Our packages all favour service providers and properties that are either officially Fair Trade certified, or that meet our own criteria for fair and ethical practice. This means that across the value chain, service providers are receiving fair compensation, working conditions are fair, natural eco systems are respected and protected, and sensitivity to people and cultural practice is prioritised.
This is important in ensuring that we build value for a diverse supply chain, and distribute the financial and other benefits of tourism broadly, thereby creating greater economic growth.
Coffeebeans Routes, the holding company for Creative Travel, is Fair Trade certified.
We believe that responsible tourism is about the attempt to answer the questions of how we make the world better. In our case the primary question is: can tourism shift the dominant economic and social narrative, and position the least economically empowered at the heart of the mainstream?
Environmental impact starts with social justice. If radical social and economic disparities are reduced, if society becomes more equal, environmental sustainability is a natural byproduct. So the starting point for us is social justice, and our biggest impact is through a responsible approach to how we engage with people, communities and stories, and how positioning new narratives at the heart of tourism starts to level imbalances. When we start to take ownership of the environments we live in (given that so much has been taken away, making us indentured tenants rather than curators), we naturally minimise impact on the natural environment.
Our approach to sustainable and responsible tourism practice, therefore, is to focus on social justice, while in parallel implementing tangible environmental management systems where feasible. At our HQ we recycle almost everything, including organic waste, and send approximately 5% of our waste to the landfill. Our goal is to get that figure to zero. Plastic water bottles issued to guests are collected and recycled at the end of tour. The vehicles we use are new, fuel efficient and create minimum carbon waste. We use cabs as often as possible, many of our activities use public transport, and some of our experiences use bikes and feet as primary transport.
Our long term environmental sustainability strategy includes owning premises that deploy photovoltaic panels to charge electric vehicles, a biodigester to provide gas for cooling and heating, and a rainwater tank for toilet flushing. These interventions would take us almost completely off the grid in the summer season, except for sewerage processing. By establishing ourselves as an off-grid model of best practice, we can influence the suppliers we work with.
Our founder and Creative Director lives in the Lynedoch Eco Village outside Stellenbosch, an intentional village seeking to address social and economic imbalances in a racially and economically integrated community, where houses are all built from alternative materials, solar water geysers or renewable energy heating mechanisms are mandatory, and sewerage is all processed on site. Coffeebeans takes much of its own approach from best practice learned through the village, and from the Sustainability Institute, based in the Lynedoch Eco Village.