desire to stop the use of single-use plastic bags.