All travel should be ethical, so we’ve developed the following policies to enshrine ethical practices and sustainability into our work.
At Choose a Challenge we firmly believe that challenge events are one of the most worthwhile activities that a young person can choose to do. They combine the exercising of the desire to challenge oneself, with fundraising for worthwhile charitable causes and discovering some of the world’s most treasured sites. As part of this, we believe that for any trip to be worth running, it should be carried out in a sustainable, ethical and transparent operational manner - from initial booking, to your return home.
We are committed to ethical and sustainable practices in all areas of our work, from within our office facilities in London, all the way to the far corners of the world where our trips take place.
Our ethics and sustainability policy is guided by our company values, which we strive to fulfil in everything we do:
We live life outside our comfort zones.
We create communities.
We are authentic.
We create moments.
We value the journey.
We respect others.
Fundraising & causes
All of our challenges have one thing in common: they're all designed to raise as much money as possible for some of the world's most worthwhile charitable causes, and our fundraising packages are built on an industry-standard 50:50 fundraising ratio with this in mind. We’re extremely proud to be part of a growing movement which helps to nurture the dedicated fundraisers of tomorrow for our partner charities.
We currently partner with multiple charities across a wide range of causes, and in the 2017/18 season alone we raised over £1 million in direct donations to the work of our wonderful charity partners.
We’re very proud to promote sustainable practices across our operations to ensure that our company and our travellers have minimal negative impacts in terms of carbon and waste, and where possible produce positive outcomes.
Our offices are in a shared working space with a fantastic track record for sustainability, and we recycle all of our office waste. Our cloud-based operations mean we rarely print documents, and when we travel we use public transport wherever we can. Our team are small and mighty - with a high proportion of vegetarian, vegan and environmentally conscious staff who are proud to work for a small and sustainable company.
We take animal welfare extremely seriously, and we do not produce or promote itineraries which facilitate or encourage the mistreatment of animals. Our animal welfare policies are strongly influenced by industry-standard ABTA guidelines on the treatment of animals. When sourcing ground agents, we will not partner with non-compliant agents and take the opportunity to help to educate non-compliant agents in best practice.
We’re proud to be an active member of ABTA’s Animal Welfare Working Group, which means we’ve got our ear to the ground on all animal welfare issues the world over, meaning we’re literally at the table helping to report animal welfare issues and enforce positive change within the industry.
Local impact & welfare
We firmly believe that challenges should be locally-led, so our in-country teams are made up of local people with expert local knowledge and a genuine passion for the sites and communities in which they are based. We do not send Western guides over to our destinations to run the trips for them.
All of our guides, porters and support staff are paid a fair wage and we operate strict limits on how much weight they are permitted to carry. Many of our in-country partners are members of their local porter welfare associations, and are affiliated with local community projects in addition to their commitments through partnering with us.
As a tour operator, we recognise our responsibility to inform and educate all of our participants on all of the necessary requirements and need-to-know information ahead of their travel. This includes entry requirements and visas, vaccinations, training, currency and more.
Our in-house Operations team receive daily bulletins from ABTA regarding all safety and security incidents occurring the world over, and we work to the guidance of these bulletins and those of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to inform our incident response.
In 2018, we took the Travellers Against Plastic (TAP) pledge to help fight the harmful consumption of single-use plastics through our operations. In all our destinations, water is purified from local sources for our participants.
In remote areas where this is not possible, our team prioritise large, decantable cooler bottles which are later recycled. Where the provision of safe drinking water is not possible, our teams adhere to a ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra.
At the National Student Fundraising Conference in 2018, we provided over 200 delegates with a free custom reusable bottle, to help discourage single-use plastic usage. In-country and in our UK and USA offices, our team are committed to a low-plastic future, each making use of our own reusable bottles both at home and whilst travelling.
Integrity & transparency
We’re proud to be members of multiple accreditation agencies, and are always working towards new schemes to help us be the most informed, transparent, sustainable, safe and inspiring travel company around.
We’re currently members of multiple standards agencies including ABTA and ATOL, and are accredited by Tourism Concern as an Ethical Tour Operator, and with Travellers Against Plastic (TAP).
In 2019, we’ll be embarking on the Travelife tour operator scheme, which will provide further sustainability training to our staff and which is the gold-standard sustainability accreditation in the industry.
We recognise the vital importance of stamping out modern slavery, in all its forms, wherever we find it. Our vetting procedure for potential ground agents includes internal auditing and reporting on working conditions.
Our staff remain vigilant to the signs of modern slavery, and we enshrine and implement strict instructions in our agreements with our ground agents over the treatment, wages, hours and working conditions of ground staff including all porters, cooks, muleteers and accommodation staff who contribute to our itineraries.
All of our packages feature financial protection for our participants, thanks to our participation in ABTA and ATOL financial protection schemes.
Participants may rest assured that in the extremely unlikely event that the company were to go insolvent before or during a trip, their money will be safe. Packages with flights are secured through the Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL scheme, and packages without flights are secured through ABTA’s bonding scheme.
Still have questions?
If you still have questions about our ethical or sustainable and ethical policies and practices, please feel free to get in touch with our friendly team via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.