Sustainability Policy

Name of Company: Keralavoyages India Pvt Ltd

Date of approval: 01 June 2020

Our company wants to contribute in a positive way to its environment. Therefore we are committed to promoting sustainability. Concern for the environment and promoting a broader sustainability agenda are integral to our company’s professional activities, operations and management.

We aim to contribute to economic, environmental and social progress with a view to achieving sustainable development, to help our clients achieve responsible trips and to ensure all associated with our activities are benefitted. Therefore, we follow and promote good sustainability practice, to reduce the environmental impacts of all our activities and to help our clients and partners to do the same.

Our Sustainability Policy is based upon the following principles: 

  • To comply with, and exceed where practicable, all applicable national legislation, regulations and codes of practice.

  • To integrate sustainability considerations into all our business decisions.

  • To ensure that all staff are fully aware of our Sustainability Policy and are committed to implementing and improving it.

  • To minimize the impact of all our office and travel operation activities.

  • To make clients and suppliers aware of our sustainability commitments, and encourage them to adopt sound sustainable management practices.

  • To review, annually report, and to continually strive to improve our sustainability performance.

  • To ensure accountability and transparency in our sustainability performance.

 

This Sustainability Policy identifies 4 core values and 5 areas of sustainable practices throughout our business operations.

 

Keralavoyages India Pvt Ltd

Date of approval: June 2020

 

 

Our company is committed to sustainable purchasing.

We recognize that the types of products and services we buy each have inherent social, human health, environmental and economic impacts. Our company therefore endeavours to make procurement decisions that embody the company’s commitment to sustainability. Responsible procurement will be given systematic consideration alongside factors such as price and quality. We encourage our suppliers to work with us and to improve continuously with respect to the Policy.

Wherever possible, all staff will pursue the following goals and adhere to the specified principles when purchasing products, material and services.

Scope

This policy will be part of the Sustainability Policy. The policy is applicable to the procurement activities conducted by all employees of our company.

This policy is effective immediately after approval by Managing Director and circulation to staff. The policy will be formally reviewed every 2 years to ensure its relevancy. The Managing Director or an officer delegated with such authority must approve any deviations to this policy.

Sustainable Purchasing Principles

Our Sustainable Procurement Policy has the following core principles:

  1. Minimal and bulk purchasing

Purchasing shall only be made once it has been determined that the product or service is necessary. Purchase decisions shall be made in the context of the waste hierarchy to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle. Regularly used products are purchased in bulk in order to reduce the amount of packaging materials.

    2.Fair products

We will prefer locally produced, organic and where possible fair-trade products. We will ensure that the producer follows fair business practices, including transparency and adherence to law, human rights and economic/social equity, and environmental and animal protection. Fair Trade labeling may help identify such products. Whenever possible, suppliers should be asked to disclose ethical information regarding production and labor outsourcing.

    3.Sustainable option

When buying new equipment (computers, printers, vehicles and the like) our company gives preference to newer, low energy models based on highest local available standards.

General Sustainability Considerations

The following considerations should also be made in the procurement of all products and services:

 

Use of resources

Running costs are often overlooked when purchasing. This is a short-term view as often the running costs are the most expensive part of the life cycle. Products that are energy efficient should be favored. Care should also be taken to ensure that products using water are efficient and that minimums of raw materials are used.

Biodegradability

Consideration should be given when purchasing products as to whether these products can be biodegraded. If not, consideration should be given to an alternative product.

Locality

Think about the transportation of the product. Sourcing from local suppliers means local investment and economic sustainability.

Waste management

Ensure that the product purchased does not have any "hidden" costs associated with its disposal.

Minimum toxicity

Purchase material and products that are free of toxic or polluting materials and chemicals. Purchase products and material that will not release toxic substances that can affect human health and pollute water, land or air at any stage of the lifecycle.

Minimum habitat destruction

Purchase paper and wood products obtained from recycled, plantation, salvages or renewable resources. Purchase green cleaning products that don’t result in discharges of toxic chemicals to waterways

Maximum water efficiency

Purchase products that conserve water or use water in an efficient way.

