Adventure South is not a large company. Rather, we are a group of committed individuals who love our country. Over the years our business has grown and we have become aware of the impact we make on the environment in which we live and work. To ensure that our company does not become guilty of changing the things we hold dear, Adventure South has embarked on a broad based environmental initiative to ensure that we play our role as a responsible world citizen.
As such, part of the fee that you ( our clients ) pay, does contribute directly to our efforts to retain our environment in the way in which we want to share with you. Our decision has been to act both directly on the negative impacts we create through improved operational practices and in partnership with some key governmental agencies in support of their environmental programs. We invite you to review our program and share this with us when you book for that holiday of a life time.
Adventure South operates in some of the world’s most beautiful places sharing with visitors from New Zealand and overseas. Much of the attraction for these visitors is to experience the unspoiled and uncrowded landscapes. It is our challenge to ensure that in this sharing of the experience, we will minimise where possible, the impact of our business.
Through the introduction of an Environmental Plan, with valuable input from the staff of the company, we will seek to minimise or eliminate the impact our business has on the environment we live and work in. In doing so we will communicate our company philosophy to our staff, our clients and our partners so that they can also be aware of the impact we make in the course of our business. By being aware we can thus start the education process that will work to minimise this impact.
We recognise the social and cultural interface we have with the community and our goal will be to provide a positive face to the interaction we have with them. Through our interpretation values we will seek to understand and explain the historical and cultural issues that have formed the status quo we deal with today. By adding value to our interaction with host communities we seek to provide real benefits to them and improve the relationships between them and the visitor industry.
Behind the words & pretty pictures, what does it all mean?
1. Minimising & Recycling waste
We are seeking to reduce waste generated by our company following a review of our outputs and the implementation of a recycling program. Something you will see on our tours - rubbish, recycling and compost bins. We also recycle scrap paper in-house, and recycle printer cartridges. We only purchase office paper/toilet paper created from sustainable sources and our brochure partnership participation utilizes only paper approved by WWF Australia Forest & Trade.
2. Ecosystem Conservation
Each of our tours that take in walks etc on Department of Conservation (DOC) land pay a per person fee to DOC. Part of this fees goes to maintaining our national parks, protecting our waterways and wildlife.
3. Energy Efficiency
We continue to monitor and measure vehicle fuel consumption, undertake driver education and review vehicle maintenance programs to ensure maximum fuel efficiency. At the end of each trip a fuel consumption breakdown is created. This is collated over the season. We are then able to review which vehicles are using too much fuel and which guides are providing model driver behaviour to feature. This monitoring of fuel consumption forms a major component of our vehicle replacement policy.
4. Community Support
Our trips interact with a number of communities and some of these provide the infrastructure that makes our client experience a comfortable one. On the Otago Rail Trail we recognize this and financially support the community. At Oturehua, the local community clean and service the toilets, as well as provide toilet paper. From a casual conversation with locals we came to understand their support and have undertaken to provide the cash for the $400 of toilet paper that is used. To the Otago Rail Trail Trust we pay a voluntary $5/day per rider we put onto the trail outside of our DoC concession obligation. This is to recognize the business opportunity that the trail provides for us to use. This money goes to the Trust which is used for annual Repairs and Maintenance.
5. DoC Endangered Species support
As part of our 20th birthday celebrations, Adventure South has announced a new partnership with the DoC Black Stilt Recovery proggramme based out of Twizel. These wading birds are amongst the most threatened bird in NZ and our contribution has been to core funding of $20,000 over the next five years. In addition to core funding, our donation will grow as patronage on the Alps to Ocean cycleway increases and our per person commitment grows.
This is an independent quality audit process conducted by a joint venture organisation representing the New Zealand Tourism Board. The audit is very comprehensive and expensive (which may explain why some companies choose not to engage in it). The audit examines virtually every aspect of our company's operation - from safety plans to employment, financial planning to vehicle maintenance. The process is unique to New Zealand and the envy of most countries' national tourism organisations. Adventure South has engaged in this audit process since its inception some four years ago. Our lowest score has been 88%.
In Adventure South has been awarded Qualmark Enviro-Gold, the highest of the three certification levels! So called Qualmark Green, newly introduced by Qualmark New Zealand, now assesses all Qualmark licensed operators on environmental management as a part of annual assessment program. With the rating system tourists are now able to easily identify the operators who have their responsible tourism policy & initiatives in place. All our unique environmental programs; fuel efficiency monitoring & management, recycling program, cycling to work scheme, and so forth, contributed to receive the recognition.
Established by Landcare Research, the carboNZero program assists companies to identify, minimise and offset their carbon footprint. The process involves measuring your carbon footprint so you can understand what your impact is on the global climate. The next step and key focus of the program is to then manage and reduce your greenhouse and gas emissions at source through top management commitment, setting targets and reporting on emissions reduction performance. You then mitigate (offset) your remaining unavoidable emission by purchasing/cancelling verified carbon credits from credible New Zealand projects. These steps are independently verified by an external auditor before you can make a credible and robust carbon neutral claim using the internationally recognised carboNZero certification mark.
Adventure South was the first activity based tourism operator to have completed carboNZero certification for the period 1/7/2006 - 30/6/2007. We have chosen not to renew our certification with the carboNZero program this season but rather to commit to the Qualmark green accreditation program, which we believe is inclusive of other areas like waste management, conservation and community involvement.
Carbon Offset EBEX21
In 2001 Adventure South became the first NZ tour company to subscribe to the Carbon Offset EBEX21. Developed by Landcare Research in conjunction with the Queen Elizabeth II Trust, this program identifies the fuel usage and converts this to a carbon emission value. An equivalent land value is identified for the area of land required to allow regeneration of vegetation to act as a ‘carbon soak’. Adventure South paid a sum on money to the QEII Trust to allow them to support landowners seeking finance to fence off and retire land to allow natural regeneration. Our New Zealand government subscribes to the Kyoto Protocol which is aimed at reducing carbon emissions worldwide.
Also the first tour company to work with Carbon Offset EBEX21, we worked with them for a number of years. Because of our long standing relationship with Qualmark we then decided just to commit to the Qualmark Green program as we develop and strengthen our environmental program.
Green Globe 21
In 2003 Adventure South became the first New Zealand company to complete the three stage certification of Australian based Green Globe. This process required us to examine our processes and environmental outputs. Having achieved this milestone our company has integrated the learning’s into our operational policies.
Climate Neutral Network (CNNet)
Adventure South supports The climate neutral network (CNNet), an initiative of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to assist in catalyzing an international response to global warming at various levels of society.
Your trip payment makes a very positive contribution to retaining the beauty of the landscapes you have come so far to experience.