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Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability’

Triple Bottom Line: Evaluating corporate performance by measuring environmental sustainability and social responsibility as well as profits.

Until recently, I had hardly ever heard the term triple bottom line being used. However, I believe that I have always lived this philosophy. I think that it is in all of us to do better and to help out where help is needed. For me it wasn’t a choice, it just was!

I have never been a typical traveler. To me travel meant immersing myself in a destination and truly experiencing the culture of the place that I was visiting. For six years of my life, I traveled throughout Asia teaching English, volunteering and working with local businesses ensuring sustainable growth. The thrill for travel has never left, nor has the felling of making a difference in another’s live.  For this reason, I have chosen to complete my education in tourism. I believe that tourism can have a positive impact to developing areas while opening the eyes of the traveler to the real wonders that the world has to offer.

It is no surprise then, that I would be attracted to a company such as GAP Adventures. GAP Adventures are the “adventure people” and they have been “changing peoples lives” for the past 20 years. They follow a core set of values; this rings through in everything that they do, from their initiatives through Planeterra to their overall travel philosophy.

When I feel genuinely inspired about something, I cannot stop researching it, talking about it and sharing what I have learned. Over the course of this school year, GAP Adventures has assisted me many times without ever realising it. For my Entrepreneurship class, I wrote a case study and gave a presentation on Bruce Poon Tip, founder and CEO of GAP Adventures, which received a 100% grade. Most recently during my triple bottom line final exam, the essay question read:

1. According to Bruce Poon Tip, founder of GAP Adventures, “Done right, tourism can be a powerful transformer for sustainability”.

Is sustainable tourism an oxymoron or a vision for the future? What is your assessment? Why or why not?     (42 Marks)

I have never been happier to answer an exam question in my life because I believe that sustainable travel is more than just a vision for the future, it is the future. I answered this question at length, filling the remainder of pages in the exam booklet. I could recount my answer to this question and share it with you, but I feel that Bruce himself would be able to do it far more justice. Below is a video recorded at TEDx Whistler where he answers just this question:

Any more questions?

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The classroom is a place that we go to learn and to gain inspiration. I have learned about the following 5 businesses during my studies at Royal Roads and they have managed to do just that, Inspire.

GAP Adventures, Bruce Poon Tip

GAP Adventures was founded in 1990 in a garage on the west end of Toronto. Since then Gap has come a long way. Led by their charismatic leader Bruce Poon Tip, GAP has grown to be the world’s largest adventure tour company in the world. They now operate on 7 continents, have over 27 offices worldwide and boost revenues in excess of 120 million annually. However, it’s not only GAP’s overwhelming success that captured my attention, it was their values and culture.

They have built their business model around education, community, sustainability and responsible travel. I have never seen any travel company do as much to give back than GAP Adventures.

TOM’S Shoes, Blake Mycoski

“One for one” For every pair of shoes bought, a pair is donated to a child in a developing nation. All shoes are made in fair-trade factories and from 100% recycled materials. In just 4 short years Blake’s company has grown and over 400,000 shoes have been given to children in need. My hope is that they will continue to grow and to continue to do what what it is that they do, “Use the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good”.

BlackspotAdbusters

This one gets credit for just simply sticking it to the man. They copy popular branded shoes, but make them in fair-trade factories, out of recycled and organic materials.  They then wholesale to independent shops assuring that the money earned stays in the local communities. One other cool fact, Blackspot is an open brand, meaning that it is usable by anybody, for any purpose. They have done this solely to give people more option than just the conglomerate brands.

Modrobes, Steven Sal Debus

I’m not only giving Steve a shout out because he is a personal friend, but because he is doing something that more companies should. Some of you may remember Modrobes and some may not, but if you were of a certain age in the late nineties, chances were you owned a pair. Now, Steve is back. This time with a line of sportswear made from 100% recycled bottles. The garments look great and if not told, you would never even know. They still have the same comfort level that Modrobes have always been known for.  However, Steve isn’t stopping at recycled garments. This spring he will be officially relaunching Modrobes from his new store on Queen St. West, Toronto which will also be constructed from 100% recycled materials.

University of the People, Shai Reshef

Shai Reshef is doing something truly special. He has created the first free online university. He is being backed by the UN and has recently formed a partnership with Yale University. UoPeople is still in it’s early stages, but support for this program has been huge. Hundreds of academics from around the world have offered to volunteer their time and the list of students wanting to enroll grows daily.

“I’ve made enough money. Now, it’s time to give back.” – Shai Reshif

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