Minimum greenhouse gas emissions

Our company will purchase energy efficient products and materials by checking that the energy rating and efficiency features are the best available for the cost over the lifetime of the product. Purchase renewable energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. Purchase goods that have not been transported long distances.

Minimum soil degradation

Purchase products, material and services that will not degrade or pollute the soils, or result in erosion through their use.

 

Packaging

Ensure that the minimum packaging is used and that any that is used is reused, or if that is impossible, recycled by the distributor or manufacturer.

Keralavoyages India Pvt Ltd

Date of approval: June 2020

 

 

Our company is committed to sustainable transportation.

We recognize that safe and sustainable transportation contributes to the overall experience of our clients and the impact of their journey to our country. Our company therefore endeavors to encourage our clients to consider the most sustainable transport available for their travel route. We encourage our suppliers to work with us and to improve continuously with respect to the Policy.

Wherever possible, all staff will pursue the following goals and adhere to the specified principles when purchasing products, material and services.

Scope

This policy will be part of the Sustainability Policy. The policy is applicable to the transportation activities conducted by our company and our suppliers.

This policy is effective immediately after approval by Managing Director and circulation to staff. The policy will be formally reviewed every 2 years to ensure its relevancy. The Managing Director or an officer delegated with such authority must approve any deviations to this policy.

Sustainable Transportation Principles

Our sustainable transportation policy has the following core principles:

  1. Efficient and safe

Considering comfort, efficiency and pricing our company gives preference to mass transportation/public transportation over private/single transportation.  At the same time, we prefer the safest and most comfortable option (e.g. tourist bus companies over local bus companies).

   2. Fair mobility

All vehicles should comply with the rules and regulations imposed by the government of India. Vehicles are regularly and properly maintained and drivers are well taken care of under good labor conditions (minimum wage, reasonable working times, proper breaks, etc.).

   3. Minimizes effect on the environment and society

The transportation supplier places high priority on sustainable practices, aiming at minimizing its effect on the surrounding environment and society.

 

General Sustainability Considerations

The following considerations should be made in the operation of each of these specific transportation services:

Public busses

  • When selecting public busses, we give preference to tourist busses over general busses, as these follow stricter safety rules.

  • Where possible, our company will participate in any advisory forum for the enhancement of the public bus system.

 

Own Vehicles

  • Where private transportation is requested by the client, we utilize our newest and most energy friendly cars.

  • All vehicles should hold the green sticker.

  • First aid kit and waste collection bag on board.

  • The right vehicle for the group size.

 

Vehicles from Third Party

  • All vehicles should hold the green sticker.

  • Vehicles should be regularly and properly maintained.

  • First aid kit and waste collection bag on board.

  • We will request the right vehicle for the group size.

 

Drivers

  • They are well informed about our sustainable transportation guidelines (with emphasis on “clean and safe”) and understand and follow our Code of Conduct for Drivers.

  • Should be physically and mentally fit to ensure safe driving.

  • Are well informed on health and safety regulations and traffic rules.

  • Have quality driving and communication skills.

 

Flights

  • Because of the bad condition of the roads and long time that overland journeys take, we sometimes use flights for longer distances within the country, as it saves a lot of time. 

 

 

Code of Conduct for Drivers

All drivers who operate for Keralavoyages shall understand and follow these codes of conduct. 

 

Safe driving

  • Check your vehicle prior to the journey to ensure that your vehicle is within safe operating conditions. Checks should include

    • Proper inflation of tires;

    • Clean windows;

    • Mirrors properly adjusted;

    • Brakes, lights, windscreen wipers, and wash jets are in working order.

  • Drive within the speed limit at all times. You should drive at speeds that are safe for the conditions, recognising that, in some circumstances (such as before and in curves, on damaged or unpaved top layer, in rain or fog) this may be well below the posted speed limit.

  • Wear a seat belt at all times, and ensure passengers do the same.

  • Look as far ahead as possible and anticipate what other traffic is going to do. Avoid unnecessary braking and fast acceleration.

  • Drive courteously by letting other vehicles merge and pass where appropriate. Be patient with other drivers’ mistakes and misbehavior. Also, be extra careful around pedestrians and cyclists, allowing them sufficient space and time to move about.

