We currently promote over 150 sustainable volunteer & travel programs in 50 countries. Our programs focus on wildlife conservation, marine conservation, animal care, education, child care and medical care. We carefully select and vet our partners, thus insuring the authenticity and the legitimacy of the projects we support. We prioritize programs that conduct research and have long-term sustainable goals.
GoEco impacts can be measured on two levels:
1. GoEco is the first tour operator in the world to apply the “Ecological Footprint” (EF) methodology to assess the sustainability of volunteer tourism through its own programs. The EF model is the best way to measure the full sustainable cycle of a tourist from their departure to their return home.
2. GoEco partners with organizations around the globe that produce quarterly reports including achievements on the ground and research updates. Our partners inform us of their sustainable goals and how these goals are being made a reality by volunteers. Our community aid programs provide us with statistics on the number of children who have improved their English skills, learned to swim or have achieved a personal goal. Our rehabilitative wildlife programs send statistics on the number of animals they have rescued, rehabilitated and/or released.
Five Highlighted Sustainable Volunteer Programs:
1. Teach, Surf and Skate in Cape Town.
Volunteers and their dedication to this program have resulted in over 300 children learning to swim, which is a skill they will be able to use for the rest of their lives, and over 80 children from these local settlements have learned to surf.
2. Private Island Marine Experience.
Volunteers on this program helped to discover two new breeding grounds for the endangered conch population. This program is also the leader in invasive lionfish removal in all of Belize, with estimates of 7,000 removals and over 1,500 research-based dissections having been done so far this year alone!
3. Sustainable Community Development.
This community aid program in Cambodia evolves as the needs of the community change. For example, this program currently involves teaching at a school that was physically built by some of its very first volunteers!
4. Whale Shark and Marine Conservation.
This research-focused program in Mozambique has identified over 400 different whale sharks and added them all to a global whale shark database that is accessed by marine biologists and conservationists alike for research purposes.
5. Orangutan and Wildlife Rescue Center.
This program in Indonesia rescued 17 animals and released 20 in the year 2017 and provides a safe haven for the endangered orangutans of Indonesia who are suffering from habitat loss. The center is striving to increase the number of rehabilitation and releases for 2018.
Additional program sustainability statistics can be provided, please just ask!
Five Ways GoEco Volunteers Promote Sustainable Travel:
1. Longer Durations of Stay. Flights are responsible for more than 80 percent of CO2 that is emitted while traveling. Thus, at GoEco we encourage our participants to enjoy longer stays abroad. The average of stay of a GoEco volunteer is four weeks, compared to less than one week globally! In 2016, GoEco sent 2,500 volunteers to volunteer abroad, with an average duration stay of 4.5 weeks. Longer stays both significantly reduce the ecological footprint of our participants and also increase the volunteer program’s overall impact.
2. Waste Reduction: Our partners emphasize recycling and use reusable materials on their volunteer programs.
3. Energy-Saving Tactics: We use local accommodations, such as hostels, campuses, eco-lodges and home stays that use minimal energy and water per participant, unlike big, five-star resorts that have large ecological footprints.
4. Public Transportation: In general, our volunteers don’t travel long-distances once they arrive to their destination country. However, when they do travel locally they use shared, local transportation as opposed to renting individual vehicles, thereby further reducing their carbon footprints.
5. Locally Grown Food: Most of the food on our programs is locally produced and oftentimes vegetarian, sometimes even vegan. Buying locally produced food helps to encourage local, sustainable farming.
To Sum Up...
GoEco is one of the most sustainable tour operators in the world. We are the only tour operator that measures that ecological footprint, impact and sustainability of our programs with the Ecological Footprint (EF) methodology. In addition to our initial vetting, we collect quarterly reports reflecting the accomplishments and impacts of our programs, and review feedback from our volunteers on a daily basis. In quarterly reports, the impacts of our programs are measured. Our community aid programs provide us with statistics on the number of children who have improved their English skills, learned to swim or have achieved a personal goal. Our rehabilitative wildlife programs send statistics on the number of animals they have rescued, rehabilitated and/or released.