Sustainable travel —yet another buzzword these days, but what does it really mean? In a nutshell, sustainable travel aims to engage with travelers in a way that protects the environment and expands economic development in the local communities. It’s worth noting that the concept goes beyond just eco-friendly practices and environmental responsibility, as the social impact is an important element too. A report from the United Nations Development Programme stated that just $5 of every $100 spent in a developing country stayed in that destination.
Unfortunately, the term is used in many instances as part of a greenwashing campaign and not necessarily as a true representation of doing good for people and the planet. The commitment to sustainable travel goes beyond just including tourists and non-profit advocates, but also businesses in the space.
I had the opportunity to speak with Jared Meyers, the co-founder of Florida-based Legacy Vacation Resorts (LVR), a Certified B Corporation company working hard to create a measurable positive impact on the travel industry. During our conversation, Meyers highlighted LVR’s commitment to providing vacation experiences for families and friends in a manner that respects the environment, employees, and community.
Sustainability is at the core of LVR. The company offsets 100% of its direct bookings carbon footprint, reduces waste and recycles, creates sustainable lifestyle awareness campaigns, and has green-focused renovation projects. Internally, LVR provides living wage initiatives for employees, paid time off for volunteerism activities, scholarship opportunities, and an Income Advance and Savings program to help employees with financial emergencies, help build credit and personal savings.
In case you are unfamiliar, Certified B Corps are businesses that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose through third-party review. B Corps go far beyond simple eco-friendly initiatives, as they analyze all aspects of their business, from workers and supply chain to community and benefiting the planet. Currently, there are more than 3,000 B Corps worldwide, and only about 65 are tourism-related.
I learned that LVR is not only using the power of their business as a force for good but is also looking to spread the B Corp movement within the industry using their success as an example. The company helped to create and support a local non-profit called For Good movement, which aims to create a more conscious business landscape and the spread of B Corps in the state of Florida.
LVR seeks to push beyond merely an ‘environmental’ focus and foster a more holistic approach to sustainability. An approach their co-founder is calling regenerative travel, an ecosystem that creates harmony among all of its parts. The company has a goal of creating a network of other B Corp certified tourism companies to make it easy for travelers to avoid things like irresponsible companies and “overtourism” while traveling, and use their dollars to support businesses that share their values.
LVR has eight locations in the U.S. across Florida, New Jersey, Colorado, and Nevada.
Knowing that here’s how you can engage in sustainable travel:
1. Support local businesses and artisans
2. Respect local culture
3. Frequent social enterprises that support the training of people
4. Choose tour providers that are invested in the community
5. Reduce your single-use plastics and limit your trail of waste
6. Respect the boundaries of animals
7. Reward environmentally friendly hotels and establishments
8. Use public transportation
9. Walk as much as you can or rent a bike