In these uncertain times, it is important (now more than ever) to be building up independently-owned and operated businesses. We feel lucky that as a network, our Sustainable Tourism community includes nothing but these kinds of businesses, small, medium, and large!
We asked Campbell River Whale Watching and Adventure Tours, located on the coast of Vancouver Island, to share what they have been doing over the past year to promote sustainability in their business. Read on to find out more about how they have been advocating for change in the whale watching and adventure industry, what they are doing to preserve the wild places in their own backyard, and where they see their sustainability efforts going into the future.
Tell us a bit about your business. What makes you different?
As one of Campbell River’s largest tourism operators, we strive to set an example of responsible and sustainable wildlife viewing among our industry. Throughout all of our operations we strive to:
- Minimize our environmental impact and/or footprint,
- Make ethical and responsible buying decisions,
- Offset what we can not reduce or eliminate.
We are a team of expert mariners, certified naturalists, and lovers of wildlife. We believe that education and showcasing responsible wildlife viewing behaviours are a key component of operating as a sustainable organization and helps shift the mindset of our guests.
Why is sustainability important to you/your business?
Our business is built on viewing the stunning scenery of the North Island, and the incredible wildlife that resides here. We are blessed to be able to spend our time on the water, and on land in the presence of these animals and cannot imagine not doing what we can to protect them. We are in the fortunate position of being able to have direct interaction with upwards of 7,000 people annually. Every day we have the opportunity to impact how they live in their day-to-day lives and their travel habits, and to try and demonstrate the downstream effects of their actions.
Why did you join Sustainable Tourism?
Joining Sustainable Tourism was a great way to communicate with our customers the commitment we have made to be a sustainable operation. It has also allowed us to become more focused on our sustainability actions and to understand what we can be doing better.
What sustainability-related projects, policies or initiatives do you most want travellers to know about?
We are very proud of our partnership with Wilderness International, a non-profit dedicated to protecting old-growth forests. This program has resulted in us becoming Campbell River’s First Carbon Neutral tourism company. It also hits remarkably close to home, as we are protecting Old Growth in the Toba River Valley, which is right in our backyard. Preserving this forest provides critical habitat to many of the animals we view each day.
What are some goals and/or actions you plan to take in the future to further increase the sustainability of your business?
We are always striving to become a more sustainable company. Our current goals we are focusing on are:
- To eliminate single-use plastics by 2021
- To conduct a waste audit this summer and decrease our garbage going to landfill by 5%
- To double the amount of forest we protect annually by 2021
- To measure our carbon footprint on a per-guest basis and offset that by a factor of 2x
Thank you, Campbell River Whale Watching & Adventure Tours, for your dedication to protecting and preserving the wild spaces you live and work in. Eliminating single-use plastics, becoming carbon neutral, and educating your guests on the importance and value of wildlife and wild places are all admirable actions with a measurable positive impact on the environment and your community (both local and global!). Learn more about Campbell River Whale Watching & Adventure Tours on their website here or check them out on Facebook here.