  • When you know you will have to stop soon, release the accelerator, and roll out in free gear.

  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol, medications or other drugs that are likely to affect your alertness or driving performance. Do not drive if you are unfit to do so.

  • Plan realistic driving schedule and stop for appropriate breaks.

  • Mobile phones will not be answered while driving, unless hands-fee option is available.

  • When leaving the vehicle, properly lock it and ensure that any personal belongings of our guests are kept safe.

 

Energy efficiency

  • Switch to a higher gear quickly (when you drive 80 km/h, you should drive in 5th gear | when driving 50 km/h, in 4th gear)

  • Drive as much as possible at a uniform speed at a high gear. This decreases fuel consumption considerably.

  • Turn on the engine just before leaving only. If you want to cool the vehicle for the passengers, turn on the engine only five minutes before the guests arrive.

  • Switch off the engine when you have to wait. (Already for a stop of 20 seconds, it makes sense to switch off the engine.)

  • When guests are on an excursion, switch off air conditioning and engine. Let the tour guide call you when they are about to return, and turn back on the engine only five minutes before the guests arrive.

 

Sustainable management

  • Keep your vehicle clean and suitable for our clients at all times. This includes keeping your vehicle smoke-free.

  • Be punctual and dress appropriately.

  • Where necessary assist passengers into and out of the vehicle.

  • Ensure there is a waste bag/bin on board of the vehicle and point this out to clients prior to departure. Empty this waste regularly, at least once a day.

  • Listen carefully to specific requests from the clients and adjust your driving style accordingly.

 

Society

  • Limit the use of the vehicle’s horn to only the necessary situations.

  • Take whatever additional action is necessary to avoid disturbance to residents of the neighborhoods you pass through.

Keralavoyages India Pvt Ltd

Date of approval: June 2020

Our company is committed to ensuring excursions are organized sustainably.

One of the most visible aspects of our company’s sustainability to our clients can be found in the arrangement of excursions. Hence, our company takes care of developing and executing excursions in a fully sustainable manner. We will give strong preference to destinations that follow sustainable practices throughout all aspects of their tourism offer and see it as our role to guide destinations towards this.

Wherever possible, all staff will pursue the following goals and adhere to the specified principles when involved in organizing excursions.

Scope

This policy will be part of the Sustainability Policy. The policy is applicable to the excursion activities conducted by our company and all employees will follow these guidelines disclosed in this document.

This policy is effective immediately after approval by Managing Director and circulation to staff. The policy will be formally reviewed every 2 years to ensure its relevancy. The Managing Director or an officer delegated with such authority must approve any deviations to this policy.

Sustainable Excursion Principles

Our sustainable approach to sensitive places and cultures is primarily based on following principles:

  1. Positive excursions

Our company will ensure excursions take place in the most positive way possible and to the best benefit of local people and cultural and natural heritage.  We will avoid excursions that harm humans, animals, plants, natural resources (e.g. water/energy), or which are socially/culturally unacceptable.

   2. Fair excursions

The excursion activities of our company are in compliance with legally based spatial planning, protected area and heritage regulations and destination management strategies of local, regional and national authorities. The excursions also fully respect human rights and child protection.

    3. Human-biodiversity connect

In applying a sustainable development perspective we should recognize the close links and interdependence of biological diversity and local cultures within the socio-ecological systems of many protected and culturally important places. This means any activity aiming to achieve sustainable development will necessarily have to take into consideration the interrelationship of biological diversity with the local cultural context.

General Sustainability Considerations

Keralavoyages considers the following important general elements of sustainability in excursions:

  • Where available, preference is given to excursions that are operated on the basis of acknowledged and controlled sustainability standards.

  • We encourage our staff to take an active interest in sustainable tourism and we do guide them accordingly so they can put it in practice. 

Sensitivity to cultural heritage

  • In sensitive cultural sites (e.g. indigenous villages), heritage sites or ecologically sensitive destinations, skilled and certified guides will guide our guests.

  • The company intends to include into packages and promote to clients excursions and activities that directly involve and support local communities. For example by purchasing services or goods, traditional crafts and local (food) production methods, and visiting social projects.

