Our Eco Credentials
Since 2007 we have been operating our tours with Nature Tourism certification and a certificate of Accredited Tourism Business Australia. The Eco Certification Program was a world first by Ecotourism Australia. It was developed by industry for industry, addressing the need to identify genuine ecotourism and nature tourism operators in Australia.
• We are committed to ecological sustainability and the provision of quality ecotourism experiences
• We value the social, cultural, historical and natural diversity of Australia and Italy
• We value cultural and natural integrity and authenticity in business
• We will eliminate any practice that is unacceptably damaging to the environment, heritage or indigenous culture
We aim to educate our clients about sustainable tourism. We adopt a “carry it in – carry it out” policy and pick up litter left by others where appropriate. Our small group minimal impact tours ensure we leave nothing behind other than footprints. We are keen to educate our clients about the flora and fauna of the areas we walk in, and advise at the start of a tour how to minimise impact on the environment by, for example, not picking wild flowers, not disturbing the habitats of birds or animals and not smoking.
Although our business means that we travel by air on a regular basis we offset all our flights. There are many businesses which offer to offset carbon emissions. We believe this should be part of a wider environmental policy and would always encourage clients to consider this. Two companies who have comprehensive websites on this topic are:
• Australia: Carbon Neutral: Turn Emissions into Trees
• UK: Co2 Balance
We support local communities and businesses. Except in exceptional cases, we stay in locally owned and managed hotels, and we choose our partners carefully based on their environmental practice.
Food and Water
We eat in local restaurants and our picnics are prepared using local products. We only buy seasonally available produce and we shop in small stores or farmers markets to minimize the number of “food miles” in the meals we serve. We avoid wasteful and unnecessary packaging of food items. We are members of the Slow Food association and fully support traditional methods of food production and always aim to offer the most authentic menus possible. We also grow our own salads and vegetables for use on our tours and have composting and recycling systems in place. We endeavour never to buy water in plastic bottles and we encourage clients to use our stainless steel bottles which can be re-used time and again. We carry four litre water containers which are re-filled from the tap.
Hedonistic Hiking operates out of 2 offices. We operate our offices in an environmentally responsible way. Head Office is in Porepunkah, Australia. Recently renovated, it is a very energy efficient building with double glazing, rainwater tanks, passive solar design and solar hot water. We use fans instead of air-conditioning and have blinds to keep the heat out in high summer. Our second office is in Italy. The 15th century building is designed to keep cool in summer and warm in winter. In both locations we compost food scraps and adopt a reduce, re-use then recycle policy wherever possible. We walk, cycle or use public transport wherever possible.
In June 2012 we achieved Eco Certification IV at the Nature Tourism level which is the latest programme developed in Australia. For more information visit Ecotourism Australia.