TRAVELLING TOWARDS A GREEN PLANET
It was six years ago when Edmondo Boscoscuro established Meet and Greet Italy. A private tour operator, customizing unique and innovative Italian travel experiences, combining traditional services with a contemporary vision of the tourism world. Their tours differ in as much that all trips are created by local experts, meaning you get to discover hidden gems as well as the must-see spots. And, for a more sustainable option, tourists get from A to B by train. Ultimately, as you would expect from any good tour operator , it’s all about the experience. And that experience isn’t just about making memories, it’s also about embracing sustainability. Edmondo is well aware that travel and sustainability are two words that don’t tend to go hand in hand. However, he is already making steps to change this perception. He explains that ‘sustainability is a priority for all of us at Meet and Greet, it’s in our DNA.’ They aim for rigorous standards and consider themselves engines for change, who want to inspire their partners and ultimately the whole tourism market. They champion environmental travel, which means all CO2 emitted by transfers and services included in their travel packages is compensated through sustainable programs, including planting trees in Italy and afforestation.
Last year was a difficult one for Meet and Greet . Once COVID hit Edmondo found himself with time on his hands, which he used wisely. He immersed himself in understanding sustainability, learning how to apply such practice to his business model, plus how they could further reduce their Carbon Footprint. For him it was paramount to acquire recognised certification, which he received from; Travel Life (a fair and affordable system helping tour operators and travel agencies to manage and improve social and environmental impacts by complying with sustainability criteria) and Global Sustainable Tourism Council, (GSTC, who are responsible for managing global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, and act as the international accreditation body for sustainable tourism certification). It was then that he decided he wanted to go one step further and the EO B-Corp track arrived at just the right time. It was time to give a purpose to his business.
Time for change
When it comes to the day to day, how have things changed? Edmondo explains it’s been a mind shift, a core change in company culture as B-Corp, by nature generates complexity, which in turn generates change. He already has a new HR consultant in place and a dedicated product manager. He admits his ‘to-do list’ is about six months long! But in order to reach the required 80 points for B-Corp certification, he has a lot to do. (Meet and Greet currently stands at 61). What’s also evident is that the company, as a whole, is truly benefiting from its new found stance – with both staff, commercial partners and customers alike. ‘Sustainability provides strong market identity, as well as adding a competitive advantage. To be an early adaptor, ahead of the game, is paramount.’
And in the long term?
It’s all about hiring the right kind of people, allowing them to grow, whilst keeping them on a focused track. They’re set on building targets for carbon emission. While they have a great starting point, in order to become a key influencer within the Italian market, you need a great deal of initiative. Edmondo is already busy generating media interest. However, his big push will come in July, when Meet and Greet will issue a detailed paper to all its suppliers (Hotels, transport companies, guides, restaurants etc , educating them on the benefits of a sustainable business, and the path to success. For Edmondo he’s determined that all tourist players working with him become sustainable and carbon neutral within the next 10 years. When asked about his BHAG – he sums it up nicely, ‘To be the most innovative, sustainable and profitable incoming tour operator in Italy’.
Meet and Greet – Social development goals:
BCorp is helping me to understand the strengths and weaknesses of my company, to make it a better place to work and above all to make it more profitable.
Not addressing the issue of sustainability now means having a very short-sighted vision of the future, both as entrepreneurs and as inhabitants of these planets.
BCorp teaches you that in the future there can be no profit without sustainability but neither can there be sustainability without profit. A pragmatic approach, perfect for an entrepreneur like me.