The mountains are refuges for many of the planet's most rare animal and flower species. Yet these refuges are increasingly threatened by advancing changes to the land and by changing climate patterns. Glaciers are retreating and permafrost is melting at alarming rates. At Alpine Treks we respect the nature and all of it’s inhabitants. We are committed to running our business and our trips in a way that minimise the negative impacts on the environment. We believe that the saying “Take only memories, leave only footprints” is more valid today than it ever was. We also believe that it is important to preserve the local culture and support the local communities in the areas we visit. We kindly ask that our group members do the same on our trips.
Below is what we do to achieve this.
On the Road
Transportation is probably the biggest culprit in terms of environmental impact from the type of trips we run, and most of that is caused by travel to the destination. But there is a lot that can be done to minimise the impact from transportation. Here’s what we do:
- We use public transportation on our tours wherever feasible.
- We only use own and private vehicles when necessary.
- We maintain, and drive, our own vehicles in a way that maximises fuel efficiency.
- We suggest that our members offset the CO2 emissions caused by their travel to the destination through ClimateCare or similar organisations.
- We suggest that our members use shared transfers, public transportation or ride share initiatives such as MountainRideShare.
- We support local initiatives (such as the “Association pour le Respect du Site du Mont-Blanc”) to keep traffic pollution in the Chamonix valley down.
On the trail
The type of trips we run are sustainable in nature. The emphasis is to explore, enjoy and learn about the natural mountain environment and the local culture. Specifically, we do the following:
- We run our trips in small group sizes to minimise noise pollution and overuse of the trails.
- We stay on marked trails and avoid creating unnecessary damage/erosion of the land.
- We don’t destroy or interfere with the local flora and fauna.
- We carry our garbage out with us.
- We use dedicated toilet facilities.
- We advice members on where they can source water from local streams rather than buying bottled water.
- We don’t utilise dedicated support vehicles to follow each of our groups. Instead we use independent transport companies local to specific parts of the route who are are able to support several groups on each local journey they make, thereby significantly reducing the impact on each of our groups..
- We try to stop at cafes and mountain huts along the trail. Not only do most of these places have an interesting history and are of local cultural importance, but by buying a coffee and a piece of home made pie from them we help support the local economy.
- We educate our members in the fragility of the environment and encourage them to adapt a responsible attitude.
Where we spend the night is just as important as what we do on the trail in terms of providing a responsible travel experience, which minimises the impact on the environment and is authentic to the local culture. Therefore we do the following:
- Wherever possible, we use small, family-run accommodation providers who share our views on the environment. Many have been in the family for generations and maintain local customs and serves local food. Some even generate their own energy from renewable sources.
- We buy our food where we spend the night, which means that we use more local produce and that we help support the local economy rather than large super market chains.
- We encourage members to consume minimum energy when staying in accommodation with sparse supply, e.g. take short showers, not to do laundry and only charge electronics when absolutely necessary.
- We encourage our members to speak the local language and take part in the local customs.
In the Office
We run a lean business with the environment in mind. We don’t have big offices and administrative systems, which consume energy and create waste. Specifically, we do the following:
- We run the business almost exclusively on a paperless basis, including our marketing initiatives.
- We buy computer hardware that meets the strictest energy efficiency requirements, uses fewer toxic substances and more recyclable materials.
- We use a green hosting partner for our website.
- We use recycled stationary wherever possible.
- We recycle everything that is recyclable.
- We (partially) use renewable energy sources to heat our office space.
What can you do?
Please read our Responsible Travel Tips to see how you can help, by clicking here.