  • Our company supports initiatives that improve the relationships between accommodations and local producers, among which the production and distribution of local food products and souvenirs etc. (e.g. initiatives to improve quality level, logistics, transport)

Sensitivity to natural heritage

  • The company intends to include into packages or promote to clients, excursions and activities that support local environment and biodiversity (e.g. visiting protected areas, environmental protection projects).

  • Our company will ensure operation of excursions within national and local sustainability standards. All the national parks and conservation areas in India are managed with a controlled sustainability standard by the respective regional forest authorities and wildlife wardens. We ensure that our clients are aware of and comply with relevant rules and regulations.

  • Any disturbance of natural ecosystems is minimized, rehabilitated, and there is a compensatory contribution to conservation management.

  • Our company supports environmental and biodiversity protection by paying the permit / entrance fee to national parks and conservation areas. Where possible, we will provide other means of support.

Sensitivity to animals

  • Our company does not offer excursions and attractions in which captive wildlife is held, except for properly regulated activities in compliance with local, national and international law. In case of living specimens of protected and wildlife species these are only kept by those authorized and suitably equipped to house and care for them humanely.

  • Excursions that include interactions with wildlife comply with relevant (e.g. Travelife) codes of conduct. Taking into account cumulative impacts, they do not lead to any adverse effects on the viability and behavior of populations in the wild.

  • Wildlife species are not harvested, consumed, displayed, sold, or traded, except as part of a regulated activity that ensures that their utilization is sustainable and in compliance with local, national and international law.

 

Preference for local tour leaders

  • Key tour leaders, local representatives and guides, contracted by the company, are appropriately qualified and are trained regularly.

  • Tour leaders, local representatives and guides are informed on the relevant aspects of the companies´ sustainability policy and are expected to comply with it.

  • We acknowledge local tour leaders for their destination knowledge and we encourage them to enhance this by offering them guidance and training on sustainability and the destination.

  • Tour leaders, local representatives and guides inform clients on relevant sustainability matters in the destination (e.g. protection of flora, fauna, and cultural heritage, resource use), social norms and values (e.g. tips, dressing code and photography) and human rights (e.g. sexual exploitation).

Sustainable Trekking/Hiking Excursions

One of the key excursion types in India, trekking takes place in our vulnerable mountain ecosystem and it is our duty to help conserve this. Hence, for trekking excursions, our company has put in place some specific sustainability practices.

As much as possible, we follow the “Leave No Trace” principles:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare.

  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.

  3. Dispose of waste properly.

  4. Leave what you find.

  5. Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).

  6. Respect wildlife.

  7. Be considerate of other visitors.

Beyond these, we follow these practices to ensure our clients have a safe and sustainable trekking experience:

  • Trained guides who can help our clients follow these sustainability practices.

  • We ensure a proper waste management on our trek/hike

  • Where possible, we encourage our clients to use local toilets.

  • Max load of porters is in accordance with national regulations (15 kg for female porters, 20 kg for male porters)

  • Trekking staff is provided with appropriate clothing and other necessary equipment (e.g. proper walking boots, sunglasses, gloves, hats, etc.)

  • Trekking staff is provided with appropriate lodging and food. Access to tents where necessary.

Sustainability through a long-term perspective

We aim to achieve sustainability across all excursions and destinations in India through a long-term perspective. In our effort:

  • We communicate our sustainability objectives and requirements to our excursion providers, equipment providers and destination representatives.

  • Where contracts with suppliers are in place, basic sustainability clause(s) are included (e.g. child labor, anti-corruption and bribery, waste management and protection of biodiversity).

  • Providers for sensitive excursions or activities, which are integrated into packages or offered through local partners, receive and implement documented guidelines and/or codes of conduct in order to minimize negative visitor impact and maximize enjoyment. The guidelines are developed with the collaboration and consent of relevant NGO's and the affected community.

Sustainable Destinations

Our company gives preference to destinations, which clearly pursue sustainability elements. In India, some of the mass tourism destinations are becoming better at this (e.g. In Periyar, the local DMO , TDPC  has initiatives on recycling of plastic and all member business houses are strictly advised not to use single use plastic.)

Our company follows these practices when selecting new destinations:

  • In selecting new destinations the accessibility through more sustainable means of transport is considered.

