beCuriou Impact Report 2021
- by Vebjørn Walen Simensen and Lesley Sykes
In this report, learn about some of our 2021/2022 Impact Travel initiatives, and commitment to becoming a climate neutral company.
beCuriou aims to be the world leader in Impact Travel, which we define as bridging the gaps between quality travel experiences, finance, and social and environmental change. In essence, this means that we partner with organizations and foundations that share our vision of using travel as a means for this change, in a way that enhances the overall travel experience for our clients. Through this work with many of the world’s leading Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and philanthropic projects, we want to create lasting, innovative and progressive change in our industry.
In this report, you can read more about some of our 2021/2022 Impact Travel initiatives, inclusive of exciting travel choices, where we combine the best of high-end travel with exceptional social and environmental impact experiences. We hope this can help enhance our clients’ insight into different destinations.
A Carbon Neutral Travel Partner In 2021 we have committed to becoming a 100 percent climate neutral company and sign the UN sustainable development goals. Tourism is responsible for roughly 8 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, making it a significant contributor to climate change, and we feel obligated to do our part and show that it’s possible to achieve success in the travel industry, while being responsible and caring for the climate.
Carbon offsetting is also something we offer our travelers, enabling them to easily compensate for the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions produced by their trips. This is normally done by purchasing carbon offset credits equivalent to the quantity of emissions caused by a particular trip, meaning that one compensates for the emissions of a trip by reducing emissions elsewhere. With our thoroughly vetted project partners, through the UN program, we will work together with the client to invest their credits in certified carbon reduction projects.
Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) & IIX Foundation IIX is an impact investment company and a global leader in sustainability, endorsed by the likes of Rockefeller Foundation, United Nations Women, several international financial institutions and many more. IIX was founded by Professor Durreen Shahnaz, who grew up in Bangladesh and the Philippines, and later started her career as the first ever female Bangladeshi investment banker on Wall Street. At the height of the global financial crisis in 2009, as the world reflected on the true role of financial markets in human wellbeing, Durreen decided to launch herself into impact investment.
The IIX Foundation is one of our close ESG partners, with projects in nearly every Asian country, including Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar, Hong Kong and Vietnam. They are dedicated to empowering enterprises that are innovating solutions for women’s empowerment, climate action, and community resilience, while valuing and including their most vulnerable beneficiaries in financial systems. An example of such a project is one of the world’s most special chocolate factories in Bali. Here, our clients can meet and converse with Sabrina, the founder and CEO, to learn more about the woman-led bean-to-bar chocolate maker, with the mission of improving the livelihoods of Indonesian cocoa farmers, whilst dicussing the challenges and opportunities of the destination. Prior to founding the company, Sabrina worked at McKinsey, with a focus on climate change and agriculture related topics.
In addition to supporting their incredible projects this year, beCuriou was a proud partner of a global charityauction called SHE IS MORE. The auction is organized annually by IIX Foundation to support women across all stages of their journey to empowerment through job creation with gender equality as a strong focus point.. The auction is organized annually by IIX Foundation, to support women across all stages of their journey to empowerment, to create a gender equal world for the next generation. The auction theme was SHE IS COURAGE, in celebration of all the women who are courageously protecting our people and planet while risking their lives on the frontlines of the global COVID-19 resilience campaign.
Accompanied by incredible artworks, we contributed tailor made travel experiences across a range of destinations, all of which were auctioned off to sustainably conscious travel enthusiasts across the globe. In total, beCuriou were responsible for raising approximately one third of the total auction proceedings, which went to support underserved women and youth in Asia and Africa in obtaining new skills, access training, and create livelihood opportunities – all in the midst of a pandemic.
Africa Foundation Africa Foundation – endorsed and partially owned by the renowned Getty Foundation – was founded in 1992 to uplift, up-skill and empower people living in key rural communities close to conservation areas throughout Africa. It is our shared belief that for true development to take place, one needs to nurture, protect and preserve not only the natural environment and wildlife, but the people, their cultures and their customs. With various projects and initiatives within healthcare, education, conservation, clean water and rural business development, we are proud to be able to bring our travelers closer to the real African culture and successful impact projects through our partnership.
With the African safari being one of our most popular travel choices, our close connection with Africa Foundation allows us to connect our clients with their great cultural and environmental initiatives around the national parks in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania. The experiences can vary from interactions with owners, project managers, teachers and students at local development projects and village visits, to rhino rescue, cheetah population monitoring and coral reef restoration – for all those who want a more in-depth experience of Africa.
