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Sustainability Policy

At WhereItAllBegan.co.za, we are committed to operating our travel company in a responsible and sustainable manner that minimizes negative social, cultural, economic, and environmental impacts. We recognize our responsibility to contribute to the well-being of the communities and environments in which we operate. Therefore, we have developed the following sustainability policy to guide our actions and decisions:

1. Environmental Sustainability:
  • We strive to minimize our carbon footprint by promoting the use of eco-friendly transportation options and reducing energy consumption in our operations. We do this by:
    • Avoiding short-haul flights wherever possible in our own travel and in our travel products
    • Promoting the use of sustainable methods of transportation in our travel products, in particular hiking, cycling, horseback and sailing
    • Opting for the least emitting flights when purchasing for our clients and for ourselves
    • We are working towards generating at 100% of our electricity usage in the office by solar PV by end of 2026
    • The office hot water is heated only by the sun using a solar thermal collector
    • We make use of public transport (electric train) only to travel into town for meetings
    • When researching our products, we stay exclusively at campsites and generate our own power from solar PV whilst researching
    • Estimating the carbon impact of each journey we create and encouraging our clients to donate towards Greenpop, a local greening charity
    • Recording our own emissions from personal and research travel and donating at a rate of R1 050 per tonne of CO2 emitted to Greenpop by end of 2024
    • Aiming to be five-times carbon negative in terms of our own business practices by 2030
  • We are committed to supporting conservation efforts and protecting natural habitats by promoting responsible tourism practices among our customers and partners.
    • For our travel products, we only make use of suppliers who have:
      • A visible commitment to their own sustainability in terms of water and energy usage/generation, building materials, wastewater management and waste management
      • A demonstrated ambition to be even more sustainable in the next five years
    • Similarly, for our travel products, we only make use of suppliers who demonstrate ethicality in at least one of the following ways:
      • Commitment to a living wage for all staff
      • Commitment to twelve-month contracts for all staff
      • Are owned/partially owned by marginalised or previously marginalised groups, e.g. women, people of colour, people aged between 17 and 28, people with disabilities and those aged over 65
2. Social and Cultural Responsibility:
  • We respect the cultural heritage and traditions of the destinations we promote and aim to promote cultural understanding and preservation. We do this by:
    • Using only local guides, preferably people of colour, who are born and raised in the areas that they guide our clients around
    • Providing extensive detail in our itineraries and products about the history of areas that our clients visit and expected behaviour and norms for those areas
  • We prioritize partnerships with local businesses and communities, providing economic opportunities and supporting local economies. We do this by:
    • Developing and extending the product offering of our two key tour operators, www.hannivals.co.za and www.gocamissa.co.za (both black-owned companies)
    • Offering administrative support, financial management assistance and technical development to both our tour operators
    • Developing the websites of both our tour operators
  • We actively engage with local communities to understand their needs and concerns, and we strive to ensure that our activities have a positive impact on their well-being. We do this by:
    • Volunteering our time in a local primary school, Capricorn Primary, once a week in a reading support scheme
    • Funding two places at Capricorn Primary a year to learners in need (fees, uniform and transport)
    • Donating and raising funds towards necessary projects at Capricorn Primary
    • Employing disadvantaged members of the local community to assist with office cleaning and maintenance
    • Supporting the work of U-turn, a local homelessness charity through advocacy in community and council meetings
3. Economic Impact:
  • We believe in fair and transparent business practices and will work to ensure that our operations contribute to the economic development of the regions we operate in. We demonstrate this commitment by:
    • Buying as much of our office supplies as possible from small local businesses in our area
    • Not asking for commission from suppliers who are sole traders and instead marking up on top of the supplier price to our clients
    • Operating on a maximum of 20% commission from our larger suppliers
  • We will prioritize the procurement of goods and services from suppliers who share our commitment to sustainability and ethical business practices. We do this by:
    • First and foremost, using accredited suppliers who have to undergo an audit of their business practices for larger businesses
    • If suppliers are not accredited, we look for ambition, focus and planning in terms of sustainability and ethicality
    • We avoid suppliers who engage in tokenistic, greenwashing or ‘top down’ practices and instead look for enduring commitment
    • We actively look for and use suppliers who have little chance either due to size, skills shortages or technical resources of getting accredited but nonetheless demonstrate commitment to sustainable practices such as Phumzile Songani in Plettenberg Bay
  • We will invest in the professional development and well-being of our employees, providing fair wages, safe working conditions, and opportunities for growth and advancement. We do this by:
    • Training our staff inhouse and through external service providers such as SEO Travel
    • Paying a minimum of R250 an hour for product development and itinerary creation work and a minimum of R200 an hour for live trip management and administrative work
    • Taking on at least one intern a year for R5 000 a month
4. Health and Safety:
  • The health and safety of our employees, customers, and the communities we serve are paramount. We will comply with all relevant health and safety regulations and strive to create a safe and healthy work environment for all. We do this by:
    • Encouraging our employees to work from home whenever possible
    • Adherence to strict work hour protocols
  • We will provide training and resources to ensure that our employees are equipped to identify and mitigate health and safety risks in their work. We will do this by:
    • Offering annual audits of each employee’s work environment
5. Continuous Improvement:
  • We are committed to regularly reviewing and improving our sustainability practices, setting measurable goals, and tracking our progress over time. We do this by:
    • Being ambitious in our goals to become more sustainable
    • Being ambitious in our goals to make our clients more aware of the impact of their journeys
  • We will engage with stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and local communities, to gather feedback and incorporate their perspectives into our decision-making processes. We do this by:
    • Asking our clients after every journey about the perceived sustainability of their journeys and where improvements could be made
    • Asking our suppliers hard questions about ownership, procurement, energy, water and waste management on a regular basis
Implementation:
  • This sustainability policy is negotiated with all employees and communicated with all suppliers via our website
  • We will regularly monitor and evaluate our performance against this policy and make adjustments as necessary to ensure its effectiveness

At WhereItAllBegan.co.za, we believe that by integrating sustainability into our business practices, we can create positive impacts that benefit both people and the planet. We are committed to being a responsible corporate citizen and contributing to a more sustainable future for all.


Contact Us

Exceed House
Springfield Office Park
Belleville, Cape Town
7450

Cell / WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096

WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096

Email: travel@whereitallbegan.co.za

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About

We’re an ethical private travel planning company focused on Southern Africa.

We offer ready-made and also customised holidays and journeys across this unique region of the world.

When our clients travel with us, they are assured that their travel spend is directly supporting local African companies that offer sustainable products and services, both in terms of people and planet.

Ethos

Our logo is an image of a skull found in the Rising Star Cave System in Gauteng, South Africa in 2013. It was named ‘homo naledi’, meaning ‘human of the stars’.

The cave system has so far given rise to the remains of over 15 individuals, making it the largest hominid fossil remains site ever discovered.

Travelling to Southern Africa is truly a return to the source of humankind, to Where It All Began.

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