Our Environmental & Social Policy

It is important to us that when we travel to different parts of our amazing planet that our exchange is always a mutual one. It is our responsibility to take time to think about how our actions can benefit or how they impact the people, communities, economies, environments and eco-systems we visit. We always consider how we can make a difference (or sometimes more appropriately – NOT make a difference).

Everything we do has it's pros and cons.  Escape Adventures' goal is to be fully honest with ourselves and with you about any possible negative impacts of travel or our cycle tours.  We take full responsibility to research any possible negative impacts of our tours and have lots of discussion and brain storming about how we can eliminate, mitigate or even turn the negatives into positives! Our mission is to fill our tours with as many positive outcomes as possible!

Please read below about how we, Escape Adventures, endeavour to do this… and the following ways in which you can help us to make a difference in the countries we travel in and maybe in your homes as well…  (Please note: Our Environmental / Social Policy is a open document. Please feel free to comment or make any suggestions as to how we may be able to improve.)

Escape Adventures is 100% against Sex Tourism, Human and Animal Trafficking, Predator Trophy Hunting, Zoos

We love diversity!

Our Escape Adventures crew and bikers come from a huge variety of backgrounds. We celebrate this diversity and welcome all cyclists regardless of their education, culture, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, colouring, religion, disability, sexual orientation and beliefs. We believe that the more diverse our groups are the more interesting and fun your tour will be! So please come and join us!

For us Social Responsibility is NOT about donating large sums of money to charity (at least not without thoroughly researching the long-term intentions or effects of the charity) or merely following the status quo.

We believe our social responsibility is about supporting locally owned and small business, accommodations, restaurants and support partners.  It is about respecting local cultures, customs and beliefs. We are constantly considering our actions and how we and the people who travel with us can improve our impact on the places we visit.

 

Escape Adventures Social Care Plan

The following goals help us to support local economy at the grassroots level as well as offer our bikers full immersion, genuine experiences (that will sometime be out of your comfort zone!)

Escape Adventures:

  • Aims to partner with and support small and localised businesses and individuals
  • Employ local support crew and services
  • Our small group sizes mean that we consider and adjust our social impact in small towns (Don’t take over the place!)
  • Do our best treat spiritual, sacred or historical places with the required respect. Helping you learn about these places helps to understand and respect the value they hold.
  • We always ask permission before taking photos of strangers, ritual events or special places.
  • Include local school visits in some of our cycle tours (where appropriate), to provide mutual learning opportunity.
  • Choose accommodations, restaurants, shops that align with our values.
  • Avoid random gift giving. It can be tempting to want to give hand-outs to those who may appear to be materially poor. We think its important to carefully consider and discuss our actions before handing out gifts.
  • Escape Adventures is 100% against sex tourism, human trafficking, orphanage visits, exploitation of people for tourism

What you can do…

  • Learn and attempt some of the local language.
  • Learn about spiritual, sacred or historical places to help understand and respect the value they hold.
  • Always ask permission before taking photos of strangers, ritual events or special places.
  

How can we keep improving?

  • Keep researching new ideas
  • Run crew training & brainstorming sessions
  • Lead and inspire by example
  • Ask for feedback / suggestions from crew & bikers.

The environment is our home, the home of billions of animal and plants species and the home of future generations – it is a delicate and highly threatened foundation. Today it is essential that we change our habits at home and in the way that we live and travel and adopt a more caring attitude towards the environment.

There is no denying that the tourism industry is a significant contributor to global carbon emissions. A 2018 study found that tourism accounts for around 8% of the world’s carbon emissions, and nearly half of that comes from transport (flying, driving, buses, taxi’s, ferries etc).

The flip side of this is that travel and tourism (prior to Covid 19) accounted for one in four of all new jobs created around the world and over 10% of all jobs worldwide. Reference: WTTC.  So the big question is: How can we reduce the negative environmental impact of our travel and do something to help mitigate or even better, turn those negatives into positives?

Firstly, we can significantly reduce our carbon emissions by:

  • For shorter distances - travel by bus or train (or ride a bike!) rather than fly or drive.
  • Book flights with fewer stop-overs. This not only reduces the flying distance but also planes release the most carbon during take-off and landing.
  • Fly economy: more people in a plane means less carbon emissions per person.
  • Pack light: Less luggage weight = less carbon emissions.
  • Slow down and stay longer: The less you rush around and try to cram in the less emissions you’ll produce, plus you’ll go home more relaxed.
  • When you get to your destination use efficient transport to get around… buses, trains or RIDE A BIKE!!

