Low-key Eco-Center del « Corazon del Bosque »

I had the opportunity to spend two incredible nights in the heart of the forest. It was so quiet and relaxing, beyond the loud sound of the Panamerican highway.

Once upon a time…

With the President of the Cooperative Sr. Miguel Angel  Cochoy

With the President of the Cooperative Sr. Miguel Angel Cochoy

In the 70’s, the poor community of Santa Lucia Utitlan (4 cantons) welcomed the Father Arturo, coming from the US. Looking at the poverty and illiteracy, he pushed for the creation of a farming and multiservice cooperative Santa Lucia in 1973 to buy land, develop wheat and potato cultivation, and operate a bus transit to the nearer village college. Then, the community could count on its own professionals: agronomist, foresters, accountant, administrative officer…
From the Father’s idea, began a huge project of cuniculture, that reached to employ 500 people and export rabbit meat in all the country. Because of a bad milionary investment, all sank as quick as it appears, obliging to sell lands. At that time began the civil war. Father Arturo left Guatemala after 20 years and collectivism wasn’t a good idea because of communism.
The cooperative Sta Lucia shut down and a new one was established « La Guadalupana » with its sister the Association « La Guadalupana ». Their objective was to recover land for agricultural purpose, with the donations of its associates. Lire la suite

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Cycling through 40 Mexico’s World Heritages and Wonders

The Heritage Route (Sur la Route du Patrimoine) Project aims to promote the protection of natural and cultural heritages, as well raise awareness of their fragility. That is why we try to follow sites recognised by the UNESCO as remarkable pieces of the world heritage.

So far, we’ve visited 16 World Heritage sites (UNESCO) out of 36 during our journey in Mexico. Moreover, our paths passed through more than 10 amazing Biosphere Reserve included in the UNESCO’s programme « Man and Biosphere », which foster conservation of natural areas and its associated human heritage. In addition, we encountered 2 traditions of Mexico recognized as immaterial world heritage. Lire la suite

Responsible Tourism and CSR

What is Responsible Tourism ?

Responsible Tourism was defined in Cape Town in 2002 alongside the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This definition, the Cape Town Declaration is now widely accepted.

Responsible Tourism is about « making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit. » Responsible Tourism requires that operators, hoteliers, governments, local people and tourists take responsibility, take action to make tourism more sustainable. Lire la suite

A Good Example of Ecotouristic Center: Las Guacamayas

South-East of Chiapas is full of « Eco » places but very few really develop standards of sustainability and responsibility. Hopefully, THE HERITAGE ROUTE did another long detour close to the Guatemala’s border and visited the Ecotouristic Center « Las Guacamayas », near the Biosphere Reserve of Montes Azules (BRMA). A very inspiring and relaxing experience of responsible tourism…

Las Guacamayas is one of the few projects in Chiapas where environmental protection, social development and tourism activities have a real interaction. Where the word « Eco » has real meaning and materializes into action, and where the community engagement, passion and its long-term vision are particularly noteworthy. This is one of the reasons why the Sur la Route du Patrimoine’s Team went there. Lire la suite

Be a Responsible Tourist with the Tienda de Experiencias Local

Incorporating sustainable characteristics into tourism and put them into practice is not an easy topic. Even harder when tourism aims to benefit to the environment and the local communities, and to think about and mitigate its negative impacts. The Tienda de Experiencias Local, in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, tackled very well the challenge to be a responsible tourism ambassador. And as the Heritage Route passed by San Cristobal de las Casas, we had to meet them to share their experience.

The Tienda de Experiencias Local (Local Experience Shop) is developing a new way of discovering Mexico by experiencing the nature and traditions in a sustainable way. As they provide experiential tours that include activities in direct contact with local communities and the natural heritage of Mexico in a positive and responsible way.

”We create sustainable travel experiences that transform destinations”

Lire la suite

ALTER ECO’s Business Model that Makes all Food-chain Intermediates Happy

Alter Eco USA Marketing Manager Mr. Antoine Ambert was interviewed by Sur la Route du Patrimoine Project, San Francisco, USA, May 2013.

