At Intrepid, we have a clear mandate to never let the words get too far from the work.
What that means is, in a world filled with too much empty rhetoric, when we make a public commitment, we must have a clear plan of action. And we must transparently report on our progress.
Simply put, we must take full accountability for our actions.
We have a long history of prioritising the work over the words. We were one of the first tour operators to build a responsible business department in 1996. We have been carbon neutral for nearly 12 years. And we spent 3 years working towards our first B Corp certification in 2018. In 2020, we became the first and only tour operator in the world with verified science-based climate targets, and we’ve open-sourced a decarbonisation guide and animal welfare toolkit for other travel companies to implement in their own operations.
But with more and more ambiguity and impact-washing in the travel industry, we need to define what true ethical marketing and allyship looks like.
We’re in a time of change
The past 18 months have challenged us to really think about what it means to be a truly sustainable and inclusive tour operator.
We’re talking about things like tackling the climate crisis while acknowledging the critical intersections of climate justice, racial justice and social justice. Acknowledging that allyship for the Black travel community is not just about posting black squares on Instagram. And recognising that the lack of diversity in travel is a result of legacy systems that must be dismantled.
That’s the inspiration behind our Ethical Marketing Policy, which we’ve introduced as part of our first rebrand in over 15 years. Travel has changed, and so have we.
Our new ethical marketing policy
Our ethical marketing policy was developed in partnership and consultation with an amazing group of people who are passionate about building a more inclusive future for the travel industry. Thank you to these incredible experts who have taken the time to show us how we can be better:
- Evita Robinson, Founder of NOMADNESS
- Annette Richmond, Founder of Fat Girls Traveling
- Chantel Loura, LGBTIA+ Activist & Storyteller @voyagingvagabond
- Meera Dattani, Ethical Travel Consultant specialising in decolonisation
- JoAnna Haugen, Tourism Communications Consultant and Founder of Rooted
- Mandy Braddick and James Saunders, of IndigenousX
For every action we take, we will measure and report on it publicly. For example, in our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, we will ensure that at least 50% of the content creators we partner with identify as BIPOC, 10% of our content creators are from the plus-size travel community, 10% are from the LGBTQIA+ community and 10% are Indigenous.
We will also increase our storytelling around Indigenous reconciliation and the lingering impacts of colonisation on Indigenous communities. And we will prepare more reports that transparently show our commitment and progress to decarbonisation, including halving our carbon emissions by 2030.
We will report on our progress in all of these areas in our annual integrated report.
You can read more about our commitments here:
- Commitment: Diversity, equity, inclusion
- Commitment: Openness and transparency
- Commitment: Reject neocolonialism
- Commitment: Sense of belonging
- Commitment: Ethical digital marketing
We know that this is a non-exhaustive list and there is still a lot of work to be done to empower all under-represented communities in travel. Nor is it the complete summation of the work we need to do. Truly being inclusive means change at every level of the business.
This work is ongoing, and our ethical marketing guidelines will evolve — always with the goal to put us on path for a better Intrepid and changing the way we all see the world.
The consultants we spoke with provided us with key recommendations for our People, Purpose and Product teams. These teams are currently undertaking the work to ensure not only is our marketing inclusive, but that our trip experiences, our employee experiences and our collective brand experience is as well.
We won’t always get it right, and we will make mistakes. And we would love your feedback anytime. Send us a message at our new email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. For us, it’s about building a more inclusive future not just through our words but, more importantly, through our work.
We’re not in pursuit of perfection — we are in the pursuit of meaningful progress.
Send us your feedback at email@example.com >