We can also reduce our carbon footprint by:

  • Turn off the air conditioning: AC uses nearly 50% of the energy used in hotels and accommodation. If you go to the tropics, enjoy the tropics!!!
  • Put up the “Do to disturb” sign: Cleaning rooms and changing towels everyday is just a waste of energy and valuable water.
  • Eat local and avoid imported foods. Buy the food grown in local farms, not the imported steak!! It supports local jobs and economy and keeps food miles down.
  • Reduce food waste: Ask for smaller portions and avoid all you can eat buffets. Even better support restaurants that
  • Buy locally made souvenirs that you will actually use. Find out exactly what it is made from and check that it is actually locally made!!
  • Use only accommodation and tour operators that really are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Smaller, basic and locally owned and operated businesses tend to have a far smaller carbon footprint that large hotels and corporations.

And when you get there - Do something positive!

  • Support Native Forest Regeneration both at home and in the country of your holiday. Plant Trees!!
  • Support Wildlife Parks: Your entry fee helps to pay for the protection of the environment and the wildlife.
  • Read our Social and Environmental Care Plans and help us to do the right thing and do it better.
  • Seek out and support locally instigated environmental, wildlife protection and reforestation projects.
  • AND PLANT TREES!! We all know that trees are good, they suck up carbon, produce oxygen and just make us feel good. The world is losing around a hectare of forest every minute. So plant trees, at home, and on your travels.

Please read Our Environmental Care Plan (in the following tab). It is a key factor in our research and planning when we develop our tours and is in constant review before, during and after every tour as we constantly strive to lessen our impact on the places we visit.

 

Escape Adventures Environmental Care Plan

Our Environment Care Plan - is a key factor in our research and planning when we develop our tours and is in constant review before, during and after every tour as we constantly strive to lessen our impact on the places we visit.

Reducing Carbon Emissions

Flying

Escape Adventures:
  • Flies Economy Class!
  • Chooses airlines with fuel efficient planes
  • Books flights with fewer legs / less stopovers
  • Plans back to back tours to reduce flying required for Escape crew members.
  • Supports the proposed Green Flying Duty on aviation, with revenues ring fenced for research and development into decarbonisation of air travel
  • Travels locally by bike (supported)
What you can do…
  • Fly Economy!
  • Take fewer, but longer holidays involving air travel
  • Choose airlines with fuel efficient planes
  • Book flights with fewer legs / less stopovers
  • Travel locally by bike, train or bus.
 Support Vehicles Escape Adventures:
  • Short daily travel distances. Compared with other kinds of travel our cycle tour support vehicle means less vehicles and less mileage than other kinds of travel.
  • Plan support vehicles with optimal seating, trailers to minimise the number and size of support vehicles.
  • Educate local support drivers to limit engine idling time.
  • Design future cycle tours as loop tours or to minimise between tour transit drives.
  • Is budgeting to replace fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles
 Food Miles In order to reduce the carbon emissions associated with the transporting of food, Escape Adventures aims to:
  • Supply and refill bulk fresh water drinking vessels.
  • Buy local and in-season produce grown in-country (with the exception of bananas), ideally within 100km of where it is purchased!!
  • Buy Local meat and dairy products.  All meat served on tour will be grown/produced in the country of purchase.
  • Buy in-country brands or dry supplies as much as possible.

Tree Planting

WE PLANT TREES! There are many carbon calculators available on-line which will all give you a different answer as to how many trees you could plant to mitigate the carbon emissions of your travel. This is not an exact science and we will never say that we are carbon neutral or that we are off-setting or mitigating our (or your) carbon footprint.

What we will say is that we have looked at many carbon calculators to get a approximation of how many trees they would plan to off-set a long-haul flight. Using this as a baseline we have multiplied this by a factor of 5 to give us a guideline of how many *FOREVER TREES we can plant to make a positive difference and to make sure that enough of the trees we plant will not only make it to maturity but also keep on contributing for generations to come.

 We plant trees! Escape Adventures:
  • Plants 10 *forever trees for every biker and each Escape crew member who travel internationally for our cycle tours.
  •  Plants two forever trees for every biker and each Escape crew member who travel domestically for our NZ cycle tours.
  • Plants two forever trees for each support vehicle for the duration of the tour (based on a 16 day tour).
  • *Forever Trees: are either trees native to where they are being planted OR food bearing trees planted with the intention of never being cut down.
  • See below for tree planting log…
What you can do:
  • Why not plant trees too!

Animal Welfare

Wildlife Escape Adventures:
  • Supports conservation and restoration of natural habitat
  • Supports wildlife conservation and restoration
  • Escape Adventures does not support domestication/exploitation of wild animals for tourism, animal trafficking, zoos, petting zoos, predator trophy hunting, trade of wild animal products.
Food Escape Adventures aims to:
  • Provide balanced, healthy meals with a plant based focus.
  • Any beef or lamb served on tour will be paddock raised only.
  • Any pork, chicken & eggs served on tour will be FREE RANGE.
  • Escape Adventures will not serve commercially caught fish.

