Sustainability Commitment

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SOLEQ.travel’s three main principles are Solidarity, Ecology, and Culture. Our aim and commitment is to meet all of these three issues with the highest respect and responsibility as possible. This is why we are very conscious of the ecological footprint your trip is leaving in one of the countries with the highest biodiversities in the world. Due to our efforts in green practices and operations we were awarded America’s Eco-Friendly Tour Operator of the Year 2017.

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We are a proud partner of Travelife, a globally working sustainability certification program in tourism. This means that our sustainable commitment and all our internal and external actions are monitored by Travelife. However, we do not want only to raise our clients’ awareness for sustainable and ecological issues, but also to give you the possibility to contribute directly by donations to carbon offsetting programs to compensate your ecological footprint.

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Sustainability Policy

SOLEQ.travel has an appointed CSR coordinator in the company who will handle, monitor and supervise the sustainable practices within SOLEQ.travel. This person is in charge of updating the other employees’ knowledge on sustainability and will keep an eye on the Action Plan.

Because of the sustainability process, SOLEQ.travel implemented a twice-yearly employee satisfaction research survey which will improve matters within the company. Sustainable practices also include social rights of the employees of the company, but also the people and service providers the company works with, and not only ecological aspects.

However, ecological aspects are still a big part of sustainable practices, and thus SOLEQ.travel made waste reducing objectives that are clearly monitored and evaluated. Waste is separated (glass, metal, paper, organic, plastic and other) and counted in order to measure the potential reduction. It will be reduced by the reduction of use of plastic bags, individual packaging and plastic bottles.

Coffee, tea and cleaning materials are all eco-friendly within the company. 90% of the paper in the office is made of sugarcane and reused if only one side is used. Water use is reduced by efficiently washing dishes.

There is an active policy of reducing energy in the office including, among others, energy saving efficiency mode on all possible electric appliances, the use of energy-efficient lights, the unplugging of unnecessary appliances and the use of socket boxes to turn off certain appliances during lunch and after work hours. Overall we try to reduce the energy usage by 10% during one year.

SOLEQ.travel’s tour guides drive according to certain sustainable guidelines which will reduce carbon emissions of our tours. We have published a special itinerary online in which sustainable transportation, activities and hotels are offered.

We offer a mandatory (tour in Ecuador) and voluntary (international flight) carbon offsetting program to our clients. The money is used for a reforestation project in Ecuador.

Hotels are evaluated based on their sustainability practices, policies and certifications. Preference is given to more sustainable hotels.

Extra care is taken with tours that visit sensitive places in Ecuador, such as the ecologically sensitive Galapagos Islands, the Amazon Rainforest and National Parks and other protected areas, as well as the socially sensitive indigenous communities that live in Ecuador.

All of our clients upon arrival receive a document called ‘Behavior in Ecuador’ which states sustainable ways of traveling around Ecuador without hurting its ecosystem, people and culture.

SOLEQ.travel has an extensive emergency contingency plan for certain emergency situations that might happen in Ecuador.

Hotels

SOLEQ.travel has implemented a system in which we can rate the hotels that we work with in regard of sustainability. After making the concept of a sustainability system and through constant contact we have determined that certain hotels do not qualify to be labeled as sustainable at all, and these hotels will be given zero trees, like the first logo. This scale goes up to hotels that excel at sustainable policies which will be given the three tree logo, like the last one. In this way we can make clear in our offers which hotels are taking efforts in regard of sustainability.

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Travelife

Founded in 2007, the Travelife Sustainability System is an initiative dedicated to promoting sustainable practices within the travel and tourism industry. It is based on the central role of tour operators and travel agents in the tourism supply chain. Because of their position, tour operators and travel agents could contribute significantly to sustainable development, and that is exactly what SOLEQ.travel is aiming for. Therefore we have decided to collaborate and increase not only SOLEQ.travel’s internal sustainability but also attempt to increase the awareness in Ecuadorian tourism suppliers.

The Travelife management requirements comply with ISO 14001 and EMAS III standards. The performance requirements include the full set of  ISO 26000 and OECD Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines which include labor conditions, human rights, environment, biodiversity and fair business practices.

Carbon Offsetting

SOLEQ.travel is highly committed that your travel experience leaves the smallest ecological footprint as possible. This is why we offer you the option to compensate the CO2 which is produced by the international flight you have to do for coming to Ecuador. The equivalent value of the terrestrial transportation during your tour in Ecuador is already included in your tour offer.  The “Ecocalculator” below should help you to convert the concrete amount of CO2 your tour is producing into a monetary equivalent.

The information about all of our tours on the website includes an approximate amount of CO2 which is produced by exploring the beautiful country of Ecuador. The given amounts are calculated according to two people traveling on the tour.

The money raised this way, will be paid to the Jocotoco Foundation and used in the Buenaventura Nature Reserve to plant trees. This way you can easily contribute to help the environment and our planet in general.

We did research for being able to calculate the consumption of fuel by cars and yachts we are working with in our tours. This allows us to give you an idea of an average production of CO2 per day. The transportation by car on a terrestrial tour produces around 60 lbs of CO2 per day. Yachts use more fuel than cars, which results in around 170 lbs per day per passenger. These are the amounts of CO2 we work with for our tailor-made trips. However, the amounts of CO2 production you can find on our tours pages are more exact calculations and might vary from this average. Domestic flights are calculated separately and also included in the offer.

International flights are not included in our itineraries, but we would like to invite you to compensate these as well. We have some examples of values for several flights to give you an idea of how much CO2 an international flight produces. If you are interested in compensating these flights as well, please let us know and we will include this donation in your tour.

Examples based on 2 people traveling on an economy return flight.

  • New York – Quito: 9,156 lbs – $51.27
  • Chicago – Quito: 9,742 lbs – $54.56
  • Miami – Quito: 5,038 lbs – $28.21
  • Dallas – Quito: 8,018 lbs – $44.90
  • Los Angeles – Quito: 11,995 lbs – $67.17
  • Atlanta – Quito: 7,021 lbs – $39.32
  • Washington DC – Quito: 8,666 lbs – $ 48.53
  • Vancouver – Quito: 15,503 lbs – $86.82
  • Toronto – Quito: 9,998 lbs – $55.99

 

  • Sydney – Quito: 37,875 lbs – $212.10
  • Melbourne – Quito: 38,936 lbs – $218.04
  • Auckland – Quito: 29,987 lbs – $167.93

 

  • Berlin – Quito: 25,020 lbs – $140.11
  • Munich – Quito: 24,643 lbs – $138.00
  • Frankfurt – Quito: 23,894 lbs – $133.81
  • London – Quito: 22,095 lbs – $123.73
  • Amsterdam – Quito: 23,173 lbs – $129.77

Jocotoco Foundation

The Jocotoco Foundation is a non-governmental initiative by nature conservationists, to protect land of critical importance for the conservation of Ecuador’s endangered bird species and its associated biodiversity. The goal is primarily achieved by purchasing land and establishing a nature reserve while reforesting the land in the process.

Until today, the organization established 10 different ecological reserves spanning over a total area of 15,000 ha. The main focus here lies on the habitat protection for endangered birds. However, associated plants and other animal species are protected as well.

During our trips we charge small amounts of money depending on the mode of transportation in order to compensate the carbon emission caused by the mode of transport.

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If you have any questions about sustainability, you can always reach us at hello@soleq.travel.