Wharton Business School, irresponsible travel, and how you can have fun and do good at the same time.

Recently I was interviewed for the Wharton Business Radio Show, Dollars and Change.

It’s great to see a leading, Ivy League University putting resources into developing social impact initiatives like this.

As it’s a paid-for service, I can’t link to the actual 30-minute interview, but I’ve put details at the bottom of this article as to how you can sign up for a free trial if you’d like to listen.

What I can do is share four interesting points that came up from the interview.

Question: We’ve heard about your Beer-to-Beer Social Enterprise Learning Journey. This sounds amazing. We want to join. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Answer: As I’ve said before, your friends are amazing, but you don’t always have the chance to learn from them.  Sure, you can go out with them for a beer on a Friday night, but why not go out on a fun journey with them, and actually learn something new at the same time?

That’s what the Impact Hub Crawl is all about. Not just peer-to-peer learning, but Beer-to-Beer learning!  Here’s a video to explain more from my last Impact Hub Crawl, Beer-to-Beer social enterprise learning experience:

Question: Surely, some people just want “irresponsible” experiences. Are people really interested in responsible travel experiences? 

Answer: Yes of course some people switch off their brains and just have a beer.  However, as more and more people look for purpose in other parts of their life, like their career, they are also looking for it in their other experiences, like their holidays and vacations.

They might be surrounded by inspiring colleagues at work, and instead of looking for a short-term escape from a boring job, they’re looking for a deeper, more enriching experience.  As a simple example, the Beer-to-Beer Impact Hub Crawl uses locally produced beer, and that pay their staff fair wages.

Question: What are some examples of social enterprises that people can use when they travel to more exotic locations?

Answer: If you are visiting a big city, there are many types of tours you can take.  In Rio, for example, it’s becoming popular to visit the poor communities, known as favelas.  There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. The wrong way is to use a large international travel operator, that will hire an expensive non-local guide, and take you to the favela to take pictures.  This is a terrible kind of poverty safari.  None of your money stays with the local community, and you are not helping them at all.

The right way to do it is to work with operators that use local residents of these communities. These locals are passionate about their communities and can tell you about history, and daily life. As well as this, your visit helps them economically. As they are paid, the money can go back into the community to help it develop.

(I’ve written previously about visiting social enterprises in Favelas and Responsible Favela Tours)

Question: Is it hard to find social enterprise and responsible travel options?  

Answer: It can be hard. It can take more time or cost more, but it’s worth it.  It’s worth it because we all play a part in investing in the types of businesses and services we want to see in the world.

There’s a growing number of people who care about the impact they are having, both at home, and abroad. Whether it’s Rio, Bangkok, New York or London.  If you shop Fair Trade at home, don’t you want to encourage Fair Trade in the destinations you visit?  If you support your local community at home, don’t you want to support the local communities you stay with?

That’s why it’s important to do your research and ask your operators gentle questions about how they work with local communities.  And if you’re not satisfied with the answers, find someone else, or ask someone to help you find someone better.

If you’d like to speak to me about it, have a look at my social enterprise coaching and mentoring service. Let me know if you think we can work together.

Here’s a link to the Wharton Business Radio Station: http://www.siriusxm.com/freetrial – but fair warning, it was a little difficult to get set up!

Do you have any questions you’d like to ask me?  Let me know in the comments.

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