  • Sustainability aspects in destinations are considered in the selection process of new destinations (e.g. traffic-free areas, sustainable city planning, proper waste management infrastructure and community participation). Possibly alternative non-mainstream destinations are offered.

  • Destinations in which tourism leads to structural negative local effects in terms of biodiversity, waste; sanitation; human rights and healthcare, water, energy and food availability are not selected (unless the company's involvement results in clear counter balancing effects).

 

 

Sensitive Excursions Checklist

Our company has made an inventory of environmentally or culturally sensitive excursions, which are offered across India. The below table indicates which sensitive excursion types we offer, and if their organization involves third party.

In our execution of these excursions we are well aware of our behavior and aim to do so as sustainably as possible and with utmost care for the site.

 

 

 

Do’s and don’t for Tourists

We encourage all tourists to respect Indian culture and nature and we recommend the following practices:

  • Always travel through a professional Tour Operator

  • Demand for detailed travel itinerary with clear inclusions

  • Travel with a valid visa for the period you are in India

  • Communicate with your Local Tour Operator for any special assistance or attention

  • Avail Mobile connections for tourists, if needed, at arrival airports. You can’t get a sim activated if you buy outside the Arrival Airport

  • Change your currencies at authorized centers only

  • If you wish to withdraw money from ATM machines, using an International Debit/Credit Card, please opt for an ATM in a major city attached to a bank branch 

  • Approach Local Police or Tourist Police for any assistance in time of need

  • If you opt to stay overnight on a Houseboat, please insist for a licensed Houseboat Operator

  • Always take care of your personal belongings and valuables

  • Ask your driver to lock the car when you keep your valuables inside the car and go out for a meal or snack

  • Ensure that you have a local Tour Operator who is an accredited agency

  • Use only licensed guides for sightseeing

  • While doing adventure tours like trekking etc. go with an expert

  • Feel free to ask for any kind of clarifications to your agent before you land in India

  • Understand the local culture regarding dressing etc. especially during visits to religious centers.

  • Take the advice of your guide/driver regarding the daily visits where you may have to remove your shoes, follow a particular dress pattern etc.

  • Always carry your departure flight ticket copy in print or on mobile for entering any airports in India.

Sustainable Procurement Policy

Sustainable Transportation Policy

Sustainable Excursion Policy

 
 
 
 

Sustainable Accommodation Policy

Keralavoyages India Pvt Ltd

Date of approval: June 2020

 

 

Our company is committed to promoting sustainable accommodation.

Sustainability of an accommodation establishment is of key importance, as it enables our company to extend sustainability practice throughout a core element in our tours / supply chain. In most cases we do not select the accommodation for our clients. In such case, it is our policy to recommend our clients the most sustainable accommodation options within their budget range. When we do have a chance to select the accommodation, we will give strong preference to establishments that follow sustainable practices throughout all aspects of their operation.

 

Scope

This policy will be part of the Sustainability Policy. The policy is applicable to the selection of accommodation suppliers that our company collaborates with.

This policy is effective immediately after approval by Managing Director and circulation to staff. The policy will be formally reviewed every 2 years to ensure its relevancy. The Managing Director or an officer delegated with such authority must approve any deviations to this policy.

 

Sustainable Accommodation Principles

In our effort of selecting the most sustainable accommodation providers available, we prefer establishments who follow these core principles:

  1. The right comfort for the right price

The establishment is hygienic, sanitary and safe and is able to offer a good comfort and service to the expectation of our clients. Sustainable accommodation practices can be found in all price ranges; hence we aim to identify the most sustainable options available within the budget of our clients.

    2.Fair business

The establishment follows fair business practices, including transparency and adherence to law, human rights and economic/social equity, and environmental and animal protection.

    3.Minimizes impact on the environment and society

The establishment places high priority on sustainable practices, aiming at minimizing its effect on the surrounding environment and society.

General Sustainability Considerations

Internationally certified accommodation currently does not exist in India, however there are establishments that are known for their good practices. Sustainable practices can be found in all budget ranges. Hence our company mainly looks at their practices to identify the more responsible suppliers.  

