The Long Run offers ‘gold standard’ sustainability recognition to ecolodges which support nature protection, but members have become aware that consumers find it hard to identify genuinely green certifications given the sheer volume of greenwash - especially online. 1. At the same time an increasing number of travellers want to make conscious choices and are willing to spend more to travel sustainably. 2. These potential guests are actively looking for reassuring information they can trust.
By launching the 4C Impact Statements, The Long Run is responding to this increased consumer need for transparency and strong data around environmental issues, alongside the desire for greener travel. The Long Run exists to support measurable and holistic nature based solutions to climate crisis and biodiversity loss among its members, who are at the front line of conservation. They are pioneers in sustainability, committed to doing things differently by leveraging the power of their business for the health of the planet and the well-being of people.
Impact Statement launch members include:
- Borana Ranch - Kenya
- Tswalu Kalahari - South Africa
- Six Senses Laamu - Maldives
- Cottar’s Safaris - Kenya
- Kasiiya Papagayo - Costa Rica
- Basecamp Explorer - Kenya
Members in the process of creating Impact Statements include:
- Pacuare Lodge - Costa Rica
- Lapa Rios - Costa Rica
- Nikoi Island - Indonesia
- Cempedak Private Island - Indonesia
The 4C Impact Statement is open to all Long Run members on a voluntary basis and many more are in the process of joining. Each one breaks down how guests' money is spent supporting positive impact at each location using graphics and percentages. The Long Run hopes this transparent approach will help travellers to make good, green decisions, safe in the knowledge that their visit will support genuine conservation and community efforts. The statements also demonstrate how much money stays in the destination.
The Long Run’s Executive Director, Delphine Malleret-King, comments, “The rising urgency of the climate crisis and proliferation of sustainability marketing claims makes accountability and transparency critical both to help travellers make informed choices as well as to help inform properties’ actions to strengthen impacts. We hope this is not only a step forward for our members, but will inspire the whole travel industry.”
The statement is based around the 4 core values at the heart of every Long Run member:
These are examples of what a guest will receive, based on a stay at Borana Ranch in Kenya and Tswalu Kalahari in South Africa:
- The 4C Impact Statement breakdown
- The 4C Impact Statement is broken down in three levels of granularity to ensure utmost transparency while bringing members’ holistic positive impact to life with stories and examples.
The pie chart shows how each guest night fee is spent in %:
- The Team includes: salaries, benefits, training, and welfare.
- Sales and Marketing includes: PR, marketing, and communications.
- Commission includes: agents, DMCs, company fees, and designer fees.
- Guest well-being includes F&B and all suppliers and services related to the guest experience.
- Other operation expenses includes: maintenance of infrastructure, refurbishment, and administration.
- Profit & reserve is the surplus.
Further investment in nature and people includes: social development, cultural stewardship, and conservation work that comes out of bed night fee e.g. through conservation levy or a 4C fee.
Geographical expenditure shows % of guest money that stays in local area and country: Local is total expenditure in immediate community (the distance depends on the property). National is total expenditure in the destination country. Other is international expenditure.
How does your stay directly contribute to local projects?
Conservation includes: conservation efforts, species protection, carbon sequestration, and establishment of conservancies beyond infrastructure and maintenance for guest benefit.
Community includes: projects that support local development, empowerment, and entrepreneurship (excluding benefits and salaries for employees).
Culture includes: projects that celebrate local skills and cultural expression, support or generate income for neighbouring communities, contribute to preserving or capturing local culture.
Russel Binks, General Manager, and Julie Cheetham, group CEO for Nianova, from Long Run member Tswalu Kalahari in South Africa say they hope the 4C Impact Statement will help them to communicate more effectively and stand out in the marketplace:
“We love that The Long Run has created and given guidance on this disclosure, to ensure complete transparency and legitimacy of our impact position and we carry the objective endorsement of The Long Run for all of the efforts Tswalu is making to do better and better. This also helps us to communicate our balanced vision to our team and guests. Conservation isn’t the only imperative, and to see all 4C aspects accounted for is exciting.”
