Centered on the Earth

Photo by Sally Guillaume.

These three travel companies offer sustainable opportunities to see — and even help save — the planet.

Aracari

Ahead of its time when it was originally founded in 1996, South American travel operator Aracari is highly regarded in the sustainable travel industry. Founder Marisol Mosquera defines sustainable travel simply as travel that does not destroy the
destination, which in today’s standards means low impact, low-volume tourism. These pillars of tourism have been part of Aracari’s mission since it began, in order to promote natural landscapes.

One of the most important ways Aracari maintains such high standards of sustainability is by educating guests throughout their trips, to “treat the local communities and sensitive environments with great respect,” Moquera states. To follow through, the company works tirelessly with the other businesses they work with to help ensure their self-imposed regulations are effective across the board. For example, Mosquera says the company seeks boutique hotels that are more stringent on standards like waste management, energy consumption, community involvement, et cetera. With these methods incorporated into their business model, Aracari is able to fulfill
clients’ travel needs while making a smaller impact on the surrounding environment.

“People travel to learn and experience new things, and our region is very rich with cultural and natural attractions,” Mosquera says, attractions that they strive to find new ways of highlighting through their bespoke travel tours. One upcoming tour in May 2020 is an eight-day excursion in Bolivia, hosted by National Geographic photographer Max Milligan, based in Kachi Lodge which is located on Sachar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. Nestled next to Tunupa Volcano, these transparent igloo tents afford wonderful views and a unique sense of isolation while guests enjoy delicious food, hot water and comfortable accommodations.

Kachi Lodge | Bolivia

Kachi Lodge is located on Sachar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat.

Photo courtesy of Aracari.

Machu Picchu

Guests can travel to archaeological sites like Machu Picchu with Aracari’s Peru tours.

Photo by Marcella Echavarria.

Another tour featuring Milligan is an adventure through the mountains of Peru at El Albergue Ollantaytambo, where guests can visit local communities, archaeological sites like Machu Picchu, and an organic garden that stretches from the glacial snowline to the tropical cloud forest.

Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp | Kenya

Photo by Stevie Mann.

Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp | Kenya

Cottar’s Safari Camp provides an authentic and individualized safari experience by ensuring a legacy of wilderness, wildlife, comfort and security.

Photo courtesy of Steppes Travel.

Steppes Travel

Steppes Travel creates eco-luxury holiday trips that are tailor-made for people who are interested in wildlife. While it highlights giving a behind-the-scenes look into many different sensible wildlife environments and discovering different cultures, at the core, Steppes Travel focuses on giving back to the environment and communities their teams visit. An avid traveller himself, Rob Gardiner fit in perfectly at Steppes Travel as the Commercial Manager for the Africa sector with his overall knowledge and love for travel. “I love the people that you meet, I love the lessons that you learn from it, and I think it breaks down barriers, changing our perception of different places and alters our prejudices,” Gardiner says.

Gardiner says that the company’s focus on sustainable travel is driven by a need to look after the communities they visit and keep those wilderness areas as pristine as possible. Steppes Travel also works with community members and conservation groups to ensure proceeds are given back to those areas, noting that, as a whole, travel can be a force for good. “If you’re lucky enough to go to Zambia, Tanzania or Botswana on safari, for example, there should be money that goes back into the local economy so they too are incentivized to look after what they have.”

Regarding the tours, Gardiner says that the wildlife aspect is what helps keeps sustainability in mind for both guides and travellers. He notes that often these trips provide a unique educational experience, granting travellers a new, real perspective on conservation while taking part in projects like tracking rhinos in South Africa or working on a jaguar safari project in Brazil. Tourists can go further by becoming ambassadors for certain regions and work with communities around the world to be more conscious of endangered environments.

“As much as possible, we don’t believe in cocooning our clients away from the streetlife in Delhi or living with a nomadic family in Mongolia,” Gardiner affirms. “I think it’s about getting to know the people and about having that personal human connection.”

Undiscovered Mountains

According to Sally Guillaume, owner and founder of sustainable travel company Undiscovered Mountains, her reasons for starting the company were driven by a personal drive to create a better world, “to do things in a way that everyone benefits without exploiting people or environments.”

Focusing on trips located in and around the French Alps, Guillaume wanted to steer away from mass tourism and “build a sustainable approach to tourism both for the communities and the rich natural environments they live in.” In doing so, she built a business that not only focuses on preserving natural environments, but also helps clients to discover authentic Alpine communities, not usually found in mainstream Alpine travel.

