Intrepid Group Becomes World’s Largest Travel B Corporation

13 August 2018

Nearly 30 years after company’s founding and three years after shareholder split, new certification provides legal base for purpose-led company to preserve its mission

Intrepid Group introduces first B Corps to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka

Global growth inspires Intrepid to look beyond sustainable tourism schemes to B Corp certification, with a rigorous assessment of 23 companies providing ‘truth in travel’

The world’s largest adventure travel company, Intrepid Group, has become the world’s largest travel B Corp, joining a growing community of businesses looking beyond the bottom line.

In an era of ‘greenwashing’, Intrepid looked to a holistic and objective accreditation scheme to quantify its purpose-led business model. To become a certified B Corp, a company must submit to an independent assessment of its social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

“B Corp certification tells our travelers about the people behind the brands and provides a mark of trust that we’re committed to being a business that benefits people and the planet,” said Intrepid Group CEO James Thornton.

The announcement coincided with the third anniversary of the company’s shareholder split from TUI, marking a significant achievement for the independently-owned company that was bought back by the original founders of Intrepid Travel.

“Three years ago, the Intrepid Group returned to independent ownership because we no longer wanted to focus on delivering short-term quarterly profits. We wanted to invest in creating a business that would have long-term benefits for all our stakeholders,” Thornton said.

With global headquarters in Melbourne, Australia, Intrepid has more than 1,800 employees and delivered more than $341 million AUD in revenue last year, making the independently-owned company the largest travel company globally to have achieved B Corp certification. In a rigorous audit, 23 companies in the Intrepid Group were assessed, which saw the group achieve an overall score of 82.7.

Thornton said that B Corp certification fills a gap in tourism industry certification schemes by providing an independent audit of the whole business. The rigorous assessment process sets a high benchmark that highlighted opportunities for Intrepid Group to improve its benefits for workers and communities.

As one of the world’s largest economic sectors, tourism accounts for one in every ten jobs on the planet and accounted for 10.4% of global GDP in 2017. The strong growth of the industry requires strong management and the protection of vulnerable workers and suppliers across borders.

Intrepid has paved the way for global travel companies to engage with the sustainability movement by working with the not-for-profit B Lab for three years to create a new roadmap for medium and large travel companies to become certified B Corps.

Intrepid joins a growing global movement of businesses looking to redefine success in business. There are now 2,595 Certified B Corporations from more than 60 countries across 150 industries, including Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and Danone.

"We are thrilled to welcome the Intrepid Group to the B Corp community. Their journey through B Corp certification has provided a roadmap for other travel companies to follow," said Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab.

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