- To ensure we’re consistently working towards protecting the environment and using resources in an efficient, fair and responsible way.
- To ensure that our trips are designed in a way that limits the physical impact on the destinations we visit, so that they may be enjoyed by many generations to come.
The majority of YESD tours are Carbon Offset – that’s over 500 tours! We measure and offset the main sources of emissions created on our tours.
Our trips are also low-impact by design. We try to use public transport wherever possible, stay in locally owned and energy efficient accommodation. We also strive to eat at locally-owned restaurants on our tours where the food has been locally sourced, therefore reducing food-mile emissions.
To minimise carbon emissions on YESD tours, we make the following considerations:
Local services – We engage locally-owned and operated services, supporting local people and not using carbon-intensive supply chains.
Local transport – We use local public transport wherever we can to reduce fuel usage per passenger. Water conservation – We support initiatives that encourage conservative use of water and hot water such as low-flow shower roses.
Local food and goods – We endeavor to include and strongly encourage our tourists to purchase locally produced food and goods. This reduces the ’embodied energy’ (energy consumed through production and transport) of the food and goods purchased by our passengers.
Water bottles – We encourage our passengers to refill their water bottles from water ‘bubblers’ where available to avoid the unnecessary purchase of bottled water and the subsequent waste disposal issues.
Economic empowerment – Economic empowerment of local communities through tourism can help improve education and health services, water supplies and sanitation and reduce dependence on non-sustainable livelihoods such as deforestation.
Local employment – We communicate with local leaders and guides so that we can learn about their culture and way of life and put money into local hands and economies. This allows YESD to learn from indigenous rural communities, their relationship to the land and how they’ve practiced sustainable agriculture for centuries.
Recycling – YESD leaders also promote awareness of how tourists can reduce, reuse, recycle and the appropriate ways to dispose of waste on their tours.
YESD adopts the following principles to manage our environmental footprint in our office:
- Food – We save leftover food for farmers who raise pigs or chickens. We use water filtering systems instead of buying water regularly.
- Paper – We have significantly reduced paper and our contribution to land-fill waste. We minimise the number of business trips taken by management and staff.
This is how we’re greening our office spaces:
- We use Green Power energy (if available) in our offices. ‘
- Reduce, reuse and recycle’ policies for our paper usage. All office paper and paper products are recycled where possible. Double-sided printing is the default setting on all printers.
- We’re conscious that our brochures consume a lot of paper, so since 2017 we’ve made a plan of an annual tree planting day. In June of this year 2017, with the help of YESD staff and some of our tourists we planted over 100 trees.
- We are calling for donations for solar power bulbs and then we will send them to some poor families in Vietnam’s remote areas.
- We will organise regular presentations for staff on sustainability issues including topics such as waste reduction, sustainable seafood and ethically sourced paper.
- We encourage the use of public transport or walking.
Our trips are designed to ensure that we support local communities by:
- Hiring local leaders and staff where YESD operate, contributing directly to local employment and ensuring competitive local remuneration.
- Using locally owned ground transportation and accommodation.
- Recommending local eateries and stores to our tourists.
- Incorporating local public transport into our trips where possible.
- Investing in renewable energy projects which support the local economy through temporary and permanent employment, as well as contributing to the communities’ infrastructure.
- Creating procurement policies.
- Accommodation and food: YESD encourages all homestays to use their own homemade or locally produced products and food to promote and develop the local economy and raise income for local households. Tourists should enjoy food at the homestays they stay in to support their hosts and contribute poverty reduction.
- We do not use the crooking sign to call someone, as it is regarded as impolite and disrespectful.
- Showing affection in public is considered quite offensive – definitely no kissing! Away from the major urban centers it is extremely rare to see couples holding hands, though it is quite common to see friends of the same sex holding hands.
- It is polite to remove your shoes before entering a house.
- Criticism should only be given when coupled with praise.
- It is inappropriate to express anger in a raised voice. Becoming angry is embarrassing to the local people with whom you are dealing – they will not be embarrassed for themselves, but for you. “Saving face” is a subtle, but important standard of personal dignity.
- Vietnamese people are friendly, open and ever-ready to ask questions like; Where you are going? Are you married? How old are you? Tourists will likely be asked these questions while on holiday. In a Western society they may be considered personal questions, so be prepared and understand that your local hosts are not being ‘nosey’ but politely interested in you.
- Always ask permission before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes if they refuse. For example, in some remote areas it’s disrespectful to take photos of a funeral or a host family’s altar.
- YESD does not allow travelers to use illegal drugs like opium, marijuana while on a tour. Foreigners are not exempt from penalties if convicted of drug use or possession. You will be asked to leave the tour if you are found to be using or carrying illegal drugs. The use of alcohol also needs to be carefully considered, especially in smaller villages and tribal regions. In these areas our ‘privileged’ status brings with it a responsibility to promote the good in our cultures and not the excesses.
- Avoid giving Western medicines to our hosts. They may not understand how to apply it. If you are a doctor, it may be better not to reveal your profession too readily, or you might find yourself with a queue of patients and be left in a dilemma. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule in the case of emergencies. If a local is seriously injured and in a potentially life threatening situation, then they should be given the appropriate first aid treatment which may include medication. However, remain aware of the potential dangers of reactions to drugs and try to get them to medical help as soon as possible.
Some of our initiatives include:
- Providing training to all our leaders on safety and social issues in the areas they operate to help them educate tourists on matters such as local customs, cultural etiquette, religion, prostitution and child safety.
- Providing HIV/AIDS training to our staff and leaders in high-risk regions.
- Employment and supplier policies which support and encourage fair practices.
Providing support for many grass-root not-for-profit organisations globally to help advance local communities.
YESD has specific annual goals to increase annual donations towards our community development programs.
Visits to community projects on trips to raise awareness and engage tourism support for the projects.
Organising guest speakers to regularly speak in our communities to help raise awareness on various topics.
Be aware that it is taboo in some of the communities we visit to conduct an intimate relationship with a local person. Homosexuality is not as accepted in Asia. Ask your guide leader to know more about local taboos.
The solicitation of prostitutes is illegal and we are strongly opposed to any tourists visiting prostitutes while in Asia. We never encourage child sexual abuse and human trafficking. Please, report to the local or international authorities if you have any suspicious of this illegal behaviour being undertaken.
YESD supports a number of volunteer projects and charities. Visit our website or ask your tour guide about making a donation. We collect clothing, first-aid items, stationery and children’s books. We ensure that they go directly to the requested charity or project.
Do not give to begging children as it reinforces that begging is an acceptable way to make a living. It is best to follow the guidelines set by local people in how they treat beggars in their community e.g. in many places it is considered acceptable to give to the elderly and disabled since there is no social security or other way these people can earn money. Buddhists believe giving to beggars will earn them ‘merit’. Your tour leader can advise you further on this.
Do not give sweets to children in the villages that we visit. Avoid feeling that you necessarily have to give material things. The best giving can sometimes be shared interactions like a smile, joke, song, dance or playing a game. Giving up your time to interact with locals can be the best gift of all.
Please refuse to buy any souvenirs, food or products made from local wildlife – this includes snake-wine, bear, bats, frogs, turtles and sea horses, which are highly endangered and we should not encourage their demise. Where possible avoid restaurants that make a feature of wild endangered animal species on their menus. If you see an abuse of animals or wildlife, report this to the Education for Nature Vietnam’s (ENV) toll free hotline on 1800-1522 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.