One of the first travel companies to become B Corp certified in the UK is now encouraging others to do the same.
Pura Aventura has always championed sustainable travel – but it’s only recently started to shout about it. Here, CEO and co-founder Thomas Power tells us about the company’s B Corp journey…
Launched in 1999, Pura Aventura has always done things differently. “Sustainability was always built into what we do,” explains co-founder and CEO, Thomas Power. “We did it before anyone really knew what sustainability was. We put every trip together by hand, always used small, owner-run accommodation, and were very aware of issues such as economic leakage and protecting biodiversity.”
Focussing on adventure and walking holidays in Latin America, Spain and Portugal, in 2020 the company became one of the first travel companies in the UK to be certified B Corp, which measures a company’s entire social and environmental impact. They’ve also won various sustainability awards for their Travel Positive ethos, and have been highlighted by Which? as “meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance”.
“We’re at a tipping point right now,” Power says. “The younger generation is hugely invested in environmental issues. Greta Thunberg has had a massive impact, and that’s being transferred to the older generations, who are going on trips, seeing the world and coming back changed. They have that sense of legacy.” Families, too, he says, are becoming increasingly interested in sustainable travel, again spurred on by the push factor of children informing their parents.
B Corp certification made sense for Pura Aventura, he explains, as they didn’t see it as a convenient label or a badge. “It’s not just about sustainable travel. Becoming B Corp certified affects every part of the business, from buying computers or updating phone contracts, to thinking about what we’re doing about carbon. It’s all of it.”
Pura Aventura was also the founding partner of Travel By B Corp with Intrepid Travel, encouraging others in the travel industry to become certified. There are now 26 members, many of them competitors.
“Much like Travalyst, where members share data and insights, we work together and share best practice and knowledge on a really granular level. It’s a remarkably collaborative space.” Companies are put off, he explains, because they think becoming B Corp certified is a monumental task, but it’s actually a work in progress. “You can improve as you’re going through the process, which makes it much more manageable,” Power says. “It’s less scary than you think.”