The World’s Largest Adventure Travel Company Just Earned B Corp Status

Intrepid Group has been 100 percent carbon neutral since 2010. Here’s why its new B Corp status matters, too.

The World’s Largest Adventure Travel Company Just Earned B Corp Status

An Intrepid Travel tour of Machu Picchu

Courtesy of Intrepid Group

Intrepid Group, the world’s largest adventure travel company, just announced that it’s earned B Corp status after a three-year-long accreditation process. It joins the likes of other socially and environmentally responsible companies, such as Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s.

Intrepid Group, which consists of four tour operator brands including Intrepid Travel, has been 100 percent carbon neutral since 2010. The B Corporation certification is one more step in proving that it’s “committed to being a business that benefits people and the planet,” said James Thornton, Intrepid Group CEO, in a statement.

Wadi Rum is truly otherworldly. Is Jordan on your bucket list? #BeIntrepid A post shared by Intrepid Travel (@intrepidtravel) on Jul 27, 2018 at 3:13pm PDT

To earn B Corp status, a company must “meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose,” according to the B Corp website. The extensive accreditation process legally requires each business to consider the impact its decisions have on the environment, its workers, community, customers, and suppliers.

Intrepid, which was founded in 1989 and currently offers small group trips to more than 120 countries, recently hired Leigh Barnes as its first chief purpose officer to figure out how to reduce the company’s carbon footprint beyond purchasing carbon offsets, for starters.

“We want to be a leader from an environmental standpoint,” Barnes told Fast Company. “It makes sense from a business perspective, too, because if there’s no environment, there’s no travel industry.”

Intrepid banned elephant rides from its itineraries years ago after animal rights activists raised concerns about the practice. Now the company is also attempting to fight the effects of overtourism with new itineraries to less-visited places and by scheduling trips to popular destinations in the off-season.

Intrepid also needed to make some major internal changes to qualify for B Corp status, including providing paternity and maternity pay to its employees who become parents and releasing an annual transparency report. It has also committed to making its senior leadership team 50/50 men and women, as well as making it a goal to double the number of female tour leaders by 2020.

In Egypt, Intrepid also started to sign business contracts directly with women homestay owners and meal suppliers this year, where previously only men signed the documents. While Intrepid believes this is a small start, it hopes these changes ultimately help create positive change in communities around the world.

With the addition of Intrepid Group, there are now 2,595 Certified B Corporations in over 60 countries and 150 industries, including other travel outfitters like Bodhi Surf + Yoga camp in Bahia Ballena, Costa Rica, and Global Cycling Adventures, a New Zealand–based company that organizes bicycle trips around the world.

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Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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