Sustainability — is it just a buzzword?
Philippine Tatler: Sustainability has become a big buzzword in travel. What does it mean to you and why is it so important?
Jeremy Jauncey: Sustainability is critical to the future of our industry and the planet. Climate change is real and is impacting us all over the world, but it is addressable. If we make changes now to the way we consume products, the way we spend our money, and the way we travel, we can change the trajectory we are on. I’m a very passionate supporter for the World Wildlife Fund and the work they are doing to protect environments and animals is something I believe is hugely important.
PT: What practical steps can the eco-conscious traveller take in support of sustainable travel?
JJ: The easiest and most obvious is to offset your carbon footprint. Many airlines now offer the chance to do that when you book a flight, and there are numerous organisations that have calculators so you can see the impact you have. A few I recommend: Gold Standard and the climate consultants 3Degrees who helped me to offset the carbon impact of my business so we can be climate positive.
PT: There are local communities in various destinations around the world that have not yet embraced sustainability as a way of life and in a crucial way, a means of self-preservation. How does travel communicate the importance of sustainability without sounding patronising?
JJ: I think context is the most important thing to understand when talking about sustainable development through tourism. If a family has no food or a safe place to live, talking about recycling or offsetting carbon does not respect the situation they are in. The travel industry has the power to change this as travellers invest their dollars into projects that create amazing travel experiences and put money into local economies. I strongly recommend people to look out for ways to do this.
Eat at local restaurants, hire local guides, buy local products, and venture outside your hotel as the money you spend when you travel can change people’s lives. In Rwanda [I saw this first hand visiting gorillas], the guides and those who worked at the National Park had been poachers who were taught the power of protecting the animals and generating income through tourism instead of poaching. They did not poach because they wanted to; they had no other way to survive. The development of sustainable tourism enabled them to protect the environments that now give them so much more than they had before.
PT: What would you consider to be your top three ecodestinations in the world?
JJ: 1) Rwanda, definitely—I love that country; 2) Palau—their pledge is an amazing idea and tourism marketing tool in one; and 3) Nihi Sumba.
- Photography Jeremy Jauncey