The Intrepid Group has become the biggest travel company in the world to achieve ‘B Corporation’ status in recognition of its ‘purpose beyond profitability’.
‘B Corp’ status is an external kitemark that recognises ethical businesses which combine profit with purpose. To achieve this status, businesses must reach standards for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
Worldwide there are 2,564 B Corps, across 50 countries and 130 industries. There are 29, including Intrepid, in the travel industry, two of which are in the UK. The status originated in the US.
Chief executive James Thornton is confident the achievement, following three years of assessments in 23 offices worldwide, will help it achieve significant, long term growth.
He said: “B Corp is to business what Fairtrade is to coffee. We wanted a business with a purpose beyond profitability, and to increase the level of accountability and transparency.
“It’s been an awful lot of hard work and we have had to change the way we do business; but it’s made us a better business.”
Thornton described B Corp as a “trust mark” for industry partners, staff and customers, which will help the group to attract employees in future and raise profits longer term by helping it stand out as a responsible business.
“There is a lot of greenwashing out there and companies saying they are responsible. B Corp differentiates us as a business,” said Thornton.
He added: “This will help us attract more people (employees) and customers in the UK and enable us to do more for the environment and communities we travel to, deliver more sales – and higher profits.”
Thornton said 2018 was on target to “smash” 2017 in terms of the bottom line. Total transaction value for the UK and Europe was up 25.7% for 2017.
The business, which split from Tui three years ago, has already stated a long-term annual revenue target of one billion Australian dollars by 2025.