It’s essential to us that we run our traditional business along ethical lines.
The first commercial holidays abroad were in 1855 by Thomas Cook so truly what our company does has a long tradition, however, more than ever being ethical including transformation in our industry is needed. Solutions for climate change, global poverty, wildlife conservation, worker exploitation, child trafficking and sustainable tourism are necessary for the stewardship of the world.
Our company formed with ethics at its core, we understand that every business decision has the power to influence communities and the wider world. At Himalayan Footsteps® we don’t just review our bottom line, we view a triple bottom line; the social returns in communities, contributions we make to the environment, and thirdly profit.
We aren’t happy standing still, change and improvements are constant, the ethics of our business are embedded in our culture;
to practice good stewardship, act ethically, and bring about a transformation in the marketplace that honours communities, customers, suppliers, employees, competitors, the disenfranchised, poor and the needy.
We agree with and follow the guiding principles for Responsible Tourism as identified in the Cape Town Declaration in 2002:
Guiding principles for Economic responsibility
- Assess economic impacts before developing tourism and exercise preference for those forms of development that benefit local communities and minimise negative impacts on local livelihoods (for example through loss of access to resources), recognising that tourism may not always be the most appropriate form of local economic development
- Maximise local economic benefits by increasing linkages and reducing leakages, by ensuring that communities are involved in, and benefit from, tourism. Wherever possible use tourism to assist in poverty reduction by adopting pro-poor strategies
- Develop quality products that reflect, complement, and enhance the destination
- Market tourism in ways which reflect the natural, cultural and social integrity of the destination, and which encourage appropriate forms of tourism
- Adopt equitable business practices, pay and charge fair prices, and build partnerships in ways in which risk is minimised and shared, and recruit and employ staff recognising international labour standards
- Provide appropriate and sufficient support to small, medium and micro enterprises to ensure tourism-related enterprises thrive and are sustainable
Guiding principles for Social responsibility
- Actively involve the local community in planning and decision-making and provide capacity building to make this a reality
- Assess social impacts throughout the life cycle of the operation – including the planning and design phases of projects – in order to minimise negative impacts and maximise positive ones
- Endeavour to make tourism an inclusive social experience and to ensure that there is access for all, in particular, vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and individuals
- Combat the sexual exploitation of human beings, particularly the exploitation of children
- Be sensitive to the host culture, maintaining and encouraging social and cultural diversity
- Endeavour to ensure that tourism contributes to improvements in health and education
Guiding principles for Environmental responsibility
- Assess environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of tourist establishments and operations – including the planning and design phase – and ensure that negative impacts are reduced to the minimum and maximising positive ones
- Use resources sustainably, and reduce waste and over-consumption
- Manage natural diversity sustainably, and where appropriate restore it; and consider the volume and type of tourism that the environment can support, and respect the integrity of vulnerable ecosystems and protected areas
- Promote education and awareness for sustainable development – for all stakeholders
- Raise the capacity of all stakeholders and ensure that best practice is followed, for this purpose consult with environmental and conservation experts
The travel market per se is regulated and there are laws to varying degrees in different countries but still unethical practices exist.
We believe the law has a limited purpose that does have a place in helping, that needs strengthening, but ultimately the law is a moral minimum rather than a ceiling, and that you can’t legislate morality. A code of ethics and human rights policy is not enough, legal is not our litmus test.
- We are called to be good stewards of the earth;
- To take an accommodating approach, to recognise that ethical issues can be morally ambiguous situations;
- To push back unethical practices in our marketplace;
- To work together in partnerships and empower our neighbours;
- To be guided in every decision by holiness, justice and love;
- And to be transparent about our finances.