Vagaband has been built on two principles: kindness and responsibility. These principles permeate our interactions, not only with the people we work with, but also the wider world. To us, being sustainable is more than just being “green”; it’s about ensuring the impact we have on the world is socially, ecologically, and economically positive. Sustainability is built into our culture as a company, in the message as well as the product we deliver.
We are all about travel and we want to keep the world beautiful. Thus, when it comes to keeping our ecological impact low, we have policies in place. We want to make sure that Vagaband gives more than it takes:
- Our Travellers’ ID’s are 100% recyclable. More, they’re made of a tree-free polysubstrate called Polyart, a material created by an independent paper mill located in France, which complies with the very highest ecological and sustainability standards.
- Everything we make is hand-made here in London. By reducing shipping distances and packaging weight, we’re able to say we have a Carbon Footprint we are proud of.
- All our printed materials – from brochures to handouts – are printed on recycled paper.
- By keeping it minimalistic we make sure that there is as little to throw away as possible, even the packaging of our bands is recyclable! Plus, the insert your band comes on can even be cut down and used as a bookmark rather than thrown away!
- We aim to be Carbon Negative by 2020.
Vagaband is rooted in a philosophy of immersive and interactive travel. We see every traveller as an ambassador to the world, and have made it part of our mission to encourage people to engage with local communities, customs and economies.
- Our Going Places course teaches young, independent travellers how to see the world from a new perspective: it creates a mentality of confidence and curiosity, focusing on the importance of cultural sensitivity and understanding in the destinations we visit.
- We actively encourage people to explore outside their comfort zones by engaging with the cultures they encounter while they travel. This means using online content (printed literature, classes, talks and seminars) to show our fellow travellers how travel can be enriched through engagement with local businesses and awareness of local customs and values.
- We are committed to using Vagabands to aid humanitarian causes around the world. When there is opportunity to help we will always rise to the occasion, with uses of Vagabands ranging from the identification of natural disaster victims and refugees, to helping the elderly or mentally ill communicate their medical and personal needs.
- We’re equally passionate about social sustainability here on the home front. By keeping production in-house, we are able to oversee the entire production process and adhere to the very highest standards of health & safety and employee welfare.
The average person spends 35% of their adult life at work. Work conditions play a huge role in people’s mental and physical health, and that’s why our employees’ happiness is our single biggest investment. We consider it our responsibility to make sure that everybody we employ finds their time with us both beneficial and joyful, and it shows in their work.
- We are committed to providing a London living wage to every Vagaband employee, and have a 0% wage-gap. We have also enacted a policy which states that executives’ pay is not fixed, and is instead based on their performance and competence, not on their title.
- We are equal-opportunity employers, and every hire we make is based exclusively on merit. Regardless of socio-economic background, sexual identity, race or religion, we believe firmly that nobody should be denied an opportunity to excel.
- We carefully vet the suppliers of every component going into our products – this is how we make sure that not a single penny of Vagaband’s money goes to companies which exploit or underpay their own employees.
- A key part of our mission is to educate the travellers of the world on how to avoid the exploitive and unsustainable tourism putting money in the pockets of criminals and traffickers. Ultimately, every traveller is free to see the world in their own way; and we hate to moralise or preach, but there are certain activities we condemn in the strongest possible terms. These include: visiting Tiger Temples in South-East Asia, paying for elephant rides in India, going on “Narco-Tours” of South American Favelas, and of course engaging in sex-tourism or taking advantage of corruption in other countries.
- We encourage all travellers to contribute to local economies when they travel, and to be sensitive to their relative prosperity when visiting less-developed countries.
- We also are committed to ensuring that travellers undertaking volunteer work abroad are not unknowingly taking part in exploitive practices that do not benefit the communities they visit: we provide people with the resources they need to check the validity and sustainability of NGO’s and charities around the world.