About Alter Eco

Alter Eco USA is a pioneer social company engaged to fight for social and economic justice in the food supply chain. It employs about 12 collaborators. Alter Eco was first founded in France by Mr. Tristan Leconte, fond of travels and good food, who tried first to trade fairly the Roibos from South Africa.. As an alternative trading organization, they specialize in the import and distribution of Fair Trade products while directly benefiting farming communities in the Global South. Alter Eco offers only 100% fair trade, organic, non-GMO products and Carbon Zero certified. Alter Eco food offer includes the ancient super grain Royal Quinoa from the Bolivian Andes, Heirloom Jasmine Rice from Northern and Eastern Thailand, Latin America-grown and Swiss-made dark chocolate bars, and unrefined ground Mascobado cane sugar from the Philippines. Lire la suite

TECK – Commitments to Responsible Development of Canada’s Largest Diversified Mining Company

Interview with Ms. Dara Edmonds, Sustainability Programs Officer at Teck on March 12th, 2013

Canada is known for very abundant natural resources. This abundance of natural resources is an engine of economic activity that is essential for many resource-based industries like mining. Mining and its related industries are critical for Canada socio-economic development as for environment and community impacts.  The question now is: How to balance this economical industrial potential with a way of activity align with sustainable development requirements?

Ms. Dara Edmonds is part of sustainability programs office at Teck, a 100-years old company and the largest Canadian diversified natural resources company. She explained their approach to different issues that matter to ensure responsible mining and mineral development. Mining can have significant social, economic and environment impacts. At Teck, their relationship with communities is the foundation of their work and they have developed deep connections to the communities in which they operate. This relationship is critical, both to support the growth of local communities and also to ensure social support exists for its operations and « to have community together to follow our goals ». Teck is committed to consultation and collaboration with local communities that have lived on and occupied the land for generations and generations. Lire la suite

Understanding Corporate Social Responsibility Across-Borders: Canada

As part of our ongoing effort to understand the most important characteristics of any society Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) matters, we are contacting the CSR key-entities in each country that the Sur la Route du Patrimoine Project will pass by.

We have been welcomed by the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR), a non-profit member organization with a mission to accelerate and scale corporate social and environmental sustainability in Canada and challenge the « business as usual » model.

Here below you’ll find the report of our interview made at CBSR,Vancouver, that will be part of our general study about CSR Across-Borders :

What is Corporate Social Responsibility about in Canada? Lire la suite

Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Tofino, half the pace, twice the pleasure!

Tofino, at the end on the Hwy 4, is the paradise of surfers, nature lovers, fishers, vegans, naturalists… It is very relaxing and peaceful atmosphere. We enjoyed a lot the long and wild beaches encircled by lush forests.

We arrived just after the end of the Pacific Rim Whale Festival that celebrates the arrival of grey whales. The occasion also for marine education and creates awareness about the pristine ecosystem preservation. Tofino is one of the best locations in the world to view these beautiful cetaceans. (Unfortunately, we did not see them this time). There are many whale watching tour operators (mostly owned by local people) in Tofino and the Clayoquot Sound area to enjoy the migration from March to October. Once hunted by indigenous Nuu-chah-nulth First nations for their meat, bone, oil for rituals, then by massive commercial whaling in the 18th and 19th centuries, now these giants weighing up to 30 tons are threatened by toxic spills, acute noise and fossil fuel exploration, collisions with ships and entanglements in fishing gear. Lire la suite

“Making Good Money”, the Daily Challenging Business of #VANCITY

Extract of the interview with Ms. Andrea Harris, Manager Community Investment at VANCITY, Vancouver, met by the Project’s Team on March 11th, 2013

The beginning…

When Vancity was created in 1946, the founders chose to incorporate as a credit union in order to enshrine the organization’s commitment to community. “Vancity is a credit union, which is a member-owned financial co-operative. As a financial co-operative, we exist for the sole benefit of our members and their communities. We believe that we can only prosper as individuals if we are connected to a healthy, sustainable community. That’s why we help members meet their financial goals in a way that also strengthens their community” she explained to us. The Board is elected by the people who use the financial services (i.e. members) of the Credit Union. Around 70% of the activity deals with lending for individuals, the other 30% with lending for companies. This mandate is very different from banks who are publically traded companies and driven to maximize their profits and returns to shareholders, who may or may not use the services of the bank itself.

Lire la suite