As a pioneer in experiential travel in China, our business activities have an influence on communities and the environment. For us, this means making the right choices in how, where and with whom we do business – and crucially, being transparent about the underlying principles that guide our daily business decisions.
WildChina’s sustainability direction is rooted on supporting the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The bold agenda sets out a global framework to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change until 2030.
WildChina’s work has the potential to contribute, directly or indirectly, to all of the UNSDGs. Our approach to sustainability is in the areas of sustainable development of communities and fostering international understanding. Hence, WildChina focuses on the following goals:
In order to implement the above standards into our daily lives, WildChina is committed to creating comprehensive and systematic methods to include sustainability in day-to-day operations. Tools will developed in form of checklists and guidelines and are based on Leave No Trace SOPs and Travelife’s Guidelines.
Guidelines are developed for:
UN Global Compact
As part of UN Global Compact’s Early Adaptor Program, WildChina can benefit from its training courses, network and events, and new reporting system to help solidify the commitment to the UNSDGs and socially responsible and sustainable policies.
Leave No Trace
As a member of the Leave No Trace organization, we commit to following outdoor practices that are based on ethics that promote conservation and environmental stewardship. The organisation provides us with detailed and practical tools to conduct outdoor activities.
WildChina is committed to be ISO compliant. ISO 9001 are quality management principles that include a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement.
At WildChina we believe training is the key to success.
Sustainability Training by the accredited Travelife program will be available for all WildChina staff and partners. As a training, management and certification program, Travelife provides 16 online courses on a variety of topics, ranging from animal welfare to food waste management. The basic training course is based on the practical experiences of front-runner companies and leading educational institutes.
Chi Fan for Charity (CFFC) is the biggest city-wide charity organization in China. We have organized gala dinners in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong for the past 14 years, raising almost 10 million RMB to support 30+ charities across China.
From Our Eyes (乡村之眼 ) is a provincial-level private non-enterprise registered with the Yunnan Civil Affairs Department in 2015. In cooperation with rural community partners in western China, FOE promotes videography as a method of cultural preservation and education, advocacy for local ecological protection, and promotion of sustainable rural development and dialogue between the East and the West. FOE’s goal is to grow into a service and support platform in order to solve social problems systematically and in scale through participatory education.
One School (壹个村小), founded in 2007, is committed to the development of rural education assistance by providing “one-to-one” scholarship and growth support for teenagers in rural southwest China. It was established by volunteers and the administrative funds are all self-financed. 100% of all social donations are sent to rural students through the organization.
The preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity is a core part of WildChina’s mission, and as such, ensuring we work with providers that share our ethos in prioritizing the environment and the animals we work with is of paramount importance to us.
As part of this commitment, we have signed the World Animal Protection pledge and joined the WWF Sustainable Travel Alliance, which works to protect endangered species and spaces and aims to tackle global issues like climate change. We have also volunteered to join the UN Global Compact early adopter program, pledging our allegiance to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals which aim to combat issues including the environment, human rights, and animal welfare.
Additionally, we are in the process of obtaining Travelife’s prestigious sustainability certification, which includes individual animal welfare training available to our whole team and network of providers. This training ensures that each step of our supply chain is on the same page with animal welfare standards in our travel services, defined by the following ‘Five Freedoms’:
WildChina has made a commitment to environmentally sustainable practices both in the office and on our trips. As part of this commitment, we have integrated the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into our core mission. We are also a member of Leave No Trace, committing to outdoor practices that are based on ethics that promote conservation and environmental stewardship initiatives. A few examples of these commitments in practice are as follows:
WildChina Eduacation program in Hainan: We took students to Hainan to learn about sea turtle conservation in a one-week program focusing on learnings from on-site experts and hands-on sea turtle cleaning to see the effects first hand. This was designed around UNSDG #14 (life below water) and #3 (good health and wellbeing), and students had the option to apply for a UNITAR certification upon completion.
WildChina Education program in Fujian: We took students to the mangroves in Xiamen, Fujian to learn about the fragile ecosystems that exist here and the importance of conserving them for the good of the whole planet. Learnings focused on kayaking through the mangroves to see the larger ecosystems first hand and exploring the smaller ecosystems by collecting soil samples. This was designed around UNSDG #13 (climate action) #14 (life below water) and #15 (life on land).
