The Long Run, hosted by Preferred by Nature, is one of the founding partners of Weeva, a software-as-a-service platform that enables tourism businesses to measure, track and improve their impact across a balanced scorecard of commercial, conservation, community, and cultural parameters.
Weeva exists to power a move from idealism to data-driven action and The Long Run is delighted to be a founding partner soon to roll out the platform across its entire membership. Many have already been pilots, helping to shape the software.
Delphine King, Executive Director of The Long Run, was part of the initial working group and it didn’t take long for Weeva to recognise that The Long Run’s system of breaking down areas of sustainable travel into the 4Cs — Commerce, Conservation, Culture, Community — would be the best basis for reporting.
Julie Cheetham, Founding Member and Managing Director at Weeva, comments,
From our perspective, the 4Cs make for a very logical and comprehensive balanced scorecard – an ideal bedrock for a widely applicable sustainability management system. So, under the 4Cs, we developed 18 Weeva parameters, covering everything from customer satisfaction to carbon emissions. Each parameter has guidance, supportive tools and policy documents that can be amended to suit a business’ context, and continuous improvement tasks that show Weeva users how to make a difference and have the greatest impact.
“The Long Run has seen first-hand how well this approach works – what started in 2009 as a collaboration with nine sustainable destinations has grown to become one of the world’s largest coalitions of nature-based enterprises, and today members of The Long Run collectively conserve over 23 million acres of biodiversity and improve the lives of 750,000 people. And it all begins with taking that first step, with trusted partners to give you a helping hand.”
Here, Delphine and Julie reflect on why the 4Cs:
But why the 4Cs? Isn’t one C enough? It might seem daunting, but we promise it isn’t. In fact, by recognising that sustainability spans way beyond just environmental practises, and also includes indicators on employee retention, diversity, and respect for local tradition, you might well be far more sustainable than you originally thought.
Conservation remains vital. We’ve already lost 60% of terrestrial wildlife and 90% of the big ocean fish, yet only roughly 15% of the world’s land and 7% of the ocean is currently protected. Thriving ecosystems and biodiversity are integral to the survival of people and our planet, and there’s never been a more urgent need to safeguard them to support global needs. It’s essential that businesses maintain and improve the natural environment in and around their properties and safeguard its integrity through effective habitat, energy, water, and waste management.
What about Community? It’s proven that supporting the people who live closest to nature is one of the most effective ways to protect it and create a sustainable local economy. Indigenous Peoples and local communities have a vital role to play not only in safeguarding our natural world, but in creating richer, more meaningful travel experiences. Measuring community impact, ethical and inclusive labour, as well as your own employees’ engagement and wellbeing, gives businesses the tools to perform better and create a more positive impact for the communities around them.
Equally as important is safeguarding, restoring, and celebrating cultural heritage and diversity, which is crucial to our ability to innovate and evolve. As an industry that employs 173 million people, the tourism sector has a responsibility when it comes to building a workforce that reflects the needs of all members of society. Such a large workforce means greater opportunities for representation and the inclusion of minority groups – which also makes sense operationally. Upskilling and training local people and increasing the diversity of voices and opinions that influence a business not only makes operational sense but provides richer travel experiences.
Finally, Commerce – sustainability benefits businesses by increasing profitability, resilience, and continuity. By committing to business transparency, business resilience and future-proofing, and sustainable and ethical procurement – helping you work with vendors that share your values, which means greater impact throughout the supply chain – travel businesses can continue to do good work on the ground. Commerce is essential to offer reliable employment, be able to commit to long-term conservation goals, and encourage investment in sustainable business.
Our planet is undergoing profound and unprecedented environmental change, impacting communities across the globe. Our collective future depends on managing all aspects of our interconnected global society and ecosystems. But we cannot do it alone. Weeva and The Long Run want to lead by example, sharing insights and ideas and partnering to make being more sustainable as simple as possible.
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