For more than 40 years, MEC has been guided by our values, and it’s the same with MEC Adventures. We know we have an impact wherever we go, so we take responsibility for how we show up around the world. When planning trips, we carefully consider everything from the amount of foot traffic hiking routes can handle to how we can avoid single-use plastic bottles.
Having a positive impact
Whenever possible, we work with local businesses who support activities, provide accommodation and operate cafes, shops and restaurants. Using the services of local operators and activity guides directly supports people who live within the region, while providing insight into seasonal conditions and local conservation efforts. Their deep understanding of the surroundings can often reveal traces of history and signs of wildlife that visitors would otherwise miss.
As we plan trips, our operating partners help us identify local social enterprises that can benefit from tourism. Many of our itineraries include a visit or an overnight stay that supports a developing micro-enterprise or helps preserve a traditional way of life. The visits create a sometimes profound opportunity for travellers to connect with communities and understand how tourism can have a lasting positive influence.
Some social enterprises in our current trip itineraries:
- Parwa community restaurant – Peru
- Resourceful Ōtautahi walking tour with Rekindle – New Zealand
- Moshi Women’s Cooperative climbing ceremony – Tanzania
- Solheimar Ecovillage and restaurant – Iceland
- Sthree craft shop and café – Sri Lanka
- Batik making class with Laem Sakk Community Tourism – Thailand
- Lunch at Oodles of Noodles hospitality training program for at risk youth – Vietnam
Respect for places and people
On all our trips, respect for surroundings and cultures is a major theme. Our preference is to work with local operators who share the same environmental values as MEC. Leave No Trace is now a familiar term in North America, and the principles are practiced and valued worldwide. Accordingly, we encourage travellers to minimize their use of single-use plastics, to stay on established trails and appreciate their surroundings without collecting rocks and plants or disturbing natural habits. We consider the landscape, no matter what part of the planet we’re on, as an extension of our own big backyard and treat it gently.
As a responsible travel provider, we respect the rights, history and culture of indigenous people. We work with suppliers and partners who recognize vulnerable people and show concern for their well being. This includes protecting child welfare in places we visit. For example, our tours do not visit schools or orphanages and we encourage travellers not to interrupt classroom environments. Our guides help identify businesses for purchasing locally made souvenirs or crafts, produced in living-wage environments without child labour.
We follow practices that ensure that animals we come across – wild or otherwise – are treated humanely. We do not include activities where travellers come into direct contact with wild animals, particularly where animals are touched or fed by visitors or are used as props for photo opportunities.
Undoubtedly, air travel has a significant carbon output, much greater than what we produce day to day. For travellers who are curious about its scope and seek to mitigate their carbon footprint, we offer these resources.
This article from the David Suzuki Foundation explains What are carbon offsets and why are some better than others
Canadians can take action on their air travel-related emissions through a subsidiary of Bullfrog power. Enter a travel route and select a type offset credit for purchase through Less.ca
Individuals can also quantify their greenhouse gas emissions and use carbon credits to offset them at Planetair. Their international partners use the highest quality Gold Standard carbon credits from renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in developing countries. These organizations specialize in greenhouse gas reduction and in developing innovative climate-friendly solutions. Learn more about Planetair solutions