WildChina team building in Zhejiang: Our leisure team met in Songyang, Zhejiang for an off-site team building. Part of this was a full day hike through the countryside which included collecting trash found along the way and educating local villagers on the importance of keeping our nature spaces clean.
As part of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #8 (decent work and economic growth) we are actively driving community initiatives that aim for inclusive and sustained economic growth. This goal involves increasing work opportunities, especially for young people, and protecting labor rights. A few examples of these commitments in practice are as follows:
We partnered with the local government in Songyang, Zhejiang on a sustainable rural tourism development project. This project’s aim was to revitalize a rural village that, due to the draw of larger cities, was facing a waning population, the majority of which was elderly. WildChina restored an dilapidated building now transformed into a coffee shop and creative space. In this space and the rest of the village, we have hosted community events, art shows, and other cultural activities around local craftsmen. The result is a growing interest in the rural area, and increased sustainable tourism (all the activities are centered around local people and businesses).
We launched “WildChina Bazaar”, an artisanal collective marketplace were local sellers from around the country can sell their items online, like Yunnan aged ham, Beijing hand-crafted chocolate, and the likes.
On the ground, our people are our focus. All of our guides and drivers are locals, our experiences feature lesser-known cultural activities led by local artisans and craftsmen/women, and we are always surveying new local boutiques to give our travelers the best accommodation options possible in every destination. We celebrate the diversity and rich heritage of our partners by supporting local businesses and traditions. By investing in authentic connections and bolstering existing practices, we aim to ensure their traditions are maintained for generations to come.
WildChina also enjoys bringing together the urban community to support rural communities in need. Since 2009, WildChina Corporate Services has been the organizing sponsor of Chi Fan for Charity, China’s premier charity dining event which takes place annually in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
Off the ground, WildChina founder Mei Zhang has recently grown into a Chinese social media influencer on the topic of sustainable travel. At the beginning of the pandemic, Chinese travel trends saw a forced shift from international to domestic travel, and then a further unexpected trend shift from luxury city travel to more adventurous countryside expeditions.
Mei began speaking on this change in Chinese travel interests in the media (CGTN, TONG, Caixin Global, etc) and then earlier this year, launched her own social media channel to promote sustainable travel (WildChina’s founding concept). Her Little Red Book following (China’s version of Instagram) grew from 0 to its current 200k+ in a matter of months. She uses this platform to promote sustainable travel practices both in China and out, as well as sustainable travel providers around the world. She also launched a virtual event series and a podcast, speaking with leading experts and conservationists around the globe.
Some of the topics covered range from Chinese pipa playing (a traditional instrument) to primate conservation (the guest for this event was Dr. Jane Goodall herself) to the development of AI (the guest for this event was Kai-Fu Lee).
WildChina’s aims to link each of the firms initiatives to a UN sustainable development goal in order to consistently align projects, events, and products to the sustainable standards we are committed to. A sustainable ambassador for each department will meet on a monthly basis to report the team’s progress and any initiatives that comply with Wild China’s standards.
The “Living it Daily” tools will assist our teams with tools to implement sustainability into daily operations more effortlessly.
GOAL 8: DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Tourism is one of the driving forces of global economic growth and currently provides for 1 in 11 jobs worldwide. We actively drive community initiatives that aim for inclusive and sustained economic growth – the goal involves increasing work opportunities, especially for young people, and protecting people’s Labour rights, for example. We also have a clear stance against certain activities that we will not do.
GOAL 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
WildChina is committed to better understanding the impact of our activities and to working with clients and partners to drive sustainable progress. Achieving sustainable economic development requires that we evaluate and reduce our consumption and production. We set stringent service audits and standards that each journey should abide by.
We drive responsible consumption and production through our service standards and audits. We partner with industry leaders whose activities consider people, society, and the environment.
GOAL 16: PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS
At our very core, we are passionate about authentic travel that connects us and fosters mutual understanding across societies. From the very beginning, our work has always centered around engaging and empowering host communities, while embracing and celebrating their cultural identity.
We are cognizant of activities our travelers should be involved with that embrace these values, foster multicultural tolerance and understanding, laying the foundation for more peaceful societies.
GOAL 17: PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS
With a world that is as interconnected as ever, we believe that travel can help achieve sustainable development through cross-sector cooperation.
In doing so, we work with institutions, multinational enterprises, NGOs, and government to advance our understanding of the sustainable development goals and capture impact opportunities.