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Caring about the environment and its people

In a world increasingly aware of the harm that tourism can do, helping to protect the environment - both at home and overseas - is very important to us.

Headwater holidays are all about getting you to places you can't go in a car and, as such, are much more environmentally friendly than traditional "fly and flop" fortnights on the beach! In fact, last year, Headwater walkers hiked a staggering 462,000 kilometres; our cyclists pedalled an amazing 520,000 kilometres; our canoeists paddled an impressive 9,000 kilometres, and our dedicated cross country skiers notched up a further 39,000 kilometres. That makes a record-breaking total of 1,030,000 carbon neutral kilometres in just 12 months!

In addition to the careful planning that goes into each and every one of our tours, we also have a policy of operating our office in a responsible manner - to reduce the impact on our local environment.

  • We turn off all lights, printers, photocopiers and PC's at the end of each day: a PC monitor switched off overnight saves enough energy to microwave six meals; leaving a computer on 24/7 costs four times more than if you switch it off; a photocopies left on overnight uses enough energy to produce over 1,500 copies
  • We use energy efficient light bulbs and make sure they're regularly cleaned - dirty bulbs can reduce the amount of effective light by over 25%
  • We've turned down every radiator by 1 degree in a bid to reduce energy consumption by as much as 10%
  • All our brochures are printed on paper from sustainable sources and sent in bio-degradable packaging
  • We strive to reduce paper consumption and, what we do use, we recycle
  • We recycle all our used laser printer and inkjet cartridges

What we do in the office - read more ↓

Our sustainability ratings

As an environmentally responsible tour operator we’ve added a sustainability score to each holiday – look out for these on the individual holiday pages. This is a percentage score based on the environmental impact of each element of the tour from the point of arrival in the holiday area. This includes all local transportation and transfers as well as the environmental awareness of the local suppliers that ‘service’ a Headwater holiday – anything from the food miles involved in the hotel chef sourcing his ingredients to how responsible the hotel’s policy is on the washing of linen, towels and napkins.

We’ve also assessed the part our customers can play in sustainability too by awarding higher scores to holiday itineraries that provide the opportunity to inject cash into local communities through perhaps buying local souvenirs, visiting local heritage attractions and eating out in cafés and restaurants in small towns and villages.

We work closely with our suppliers and overseas partners to actively encourage them to act responsibly, right from the earliest stages of planning a tour, through to delivering your holiday when you arrive.

  • We encourage hoteliers to recycle wherever possible and we look to work with accommodations who have an eco-policy
  • We support hoteliers who cultivate their own fruit, vegetables, wine, meat, oils, etc. Many of our hoteliers are part of farming communities that have lived off the land for centuries so their menus are based on fresh, home-grown produce requiring little or no transportation
  • We suggest that hoteliers adopt water saving policies - showers instead of baths; towels not replaced daily, etc
  • We advise hoteliers to replace traditional light bulbs with energy efficient ones - typically 75% more efficient
  • All our guides/reps' polo shirts are produced with organic cotton, Fair Trade & Climate Neutral - certified by the Soil Association, Fair Wear Foundation & the Carbon Trust.
  • All our vehicles are kept in tip-top condition and maintained to manufactures specifications to reduce fuel consumption.

What we do overseas - read more ↓

How you can help

By thinking about how you choose your holiday, and how you travel, you can reduce energy consumption and waste - whilst still enjoying your travels to the full.

With the ever growing awareness of our impact on the planet, many people are now looking into ways to reduce their carbon emissions or to offset their effects. In addition to alternative travel choices, we encourage our customers to offset the carbon emissions from their travel to help reduce environmental impact.

With the ever growing awareness of our impact on the planet, many people are now looking into ways to reduce their carbon emissions or to offset their effects. Many of our European destinations can be reached by a combination of Eurostar and high-speed rail links (with lower emissions than an equivalent flight) - and our sales team will be happy to provide you with a tailor-made quote for Eurostar/rail packages where this is possible. However you choose to travel you can easily calculate the carbon emissions for your journey and make a donation to offset their effects.

World Land TrustThe World Land Trust is an international conservation charity, supported by Sir David Attenborough and Bill Oddie. Since its foundation in 1989 as the World Wide Land Conservation Trust, the World Land Trust has been working to preserve the world's most biologically important and threatened lands, and has helped purchase and protect over 375,000 acres of habitats rich in wildlife, in Belize, Costa Rica, the Philippines, South America and the UK. The land they help to save is owned by local organisations, protected as nature reserves for the benefit of both wildlife and people.

The restoration ecology projects run by the World Land Trust under their Carbon Balanced programme deliver much more than a measurable offset for CO2 emissions and you can help them to continue their work by offsetting the carbon emissions for your holiday.

By thinking about how you choose your holiday, and how you travel, you can reduce energy consumption and waste - whilst still enjoying your travels to the full.

  • Off-setting carbon emissions and flying carbon neutral has significant positive impacts on global warming - and it's easy to do!
  • "Switch off" before leaving home for your holiday: turn down/off central heating and hot water systems; switch off all lights - using low energy bulbs in security lights; turn off appliances at the mains rather than leaving on stand-by
  • Re-cycle your Headwater brochure after your holiday or pass it on to a friend
  • Don't take litter on holiday with you: remove the packaging from clothing, toiletries, etc and recycle where possible
  • Buying locally made products is a great way to get under the skin of the place you're visiting and also hugely benefits the local community
  • Avoid buying any products made from endangered plants or wild animals
  • In countries where bargaining is normal, do it with good humour, bearing in mind that a small cash saving to you could be a significant amount of money to the seller
  • In your hotel(s), turn down/off the heating and air conditioning when not required; switch of lights when leaving a room, and turn the TV off rather than leaving on stand-by
  • Try to use water sparingly. Take showers instead of baths and let hotel staff know if you're happy to re-use towels rather than having them replaced daily

Other things to consider - read more ↓

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