Micheal Dyer from Long Run member Borana Conservancy and Lodge in Kenya hopes the 4C Impact Statement will influence guest behaviour and purchasing habits:
“Globally today’s guests and future guests will be travelling more consciously and their generosity will become progressively more important. Travellers are becoming aware of the impacts good and bad of travel and our guests are alive to the positive impact of their visit both environmentally and socially. The Impact Statement gives guests reassurance that significant portions of the cost of their stay are delivering resilience and contributing to our ability to protect wilderness along with the positive impact on communities. The Long Run adds the layer of credibility and verification showing transparently how these economic benefits flow and should influence guests' decisions about where to stay, how long to stay, and enable them both to return and to promote the property as a trusted contributor to a local and worldwide conservation philosophy.”
Impact Statements are also a fantastic resource for tour operators and travel designers. Jarrod Kyte from Steppes Travel(a Travel Partner member of The Long Run) says:
“With a growing number of clients eager to enhance the positive impact of their travels, it is essential for tour operators to substantiate their claims that travel can be a force for good. The Long Run’s Impact Statement provides a platform from which to quantify where clients’ money goes and where the benefits of travel are most palpable. This level of transparency is key to helping the whole value chain measure and improve the positive impact of its operations and in doing so, instil confidence in the market that travelling sustainably is both imperative and credible.”
What’s the story behind the 4C Impact Statement?
The idea of an Impact Statement for Long Run members was initiated by member Mehdi Rheljari, owner of Kasiiya Papagayo, Costa Rica, who was inspired by several sustainable hotel “bills” which show how guests’s money is spent, such as Fogo Island’s (Canada) Economic Nutrition Bill. This concept was then adapted and tested for scalability by Long Run members Borana Lodge in Kenya and Tswalu Kalahari in South Africa.
So what exactly is a 4C Impact Statement and how does it work?
The 4C Impact Statement shows where the money paid by a guest staying at a specific Long Run member goes and how their stay impacts the whole destination. It highlights particularly how their stay contributes to the local economy, the well-being of people, to protecting nature, and celebrating culture. All figures are expressed in percentages (%) based on annual forecast or quarterly actuals depending on the property. This means that the 4C Impact Statement shows how the member intendeds to spend the funds generated through the guest’s stay.
Credibility: Long Run members, including accounting teams, provide The Long Run team with the figures, these are discussed to enable The Long Run team to vet the categorisation. A random check will be carried out toThe Long Run carries out a yearly random check to ensure expenses are categorised as agreed and tally up with member’s annual accounts. This allows members to use a Long Run seal for a small fee, demonstrating that an external entity has reviewed and vetted the categorisation of expenses.
Why create an Impact Statement for members of the Long Run to give to guests?
For The Long Run to continue pushing the boundaries, stand out, and showcase how to demonstrate impact meaningfully, we are introducing a 4C Impact Statement to be shared with guests.
- Demonstrate how Long Run members distinguish themselves specifically.
- Put tangible facts and figures to sustainability speak (walking the talk).
- Empower guests to make more informed decisions and choose meaningful travel options.
- Enable guests to become ambassadors for The Long Run and the 4Cs.
- Prove that guests can contribute to positive
change through travel.
- Showcase the 4Cs in action.
Borana lodge is a GER (highest sustainability ranking) member of The Long Run and the ranch is located at the foot of Mt Kenya just North of the equator. Resting on the Laikipia Plateau, an arid landscape lies to the north and ancient indigenous forests sprawl as far as the eye can see to the south. This 32,000-acre conservation area is home to both Black and White Rhino and a wide variety of other endangered species.
Tswalu Kalahari is a Fellow Member of The Long Run, located in South Africa. The word Tswalu means ‘a new beginning’ reflecting Tswalu Kalahari’s vision to restore and conserve its natural environment, and to empower and celebrate its community. The large-scale conservation project protects the region’s unique biodiversity, and safe-guards a number of rare and endangered species. Tswalu has created a model of conservation supported by ecotourism, so that it can be sustained indefinitely; its holistic approach corrects past mistakes, laying the groundwork for long-term ecological and economic viability. Tswalu is now poised to enter a new decade of progress, aspiring to even higher levels of sustainability.
About The Long Run
The Long Run, hosted by Preferred by Nature, is a community of properties, travel partners and experts committed to protecting and regenerating ecosystems for the benefit of all. The organisation supports, connects, and inspires members to operate according to a balance of the 4Cs — Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce. By supporting members on this journey, The Long Run ensures that travel experiences have a positive impact, and that conservation is socially and financially sustainable. Collectively, Long Run members safeguard over 23 million acres of ecosystems, protect more than 400 endangered species, and improve the lives of 750,000 people.