Evaluations of the accommodation by our company can be made in several ways:

  • Site visit by our company’s sustainability coordinator / manager

  • Observations from our guide

  • Client feedback form

The following considerations will be made in the evaluation of accommodation establishments and will inform our company preference:

Human care

We aim to work with establishments with sound care for their human resources, which is of key importance to the hospitality sector. Hence, we assess if the establishment provides good labor conditions for their staff (minimum wage, reasonable working times, proper lunch hours, etc.).

No plastic policy

The accommodation minimizes the use of plastic and as a common practice does not offer plastic water bottles to its guests. Instead the establishment makes available places where guests can re-fill jugs that are provided in the room and their own bottles.

Waste management

We verify that the accommodation separates at least organic waste for composting and plastic for recycling. Establishments that are able to go beyond these basic waste management practices will be highly preferred.

 

Energy efficiency

The establishment follows energy efficiency practices, such as energy saving light bulbs, and energy efficient equipment. The accommodation provider advises their guests (e.g. through signs in the rooms and hallways) to switch off lights and electric appliances when not in use or has put in place an overall switch off plan (automated system).

 

Water efficiency

The accommodation efficiently uses water. Places with a water saving system on their ‘western’ toilet and shower will be preferred over other. Places that make use of a bucket flush for the toilet and/or bucket shower also have a clear control over the amount used.

Child protection

The establishment ensures that the rights of children are respected and safeguarded. If the supplier employs children below the age of 14, the business should ensure that there are special working conditions put in place to safeguard them (for example part-time or on internship basis).

Local supplies

Accommodations are stimulated to purchase and use local food products, which are produced based on fair trade and sustainability principles.

 

Biodiversity care

The accommodation limits their negative effect on local and global biodiversity wherever feasible (e.g. do not offer red listed species on the menu).

Authentic charm

The accommodation building (exterior and/or interior) incorporates elements of local art, architecture, or cultural heritage.

Community value

The establishment respects the intellectual property rights of local communities and contributes to the local community in whichever way they can (e.g. sponsoring of local events, engaging local artists for performance in their establishments for guests, donation to local heritage sites).

Stimulating enhanced sustainable practice

Our company follows a long-term strategy to improve the sustainability of regular accommodation suppliers. Upon request or self-initiative, we support collaborative initiatives with other tour operators and/or stakeholders to promote sustainability among accommodations in our destinations.

When possible, we talk to the accommodation owner / manager about their current practices and what they could do to follow more sustainable practices (e.g. by visit from our manager or through our guides).

In addition, we may share best practice standards and guidance to our accommodation suppliers, including:

  • Information about hotel certification, such as Travelife for Hotels

  • Self-evaluation tools

  • Training manuals

Sanctions

If it is revealed that an accommodation supplier acts on unsustainable practices, our company will give them a warning. If that supplier does not amend its practice, our company will end any form of collaboration (informal and contractual) and will blacklist that company from any further association.

 

Communication to accommodation providers

Our company communicates with accommodation establishments in various ways.

 

Email

Our most common communication is via email and phone. Particularly when sending emails, we are able to communicate on some sustainability aspects.

Voucher

Once our booking is made, we have adopted a policy of pre payment before guest check in at  the accommodation units. For other suppliers and activity providers, we guarantee with a voucher to claim their payment. With our regular suppliers we have agreed to send this voucher via email, to avoid paper waste.

Contract

We sign contracts with accommodation suppliers that we work with on a regular basis and with sufficient volume of clients. These contracts include an overview of our codes of conduct and sanctions, which the suppliers read and sign upon agreement.

In-person visit

When we have the opportunity, we visit the accommodation in person and talk to them about how they could improve on their services and become more sustainable. In many instances it is our guides who deliver these messages.

 

What we communicate

Our company promotes as a mandatory policy:

  • Child labour Strategy

  • Anti-corruption / bribery

  • Waste management

  • Protection of biodiversity

Incentives

Our company will give preference to working with those accommodation establishments who are able to operate in a sustainable manner, taking responsibility for their impact on environment and society. Where we have enough volume, we may offer additional benefits, such as marketing of the hotel on our website or special contract conditions.

All rights reserved to Kerala Voyages India Pvt. Ltd.