On our Cycle Tours

Water Escape Adventures:
  • Says NO to single use plastic drinking bottles
  • Supply and refill bulk fresh water drinking vessels.  Make sure this is always available to our bikers.
What you can do…
  • Say NO to single use plastic drinking bottles and refill water from the vessels provided.
Food Escape Adventures aims to:
  • Provide balanced, healthy meals with a plant based focus.
  • Support restaurants that serve meals rather than buffets (to avoid mass food waste).
  • Buy as local as possible - especially fruit, vegetables, eggs, dairy and meat.
  • Improve the world’s soil life by sourcing organically grown or spray free food as much as possible.
Fruit & Vegetables Escape Adventures aims to:
  • Provide balanced, healthy meals with a plant based focus.
  • Provide fruit and vegetables that are in-season as much as possible.
  • Buy only produce grown in-country (with the exception of bananas), ideally within 100km of where it is purchased.
  • Source organically grown as much as possible.
  • Only buy unpackaged produce!
Meat & Fish Escape Adventures aims to:
  • All meat served on tour will be grown/produced in the country of purchase.
  • Any beef or lamb served on tour will be paddock raised only.
  • Any pork, chicken & eggs served on tour will be FREE RANGE.
  • Source organically grown as much as possible.
  • Escape Adventures will not serve commercially caught fish.
  • Avoid/minimise single use packaging as much as possible.
Bulk Supplies Escape Adventures aims to:
  • Buy in-country brands as much as possible. This is to help reduce the carbon emissions associated with Food Travel Miles.
  • Minimise plastic and single use packaging as much as possible by shopping at self-fill shops.  Bring our own containers.
Coffee Escape Adventures says - No keep cup = no coffee! 
Waste  Escape Adventures will:
  • Seperate all rubbish into compostables, reusables, recyclables and landfill rubbish.
  • Compostables will be distributed to local composting/worm farm services, or feed to chickens or pigs on route.
  • Minimise plastic and single use packaging by shopping at self-fill shops
  • Paper/cardboard, glass, plastics recycled as much as possible.
  • Careful shopping and food preparation to minimise food waste.
What you can do…
  • Please join us in our mission to reduce single use packaging and rubbish.  Yay!!

 Escape Adventures Head Quarters

 Power, Heat, Water Escape Adventures HQ:
  • Is powered by solar power, and lit with LED lighting.
  • Is heated using passive solar design and a giant decomposing wood chip pile!
  • Is double insulated.
  • Harvests and uses rainwater.
  • Greywater is distributed to land to water native planting
Paper Escape Adventures promises:
  • To only print when necessary.
  • To reuse waste paper.
  • Paper that can not be reused or recycled is shredded and recycled!
  • What paper we do use is PEFC
  • All printer ink is vegetable based.
Waste Escape Adventures HQ:
  • Has a composting toilet.
  • Composts all organic waste.
  • Avoids single use packaging and minimises use of short term plastics.
  • Recycles all waste paper/cardboard, glass and (recyclable) plastics.
Every day travel  Escape Adventures:
  • Aims to make short office trips by bike or E-Bike as much as possible.
  • Offers crew incentives to bike to work

Merchandise

Shirts  Escape Adventures Biker Shirts:
  • From 2019 moved to natural fibre branded clothing. (Merino Wool and Cotton) No more synthetic shirts.
  • From 2021 all biker shirts will be made in NZ.
  • From 2021 - ASK bikers if they want shirts (so we don’t give people things they don’t want or need!).
Coffee Cups Escape Adventures
  • Supplies our bikers with keep cups so that they do not need single use coffee cups
  • From 2021 - ASK bikers if they want keep cups (so we don’t give people things they don’t want or need!).
Postage Escape Adventures
  • Uses reused postal packaging when available.
  • When reused packaging is not available use only paper / cardboard postal packaging, paper tape.
  • Say no to NEW plastic postage packaging.
What you can do…
  • If we send you something, please reuse the postal packaging!

How can we keep improving?

  Escape Adventures will:
  • Keep researching new ideas
  • Run crew training & brainstorming sessions
  • Lead and inspire by example
  • Ask for feedback / suggestions from crew & bikers.

 

Forever Trees Planted to Date

Year New Zealand Tanzania Cambodia Kyrgyzstan Total
2013   390     390
2014   420     420
2015 1000 330     1330
2016   200 210   410
2017   680 210   890
2018   640 120   760
2019 1000 600 80   1680
2020 600       600
Total 2600 3260 620   6480