In 2020, Khiri Travel became a proud signatory of the Tourism Declares Climate Emergency Initiative. Many regions of the world have declared a climate emergency, and the countries that Khiri Travel operates in are not immune.
While we believe tourism, conducted in a sustainable and responsible manner, has positive effects that contribute to the planet and people, we must also acknowledge the impact that tourism has on our climate. As such, Khiri Travel is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals across the seven countries in which we are active: Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Khiri Reach, our nonprofit organization, works with local communities and organizations to implement initiatives addressing climate change; read here.
We accept current IPCC advice stating the need to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030 in order to keep the planet-warming within 1.5 degrees. Our Climate Emergency Plan helps us, monitor, evaluate, and improve our environmental impact.
What we do at Khiri Travel
In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we need to understand where our emissions are coming from. Internal energy use, staff commute and staff flights, use of water and waste, we’re measuring our footprint. In all our offices, we keep track of the use of resources and calculate our emissions.
By 2021, Khiri Travel will be carbon neutral, meaning we’re offsetting 100% of our carbon emissions through an accredited carbon offset program. Khiri Travel produced 418.44 tons of carbon emissions in 2020. We will invest in sustainable development projects tackling climate change in our destinations, read more here.
We reduce emissions in all our offices by using energy-saving equipment and having strict policies in place to reduce the use of energy and water. Staff is trained and aware of our internal guidelines. Our goal is to reduce the use of resources by 10% annually.
In many of our destinations, we’re still struggling with the use of plastic and the amount of waste. By 2030, all Khiri offices will be 100% plastic-free. We’re already on a good way, but improvements are always necessary and possible.
Our offices are all moving towards being paperless. Our goal is to reduce the use of paper by 10% annually and communicate with authorities and local governments to ensure the efficient printing of necessary documents only. Internally, teams are already switching to online systems to share and monitor bookings in order to avoid printing.
Khiri Travel will increase the use of new technologies to reduce the amount of in-person meetings – we will reduce staff travel to cut down on carbon emissions as much as possible. Khiri Travel offers the possibility for remote working, reducing staff commute and providing more flexibility to employees.
Whenever possible, we will source office supplies, cleaning products, gifts for clients, and food and drinks for our staff sustainably, e.g. eco-friendly and/or supporting a social cause.
Khiri Travel involves all stakeholders and educates all staff in order to get everyone’s buy-in and support. The more people we can reach, the more impact our efforts will have. Our goal is to motivate our staff to not only become more responsible employees but to become more environmentally and sustainably responsible outside of the office. Our hope is that this will spread, leading to education and engagement in our communities.
Khiri Travel will continue to contribute and actively participate in events and initiatives supporting the reduction of our carbon emissions: clean-ups, tree planting, Earth Hour, etc.
In 2019, Khiri Travel planted 500 trees in Thanlyan Myanmar and 100 trees in Koh Pdao Island Cambodia, and Khiri Teams organized clean-ups in Koh Samed Thailand, Mui Ne Vietnam, Siem Reap Cambodia, Sanur Bali, and Botataung Jetty Myanmar.
Khiri Travel is the first and to date, only DMC Travelife certified in all destination offices. The certification is an internationally recognized sustainability label, managing and improving social and environmental impacts by complying with sustainability criteria. The certification helps us to clarify and develop our roadmap to becoming a more responsible tour operator. We will continue to make improvements and strive towards more sustainable business practices. Khiri Travel also encourages all partners and suppliers to get certified by a GSTC accredited sustainability certification.
How we engage our clients
Similar to our internal carbon footprint calculation and offsetting scheme, Khiri Travel will offer this option to all clients from 2021 onwards.
Once travelers arrive in Southeast Asia, Khiri Travel will offset carbon emissions for guest trips by charging US$1.50 per person per day. The aim is to offset entire itineraries, including accommodation, activities, and transport. Funds will go to our partner ClimateCare’s best-in-class carbon reduction projects in the Asian region, read more here.
Whenever possible, Khiri Travel offers eco-friendly transport alternatives. We are developing systems to offer shared transport options or make use of public transport systems. With developing infrastructure in all of our destinations, we’re hoping to have more possibilities within the next few years to ensure convenient and comfortable public transportation to clients.
When developing new products, we are focusing on low carbon options, offering alternatives such as city tours by foot or bicycle. Such tours will be highlighted in our product portfolio and give clients the option to choose the most suitable alternative. We have also launched a new product line “Rediscovering The Art of Slow Travel” to further reduce CO2 emissions. On these trips, there will be no regional flights. All transport will be by train, car or boat. Itineraries will typically be a minimum of 15 days. Accommodation will be vetted against Khiri’s social, cultural, and environmental criteria. And excursions will benefit the host communities, mostly in less developed regions.
