Intrepid Travel has joined forces with the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Hotel Sustainability Basics Program to become the first global travel company to extend the internationally-recognized sustainability verification program to its suppliers.
The program is designed to serve as the first step for hotels beginning their journey toward more sustainable operations, regardless of their size or resource.
Under the program, hotels undergo a three-year evaluation process, measuring and benchmarking their improvements on 12 criteria in the areas of people, planet and efficiency. Hotels must achieve at least eight of the criteria after the first year, with at least one benchmark from each of the three focus areas.
After three years of improvement, hotels can move on to the Global Sustainability Tourism Council (GSTC) certification, the global standard for sustainability in tourism, or follow other improvement journeys, such as the Sustainability Hospitality Alliance’s Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality.
For participating hotels, the improvements will appeal to the increasingly climate-conscious travel community.
For Intrepid, these changes benefit the performance of its overall supply chain, strengthening operational practices and enhancing the credibility and reputation of local businesses, the company says.
As part of its science-based carbon reduction targets, Intrepid is committed to addressing Scope 3 emissions across its global supply chain.
Intrepid will initially launch a trial with a pool of its accommodation suppliers in Nepal and Bhutan in January 2024, with plans to expand the program to other hotels and lodges across its global supply chain.
"Our suppliers have told us that they want to improve their practices, but as small and medium-sized businesses, they often don’t know where to start, or don’t have the resources,” said Sara King, GM of Purpose for Intrepid Travel. “By offering our hotel suppliers access to this internationally recognized program, we can make focused improvements that will support them, and the overall impact of our business.”
“Our research shows that most business owners are aware of their responsibility to the environment but need a step-by-step guide that is scientifically verifiable,” added Chris Imbsen, WTTC’s director of sustainability. "We are incredibly proud that Intrepid has joined the Hotel Sustainability Basics initiative, demonstrating their seriousness to becoming a more sustainable organization.”
The initiative is the latest in a series of efforts by Intrepid to work closely with its suppliers across social and environmental improvements.
In June, the company established the industry’s first-ever consortium aimed at reducing the risks of modern slavery in travel and tourism’s supply chains.