Project Playground Princess Sofia of Sweden – at the time Sofia Hellqvist – and Frida Vesterberg founded Project Playground in 2010. Project Playground is a South African and Swedish non-profit organization working towards global sustainable change and increased equality for underprivileged children and youth. Their methods focus on each individual childs self-realisation and self-actualization, through a holistic approach, ultimately fostering a more peaceful, democratic and equal society. With centres in Cape Town, South Africa and Hallonbergen, Sweden, their work is innovative, effective and exceptionally impactful.
beCuriou is proud to support the global work of Project Playground. When in Cape Town beCuriou will facilitate an interactive visit to their Gugulethu Township crèche (nursery) for children aged 3 to 6 and conversing with their incredible staff and management. The school dropout rate in South Africa is approximately 50 percent, which is partially caused by lack of school readiness when children enter into the formal education system. By spending time at the crèche, our clients will experience first hand the innovative, heartwarming and powerful work in this space which creates immense joy, happiness and opportunity for these otherwise disadvantaged children.
Manchester United Foundation The Manchester United Foundation uses football to engage and inspire the youth to build a better life for themselves and unite the communities in which they live. Dedicated staff deliver educational and community outreach programmes to help young people make positive choices in their lives. Using football and the inspiration of Manchester United to deliver bespoke programmes to support the learning, life skills and wellbeing of young people in educational settings from primary school to further education and beyond is their core and committed approach. With almost 19,000 participants across all projects and schools, 48 percent female and close to 1,400 external charities also supported by the Foundation, their work is humbling. beCuriou is working with the Foundation to create a unique and exhilarating football travel experience for our clients. By exposing our travelers to the wonderful work of the Foundation with a visit to a project such as the Carrick's Street Reds, a brilliant match day experience at Old Trafford in a privatized box and the opportunity to become an extended member of the club for a weekend, we aim to support this amazing Foundation and its truly exceptional work for its communities and the sport of football.
RanMarine and its WasteShark Each year some ten million tons of used plastic enters our oceans via land, through sites based on water, rivers carrying waste downstream or stormwater drains emptying directly into the sea. RanMarine developed the WasteShark, an easily deployable, low-cost “robot” that can float on the surface of water and scoop up floating trash, removing it before it breaks down into microplastics which severely threaten global marine life.
beCuriou champions this innovative and hugely progressive invention seen in cities such as Dubai, Cape Town and soon all of Disney & Universal Studios properties, whose waterways will benefit from being clean, toxic free and environmentally vibrant spaces. Working with the likes of the WWF, the United Nations and concerned government entities, RanMarine is quickly being recognized as a modern day solution to the growing impact of the single use plastic pandemic. beCuriou, in partnership with the inventor & CEO of RanMarine, Richard Hardiman, will offer its clients the opportunity for a private interactions with Richard to experience the WasteShark in a commercial working space and assist in an actual waterway clean up.
Corporate trips and sustainability combined Corporate trips are a big part of our business and we have seen a huge increase in the number of corporations and businesses wanting to include ESG elements in their trips, often through fun and interactive activities. These activities can be tailored to each client’s specific requests with a strong focus on weaving in their own businesses core ESG or philanthropic focal points. This year we have had the pleasure of working with marine biologists, renewable energy specialists and sustainability experts to create engaging and impactful activities for larger groups. We have included a few examples of some of these experiences:
On a group ocean expedition, our clients will be joined by a team of marine biologists and scientists, and head out on an ocean expedition, where they will actively contribute to important oceanic research and gathering of data for a global scientific database. Along the way they will be able to partake in many different activities, that can also be part of a team competition, like catch and release of marine species, to tag them with monitoring devices, snorkeling scavenger hunt with underwater cameras, to photograph as many different marine life forms as possible, freediving to collect samples from coral reefs and analyzing the data onboard, and much more.
Those who want to conduct scientific experiments in a group will be accompanied by experts in the field of clean and renewable energy, and experience engaging and educational science for adults. They will learn to harness the power of the elements and natural forces, and create practical devices powered by sustainable energy, like building a solar powered cooking station, on which the chef will eventually make lunch, turn plants into biofuel, build their own miniature wind-turbine and much more.
In our MasterChef cook-off, organized by local chefs, the mission is simple: create and cook a three-course menu, which will be served to a group of less fortunate members of the society. Each team will be assigned a professional chef, who will give tips and pointers along the way, and after serving the different menus, each team will be evaluated by the diners, as well as the professional chefs, and a winning team will be announced.
To our clients and partners: thank you Lastly, we would like to thank our clients and partners for supporting, encouraging and assisting us in our work to merge high-end travel experiences with sustainability, impact and outreach. Although we feel very privileged that we’ve made so much progress thus far, there is still a lot that can be done. We look forward to refining and improving our support for global philanthropic and ESG outreach programmes through travel activities which enrich each of our clients experiences.
beCuriou is determined and committed to ensuring that these adventures are even more memorable, engaging and sustainably impactful. Fully tailor made at our clients’ discretion and according to their preferences.