Khiri Travel is implementing systems to make tours plastic-free. We work closely with tour guides, transport companies, and clients to ensure we reduce the amount of waste as much as possible. We already offer alternatives to plastic water bottles: glass bottles or refill options. In Myanmar, we provide an alternative to plastic bags when visiting pagodas and whenever organizing picnic lunches/foodie tours, we’re working closely with our suppliers to only use reusable cutlery and tableware.
All tours Khiri Travel offers ensure to comply with social and environmental policies. We make sure to treat communities with respect, provide fair working conditions, and not harm wildlife or biodiversity. We have however also started to highlight tours that actively bring extra benefits to people and the planet, read more here.
Khiri Travel has a thorough sustainability assessment in place which addresses social as well as environmental issues. We promote responsible options whenever possible, to ensure our guests are staying in hotels that have strong environmental policies in place.
We promote slow travel – staying longer in one destination, taking more time to get to know one country, and using less/public transport whenever possible. Not only do we believe that clients appreciate this form of tourism more, but it also benefits our destination and reduces the carbon footprint of one itinerary. We will continue to educate our guests about responsible tourism and share useful tips in order to make sure to protect our destinations from negative impacts.
Our Partners and Destinations
Khiri Travel is supporting the SunX Registry for Climate Friends Travel. It is the Travel & Tourism entry to the UNFCCC Climate Action Portal. All companies and communities can commit, plan, and record their action programs in the Registry and receive support to achieve their green sustainability goals and clean carbon reduction targets.
We believe in strong collaborations, as together we can achieve more. Khiri Travel was one of the founding members of the Travelife/PATA/TO Sustainability Working Group, which is actively working towards the development and promotion of responsible development in the South East Asian region.
Khiri Travel was also one of the founding members of IMPACT Vietnam, a network of responsible DMCs, promoting sustainability within the tourism industry and sharing best practices among supply chain partners.
Moreover, Khiri Travel Indonesia is an active member of the Indonesian DMC Sustainability Collaboration (IDSC), which does sustainability and health & safety assessment and training with accommodation, excursion, and transport providers. We are proud to share best practices and share experiences with like-minded companies. Our long-term goal is to influence policymakers and governments to adopt more responsible strategies and development plans in all of our destinations.
Khiri Reach is our non-profit organization that operates as a social platform where people and organizations can collaborate and create positive change across Asia. Khiri Reach was founded with the objective of helping to solve some of the pressing issues in the region by using sustainable tourism as a tool to enhance cultural understanding, circular industry, respect for nature, protecting the environment, and bringing about sustainable development in local communities. We will continue to support local projects, initiatives, and NGOs, which support sustainable development in South East Asia and therefore not only have positive impacts on climate change and environmental protection but also on social issues on regional levels.
As Khiri Travel promotes plastic-free excursions, we also want to give preference to suppliers, who have the same eco-friendly principles in mind. Waste management and the use of plastic are included in our sustainability assessments for hotels, as well as this issue is considered in our selection process of excursion suppliers. We actively promote initiatives such as Refill My Bottle or Refill Not Landfill and invite our suppliers to join our fight against plastic pollution.
Whenever possible, Khiri Travel will choose eco-friendly and locally sourced products over commercial, environmentally irresponsible products. We carefully choose our gift options to make sure we support social causes whenever possible. We also have developed a list of ‘forbidden’ souvenirs to ensure the protection of any threatened species, such as coral, turtles, or rare plants.
Khiri Travel is proud to share experiences and best practices at conferences, through our social media platforms and events. We regularly share information and informative content or toolkits with our suppliers and believe in common support systems in order to build capacity rather than boycotting.
Khiri Travel promotes locally-owned restaurants, representing local culture and cuisine. Whenever possible or requested, we offer eco-friendly suppliers or vegetarian/vegan/organic options. We give preference to restaurants, which support a social cause, such as vocational training restaurants. We also understand the complex issue and the impact of food waste, therefore, we communicate in advance with suppliers to ensure the correct bookings and meal preparations in order to avoid any wastage. Khiri Travel does not promote or offer any restaurants, which offer endangered species on the menu, such as shark fin soup, tiger bone wine, or turtle soups.
Besides the thorough sustainability assessment of hotel and excursion suppliers, we also ask all our partners to sign our sustainability contract, which asks to comply with basic environmental and social guidelines. Khiri Travel has the right to terminate partnerships if serious breaches are observed. If needed, we provide support in order to help our partners to adopt more responsible management. If available, we promote suppliers which have a GSTC accredited sustainability certification. We will continue to encourage our suppliers to support conservation projects and anti-plastic initiatives.
This climate emergency plan is a working document, and we will continue to develop our initiatives and goals to reduce our carbon footprint.
We will adjust and add actions if needed and monitor our progress on a regular basis. We will share our annual report each year, outlining our progress, as well as potential failures.