Guillaume’s vision of a sustainable world includes less consumerism and a deeper appreciation for experiences. And while Undiscovered Mountains, Steppes Travel and Aracari are all model companies, there is a long way to go in sustainable tourism — from updating local infrastructure to promoting lower-impact travel methods such as train or “green” vehicles. She notes, however, the ethical standards of travel companies have become more and more important consumers in recent years, as well as the destination and activities involved.

From touring preserved natural environments with abundant wildlife and flora on the southern French Alps, to immersive tours in both Nepal and Norway that are launching soon, Undiscovered Mountains will continue to make its mission about serving the environment, which has always shaped the culture around them. “The type of food people eat, the architecture of old buildings, the choice of where villages are situated is all to do with how people have survived living off the land of the mountains for centuries.”

The French Alps

Travelers can learn to paraglide and fly above the mountains on one of Undiscovered Mountain’s paragliding courses.

Photo courtesy of Undiscovered Mountains.

The French Alps

From ski touring to dogsledding with huskies, …

Photo courtesy of Undiscovered Mountains.

The French Alps

Undiscovered Mountains offers a wide assortment of winter activities that are fully customisable, all in the French Alps.

Photo courtesy of Undiscovered Mountains.

Falper Vetro Integrated Cabinet Glass Top Basin. All photos courtesy Rogerseller.

‘Green’ design and products have historically found their classification in the product features themselves and not necessarily in the processes behind the production, or the facilities that produce them.

But that’s beginning to change, with more emphasis given to the green cogs that keep the green machine going.

Luckily, you don’t have to go green with envy at what others are doing; below, we’ve listed several firms working to contribute to the green movement.

Claybrook

Utilizing recycled marble that is a by-product of its mosaic tile workshop, Claybrook’s MarbleForm bathware is manufactured in a low impact, emission-free production process, using environmentally sustainable products, materials and manufacturing methods wherever possible.

With a unique wet polishing method, which incorporates water, the method is healthier, cleaner and safer, the result is a finer and smoother texture for a superior finish.

Apart from the fact that these pieces are made from recycled by-products, the actual products themselves can be recycled too.

 

At right: Claybrook Skye Bath

Catalano

“Think Green” is the motto of Catalano, who has been pursuing sustainability and respect for the environment at all stages of its production cycle for years. The firm prides itself in using pure raw materials without any risk of toxicity, while cutting-edge technology has resulted in a new generation of products with reduced thicknesses that require less material.

Catalano pays great attention to environmental efficiency and operating conditions of machinery as well; the installation of solar panels at the production plant generates 1,625,000 KWh – about a quarter of its total energy requirements.

Catalano’s plant is characterized by a low-noise impact and features a closed-loop wastewater recycling system, while the production processes facilitate the maximum reduction of volatile fumes and pollutants released into the atmosphere. But its green efforts don’t stop there. 

When it comes to its products, Catalano is constantly innovating to ensure it stays at the forefront of technology and its impact on product design. For example, the company’s revolutionary glazing method, Cataglaze+, actively kills bacteria through Silver Titanium technology, eliminates the stagnation of water and reduces the amount of cleaning detergents and water required. The visibly superior aesthetic also guarantees anti-yellowing over time.

 

At left: Catalano Zero 55 Basin

Falper

Utilizing only natural materials, Falper recycles all of its manufacturing waste.

Each timber panel is certified ecological and all the wood finishes are entirely water-based.

Scratches and breaks are easily restored on the surfaces of bathtubs and washbasins, reducing the need to replace items, while they are also completely recyclable.

 

At right: Falper Quattro Zero Caldera bath

Fantini

At its core, Fantini is all about water. Since 2012, its “100 Fontane: Fantini for Africa” project has succeeded in bringing clean water to 25,000 people in Masango, Burundi, through the construction of 12 collection wells, 27km of aqueducts and 100 water outlets.

Fantini products also adhere to the most stringent standards to safeguard consumer health. Its products are certified Lead free (containing less than 0.25 percent) whilst they’re also utilizing more stainless steel across all of its collections. A compact and solid material, stainless steel offers the highest resistance to corrosion and is particularly hard-wearing and durable, facilitating maximum hygiene. In addition, it’s also an eco-friendly and recyclable material.

 

At left: Fantini Mare Basin Mixer

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Centered on the Earth

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