Toronto-based nonprofit Planeterra has been able to launch social enterprise projects worldwide in part because of the arrangement it has with G Adventures, the Canadian tour operator that currently organizes trips for over 200,000 travelers a year.
G Adventures has long committed to covering Planeterra’s operating costs, which means that 100 percent of all other public and corporate donations can be directed towards the NGO’s various projects. Funds that other organizations provide to Planterra help support the nonprofit’s programs, with none of those monies going to administrative costs such as technology, human resources or employee training.
One organization that has assisted in supporting Planeterra’s work in recent years is Deloitte.
The global consultancy is among the companies that have participated in Planeterra’s 50 in 5 Campaign, which has aimed to raise $5 million CAD (US$ 3.9 million) to launch 50 new social enterprise projects worldwide by 2020.
The results of Deloitte’s philanthropy, granted without any strings attached, have contributed to Planeterra’s staff being able to make a difference in countries where women often find themselves at an economic and social disadvantage largely due to conventional views about gender roles.
One project that has allowed to thrive in part because of these corporate donations is Women on Wheels, a project in which Planeterra works with Delhi-based Azad Foundation. The program focuses on disadvantaged women from resource-poor urban areas across India to empower them so that they can become professional automobile drivers. The project provides a full suite of training programs so that these women can score the skills and confidence so they become self-sustaining - and in turn, they are often contracted to pick up single women about to travel in the country on a G Adventures tour.
Planeterra says these women working with this program have drastically increased their incomes, often making them the primary breadwinners in their household. Prior to the launch of its partner's training initiative, these families’ average household income was around US $30 for a family of four. But after becoming a chauffeur for Women on Wheels, these same women have seen a ten-fold increase in their monthly income to about US$40 a month.
The result is a more sustainable supply chain: workers are treated fairly and rise out of poverty, while a company such as G Adventures ends up with a differentiated service - leaving all stakeholders better off by this innovative path towards more responsible and sustainable travel.
Image credit: Azad Foundation/Facebook
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.