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Sustainable Travel Policy

Sustainable Travel Policy

Rustic Pathways strives to create a world where travel is a model of sustainable development by fostering positive impact around the world through genuine community engagement, strong local collaboration, and responsible business practices.

“Sustainable Travel” is how we refer to our holistic approach that embodies economic support, environmental sustainability, and responsible traveler conduct.

At a global level, Rustic Pathways is committed to implementing high standards of responsible business practices, to encouraging our staff to embody these practices, and to teaching the next generation how to embody responsible practices that will inform how they  live, travel, and continue to create impact.

Awareness of Sustainable Travel Practices

Awareness of sustainable travel practices is incorporated into all programs and clear expectations are established with students for responsible behavior. Program Leaders receive specific training on responsible travel, local culture and protected areas occurring in indigenous, cultural and historically sensitive areas.

Responsible Travel Code of Conduct

Rustic Pathways employees are guided by a set of core values that include Global Responsibility. We must always consider the impact of their actions on people, the planet, and our future and recognize that we have a duty to create positive change in the world. The following principles guide us in ensuring responsible program operations:

  1. Use locally owned, responsible vendors whenever possible.
  2. Build collaborative and mutually beneficial partnerships with host communities and service partners.
  3. Actively support initiatives that alleviate poverty and protect the natural environment.
  4. Employ staff from destinations at all levels of our operations.
  5. Respect local culture and customs.
  6. Minimize negative impacts on people’s daily lives and local environments.
  7. Teach students how to minimize their environmental and cultural impact.
  8. Do not support vendors or activities that exploit people or animals.
  9. Manage risk and ensure safety of students and staff.
  10. Continuously evaluate and work to do better.

Each country has a specific code of conduct that outlines expectations for responsible travel, local culture, and protected areas and specific guidance for activities occurring in indigenous, cultural and historically sensitive areas.

Environmental Conservation

Rustic Pathways strives to minimize its environmental footprint and aims to establish a baseline measurement of waste, water and energy use across our country operations. We ensure adherence to sustainability policies and to identify country-specific opportunities and actions for improvement.

Good Neighbor Policy

We are committed to evaluating the potential negative impacts of our operations in the communities we visit so not to jeopardize the provision of basic services or adversely affect local access to livelihoods, including land and aquatic resource use, rights-of-way, transport, and housing.

Responsible Purchasing Policy

We believe that using local products is better for both the environment and the communities we visit, and enhances the experience of our students. We give preference to local, responsibly sourced and eco-friendly products and services whenever possible.

Vendor Selection Policy

We believe that use of locally owned businesses provide important benefits to communities where we travel as well as the quality of our programs, especially when those businesses have a demonstrated commitment to risk management and sustainability best practices. We prioritize use of these vendors whenever possible.

Community Partnerships and Service

Partnerships with communities and organizations are established to achieve mutually defined goals.  Service plans are developed collaboratively with each partner and documented to clarify the goals and objectives of the partnership and specific actions and responsibilities to be taken. Activity standards are used to ensure appropriate risk management while undertaking service work. Projects are monitored and evaluated for effectiveness and reported on regularly.

Wildlife Tourism Policy

Rustic Pathways only offers wildlife experiences on programs where they support conservation, provide meaningful educational opportunities, and animal welfare can be assured.