Responsible travel policy
Twin Work & Volunteer is firmly committed to promoting and supporting responsible travel, and therefore our obligation is to consider the implications of the impacts caused by travelling
Our Responsible Travel Statement
With hundreds of people signing up to our programmes every year, we acknowledge that our customers have the potential to influence or change the communities that they visit, and that sometimes these changes can be detrimental. This is unavoidable. However, Twin Work & Volunteer is firmly committed to promoting and supporting responsible travel, and therefore our obligation is to consider the implications of the impacts caused by travelling, and to encourage behaviours that are respectful and constructive, rather than harmful or abusive.
It is often wrongly assumed that the only ‘real’ negative costs of travel is that which is done to the environment – namely, the fuel that is burned (and consequently, the carbon emitted) from the engines of the vehicles used to transport travellers to their destinations.
But it’s not just about the environment. Our operations move beyond that, and we have to make sure that our programmes benefit not only our participants, but also the host communities, their economies and their environments. This is the principle of the so-called triple bottom line:
- Social responsibility – acting in such a way that our partners, our project staff, our volunteers and their families, all those who are directly impacted by our business, and our own staff are treated with respect and benevolence. By blending different cultures we endeavour to maximise the connection between our participants and the local community and ensure that our business is a genuine exchange of efforts and human capital.
- Economic responsibility – working hard to ensure that all arrangements within our supply chain, all the way from the participant's payment through to the employees on the project, are set up to benefit each individual, business or organisation fairly and transparently, and that transactions are entered into consensually and conducted freely. We ensure that approximately 70% of our participant’s fees go directly to the destination country – thus facilitating the sustained growth and development of local businesses.
- Environmental responsibility – taking into consideration all impacts on the environment, we endeavour to maintain a zero-tolerance attitude to any damage caused by our participants at their respective host communities around the world. Our conservation efforts range from protecting and studying endangered animals, facilitating sustainable waste disposal mechanisms, and overseeing the care and upkeep of plant life. As a company, we are also very mindful of minimizing paper consumption, so when possible we prefer to utilise web-based communication.
How do we ensure responsible practices occur?
Responsible travel is fast becoming somewhat of a ‘buzz’ word in the travel sector, and there are many businesses claiming to maintain Responsible Travel policies.
Twin takes transparency very seriously and it is important to us that we remain credible. In view of this, we focus on three areas where we know we can make a difference:
- Educating our customers about the benefits of travelling responsibly
- Learning about our influence and acting in consequence
- Maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with our overseas partners through constant contact and transparent business
We’re constantly striving to implement these activities and ensure both our overseas partners and our participants carry out responsible practices:
Ensuring Responsible partners:
We invest a serious amount of energy in developing strong partnerships. Every year each member of the Twin Work & Volunteer staff personally meets and visits all of our key partners and projects overseas. We vet them for credibility, integrity andprofessionalism, and we’re engaged in a continuous process of programme refinement through daily communication with our partners.
We are proud of these partnerships - they are the backbone of our service and the vehicle through which we make possible great experiences for our travellers, and real, long-term, valuable outcomes for the host communities. 2010 saw the introduction of our Partnership Principles – this is a list of guidelines that we present to each of our partners to ensure that they have set clear goals which show their commitment to responsible travel.
The feedback we receive from our travellers is another way that we’re able to continuously check on the development of our partners and the projects they maintain.
Ensuring Responsible travellers:
We encourage all participants to attend our Pre-departure Briefings – we use these briefings as a conduit for proactively promoting the importance of responsible travel to our participants. We educate them on how they should behave when travelling, and how their involvement with local services can contribute to their sustainability. We’ve also put together our Pre-departure Packs, which are given to each of our participants before they depart. These packs provide information and advice that we feel is necessary to their travels including our Travellers’ Principles.
Our participants are not only briefed by us. Many of our programmes include an in-country induction that allows our travellers to learn about and understand local cultures, traditions and sensitivities. Project co-ordinators also promote opportunities for participants to interact with local communities at a grass roots level so that they can have a better understanding of local lifestyles.