We founded Vagaband on Principles of kindness and responsibility - to customers, clients, co-workers and partners, but also to the wider world. Sustainability is built into our culture as a company, and in the message we deliver. To us it’s more than just being “green”, it’s about making sure that the impact we have on the world is a positive one socially, ecologically and economically.
When it comes to keeping our ecological impact low, we don’t pull any punches: we’re all about travel, and we want to do everything in our power to keep the world a beautiful place. That means we have a range of policies in place to make sure Vagaband gives more than it takes:
- Vagaband Travellers’ ID’s are 100% recyclable, and are made of a tree-free polysubstrate called Polyart. Polyart is 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 right here in London: by reducing shipping distances and packaging weight we’ve ensured our Carbon footprint is something we can be proud of.
- All of our printed materials – from brochures to handouts – are printed on recycled paper
- Even the bands’ packaging is recyclable – and by keeping it light and minimal we make sure that you throw away as little as possible.
- We provide advice and education through every available channel on how to minimise ecological impact while travelling, and provide people with resources which allow them to research for themselves whether their planned destinations can sustain the impact of tourism.
- 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, and focuses on the vital importance of cultural sensitivity and understanding our place in the destinations we visit.
- We actively encourage people to explore outside their comfort zones by engaging actively 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 much more enriching travel can be when we engage with local businesses and have respect and awareness of local customs and values.
- We also are committed to using Vagabands for humanitarian causes around the world – with uses 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. Keeping production in-house, here in London, means we can personally oversee our production process, making sure that we 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 we consider it our responsibility to make sure that everybody we employ finds their time with us both gainful and joyful. Our employees’ happiness is our single biggest investment; it shows in their work, and it shows when they go home at the end of the day.
- 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 every supplier of every component of every product we create – 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 exploitive or unsustainable tourism which puts money in the pockets of criminals and traffickers. Ultimately every traveller is free to see the world in their own way; and we don’t like 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.