Reducing plastic
Oceans are, with their temperature, their currents and under life sea, the engine of global systems that make the earth habitable for people. Oceans cover three-quarters of the earth’s surface, and our drinking water, the weather, the climate, the coasts, most of our food and even the air we breathe are dependent of the oceans. Worldwide, everyone is aware of the plastic soup floating around in the oceans. Plastic fragments into small particles, which changes all our water into a global microplastic soup. Water animals and plankton eat these plastics, and this is how it enters our food chain. On average, travellers use at least 30 water bottles per person during a two-week trip, especially in warm countries where you have to drink a lot. This causes a huge amount of plastic waste. In many countries waste is not properly processed, and litter is a big problem. In order to reduce the amount of plastic waste, we work together with our local experts to expand the number of water refill stations in cities and hotels. This way our travellers can easily refill their own refillable bottle without having to buy plastic bottles. We are also partner of RefillMyBottle, a community that has mapped all locations where people can refill their bottle for free or minimum fee. In some of the countries where we organise holidays to, it is not possible to drink water straight from the tap. That is why we also started to promote the Lifestraw bottle, the SteriPEN and the Grayl bottle to our clients. This re-usable bottle filters unsafe drinking water into safe drinking water! We have started the plastic-free travel challenge with several bloggers to show our travellers that zero-waste travel is actually possible. Involved: Better Places network, Dopper, Lifestraw, SteriPEN, Grayl, RefillMyBottle, all local experts of the Better Places network.
Co2 compensation
Climate change literally knows no boundaries, it affects every country. Consequences each country increasingly faces are droughts, extreme storms and floods. Travelling by plane creates prosperity and jobs worldwide, but also produces high levels of CO2 emission. In case of long journeys, the flight to the destinations is the largest part of the total CO2 emissions. The CO2 footprint of transport and stay at the destination is limited, especially if travellers make use of small-scale, sustainable accommodations, eat in local restaurants and do not travel too many kilometers. Better Places is initiative taker of a group of 13 Dutch tour operators compensating all the CO2 emissions of their travels. Better Places does not only compensate the on-land package clients have booked, but also the emission that is needed for the clients to reach the destination. In order to map these emissions, we make use of a carbon calculator that calculates the exact CO2 emission per travel item. Better Places makes journeys CO2 neutral by investing in (for example) more efficient cookers in Ghana and solar energy in Thailand. We work together with the Swiss South Pole Group that has selected these projects. Involved: Better Places, Aksja Reizen, Koning Aap, Shoestring, Yourway2go, Footprint Travel, Labrys Reizen, Riksja Travel, Sawadee Reizen, SNP Natuurreizen, SRC Travel, Thika Travel, Travelhome, Carmacal carbon calculator, South Pole Group
Travelife Certification
Better Places is certified by Travelife since January 2017. Travelife for Tour Operators is a management, training and certification scheme and they aim to support tour operators in implementing sustainability practices in their operations by advising them on the latest trends and developments. The Travelife standard has been acknowledged as the first standard for tour operators by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The sustainability standards created by Travelife include criteria that relate to internal management, product range, animal welfare, partners and suppliers, and client communication. Requirements include having a publicly available sustainability policy, buying sustainable and local products (FSC paper, green energy and fair-trade coffee), and stimulating partners and suppliers to also work sustainably. The main goal is for tour operators and destinations to sustainably develop themselves. After all, sustainable tourism is nothing more than celebrating holidays and having respect for the environment, people, nature and culture. Better Places has made agreements with the local travel experts in terms of sustainable operations. All our partners have followed the Travelife training and are either already Travelife certified or working on it at the moment. By stimulating this, we are creating a baseline of sustainability practices the whole Better Places network complies with and commits to in order to make the tourism industry more sustainable. Involved: GSTC, Travelife, Better Places, all local experts of Better Places worldwide (35)