Our nature positive commitment

Nature Positive tourism isn’t just the future of travel, it’s safeguarding the future of our planet. As a responsible tourism operator and as individual travellers, it is critical we do all we can to understand, protect, and preserve the world’s natural habitats, wildlife, and environment for future generations while we explore the world. Protecting key ecosystems, sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity, and climate action is key when it comes to travelling responsibly and contributing to positive change.

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Why care about biodiversity and nature?

Climate change impacts are being felt across biomes and systems - from the polar regions to our freshwater, oceans, grasslands and savannahs, forests. The increase in global average temperatures since pre-industrial times is already damaging the planet’s ecosystems in ways that are harmful to biodiversity, people, and animals. It's one of the main reasons, along with the climate crisis, that 50 per cent of all land-based species are at risk of extinction in the remaining 80 years of this century, unless we change.  

Nature is a critical ally in the fight against climate change and nature loss. Evidence shows that strong, and healthy ecosystems can help to fight climate change as well as build resilience and help us adapt to climate impacts. It is vital we decarbonise our business as well as promote and support these “nature-based solutions”. It is not too late to create positive change, but we must act now.

Why Intrepid committed to Nature Positive

We cannot deliver climate action and carbon drawdown without nature. As well as mitigating climate change, Nature Positive solutions will protect ecosystems and biodiversity, restoration of degraded lands, and support sustainable livelihoods. We must pay careful attention to the areas where Indigenous people live, because the territories that have traditionally been occupied by these Indigenous tribes and peoples encompass only 22 per cent of the world, but they contain 80 per cent of the world’s biodiversity. Maintaining healthy forests, agricultural land, and coastal ecosystems offers a significant opportunity to achieve global climate goals.

We also acknowledge the intersection of climate change and social justice as part of our Climate Action Plan and recognise that nature and First Nations people’s cultures and way of life are closely connected. As such, during 2021, Intrepid signed the Get Nature Positive pledge which states:

  • We agree with Get Nature Positive’s goal to elevate nature within the business agenda.
  • We will seek to continuously enhance our understanding of our nature related business impacts.
  • We will identify opportunities to take Nature Positive action and where possible share case studies and learnings of our journey towards nature positivity.

The key challenges for nature - A deep dive into the tourism sector’s and our impacts on nature

Plastic bottles on a beach


Single-use plastic products can be a threat to the environment and human health and without deliberate effort across the sector, travel and tourism can and will contribute significantly to the issue. The COVID-19 pandemic has had both negative and positive impacts on single-use plastics pollution. The demand for single-use plastics items has increased with safety being a high concern among tourists and take-away services being on the rise. Pollution is an issue that urgently needs to be addressed.

Elephants having a dust bath in Chiang Mai

Overuse and exploitation

The COVID-19 crisis has provided our industry with an opportunity to redefine what tourism looks like once travel resumes and to use this time to forge a new path for a more responsible, sustainable, and ethical future. We must put real action behind our words, and as operators who facilitate experiences all around the world, it is our responsibility to protect the environment and all of its living species. The very least we can do is ensure our practices are not causing harm to the wildlife who call the destinations we visit home.

Construction site in Cambodia

Change in land use

Nature is a critical ally in the fight against climate change and nature loss. Evidence shows that strong, and healthy ecosystems can help to fight climate change as well as build resilience and help us adapt to climate impacts. Solutions as simple as trees can take carbon out of the air, restore biodiversity, create livelihoods, and strengthen communities. Deforestation often offers income in the short-term, but the people bordering these areas soon face the consequences, from increased risk of landslides to a loss of habitat for wildlife.


Invasive species

Invasive non-native species are one of the top five causes of the decline in biodiversity worldwide. The abundance of non-native species like mosquitos is significantly higher in places where tourist activities take place and there is a congregation of people, vehicles, and vessels from geographically diverse areas. When travellers visit destinations like South Africa or the Galapagos Islands to view wildlife, it is important to remember that we are just spectators passing through and should act accordingly.

Coral reef

Climate change

Given its overall footprint of 8 to 11 per cent of total emission, travel and tourism has significant potential to contribute to the global Net Zero journey. Intrepid has been carbon-neutral since 2010, carbon offsets all trips, and has a seven-point commitment plan that supports our Climate Emergency declaration. We are the first global tour operator with verifiable science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative, to limit global warming to 1.5C in the next decade.

Looking to the future

In 2022, Intrepid will progress with its science-based target by reviewing its itineraries to identify opportunities for further Nature Positive tourism activities such as including electric vehicle use on trips. Offices will continue to be moved onto renewable energy. The business will also recalculate emissions factors and look to launch carbon labels for trips, to make it easier for customers to understand the impact of their travel. There will be a focus on engaging with suppliers and encouraging them to sign and commit to the Glasgow Declaration. Finally, in recognising that carbon reduction is only one aspect of climate change, there will be greater focus on biodiversity and nature and embedding this into our trips.

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