Better Places acknowledges its responsibility towards society to be a good corporate citizen. In order to reach its goals within Corporate Responsibility, Better Places cooperates closely with its own employees, customers, partners such as NGOs, locals at destinations and its suppliers. Better Places wants to ensure that its local agents and any other suppliers (herein referred to as ‘supplier’ or collectively as ‘suppliers’) take part in this action towards more responsible tourism. This Supplier Code of Conduct forms an integral part of Better Places’ contract with its suppliers.
Compliance with applicable law in general
Better Places expects its suppliers to comply with all applicable international, national and local laws and regulations, industry minimum standards and any other relevant statutory requirements whichever requirements are more stringent.
Means of transport should comply with the legal local standard. The supplier should consider minimum quality and safety arguments when selecting coach transport. The supplier is responsible for training of drivers and a code of conduct with regards to driving. The supplier will take care of environmentally friendly transport, if available. The supplier will make efforts to use the latest models of transport, which exhale the least amount of CO2 and will try to renew these models on a regular basis. The supplier will reduce the environmental impact of transport by offering and encouraging the use of alternative transport (e.g. train, bus, boat, (electric) car, etc.) instead of (domestic) flights.
The supplier will stimulate the use of accommodations that do not damage the environment and will prefer the use of sustainable accommodation in case of equal possibilities. The supplier will promote and encourage the use of homestay's and locally run accommodations. In case of clear evidence that contracted accommodations jeopardize the provision or integrity of basic services such as food, water, energy, healthcare or soil to the neighboring communities, this can be reason to terminate the cooperation with the accommodation. Better Places prefers accommodations with a connection with local communities, who not only directly benefit from a visit, but also show local culture. The use of homestays is encouraged. Preference is also given to accommodations that work with internationally acknowledged (e.g. GSTC recognized) and/or Travelife certification (taking into account price and comfort criteria). Basic/standard sustainability clause(s) are included in all the supplier’s contracts with accommodation providers. (e.g. child labour, anti-corruption and bribery, waste management and protection of biodiversity).
Excursions and attractions in which captive wildlife is held are not offered, except for shelters where visitors can observe wild animals in a (semi) natural environment, in compliance with local, national and international law. Excursions and attractions in which handling, touching or any close contact with any wild animals is part of the experience are not offered. Any disturbance of natural ecosystems is minimized. See our Animal Welfare Policy for more information and details.
Where available, preference is given to excursions that operate on the basis of acknowledged and controlled sustainability standards. The company offers no products or services that harm humans, animals, plants, natural resources (e.g. water/energy), or which are socially/culturally unacceptable, such as elephant rides or a visit to an orphanage or school.
Sexual exploitation of children and adolescents
The supplier does not allows or tolerate child prostitution at the premises and facilities of subcontracted suppliers. Any suspicious behaviour must be reported to the local authorities by the supplier. Better Places will end the contract prematurely if the supplier does not take adequate measures to prevent sexual exploitation of children within the direct supply chain (e.g. accommodations, excursions, etc.).
Human rights & labour conditions
Local partners comply with all relevant national laws protecting the rights of employees. Basic Rights:
- The supplier shall not discriminate based on gender, age, religion, race, tribe, caste, social background, disability, nationality, membership in workers’ organizations, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or any other personal characteristics.
- All employees shall be free to enter their employment with the supplier through their own choice and shall also be free to terminate their employment when they choose without penalty, as long as the process occurs in accordance with the (oral or written) employment contract.
- All forms of forced labour are forbidden.
- The freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining shall be recognized by the supplier.
- Workplace practice and conditions which violate basic rights are not allowed: Physical abuse or punishment or threat of physical abuse or punishment, any kind of sexual or other harassment and other forms of intimidation are prohibited.
- The supplier provides a means through which staff can make representation to senior management about key employment issues. The supplier provides for an effective complaints procedure through which employees may raise grievances (including those about harassment) and seek redress.
The supplier shall not employ children younger than 15 years of age unless local minimum age law stipulates a higher age for work or mandatory schooling, in which case the higher age shall apply. If however, local minimum age law is set at 14 years of age in accordance with developing country exceptions under ILO Convention No. 138, the lower will apply; If the supplier employs young people between the age of 14 and 18, the supplier must treat them with particular consideration, for example by restricting their working hours.
The supplier does not contract (directly or indirectly) subcontractors which are involved in compulsory labor or which employ children to complete work which is normally undertaken by adults. There are special working times and conditions for children (< 14 years) working within the business, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and/or the ILO convention 138. The condition is mentioned in supplier’s contract with the subcontractors.
Wages and working hours
Wages paid by the supplier must meet or exceed legal minimums and/or industry standards. No illegal or unauthorized deductions from wages are allowed. Working hours of the employees are to be kept in line with the legal requirements and/or industry standards. Employees, as per contract, shall be granted their stipulated annual leave and sick leave without any form of repercussions. Female employees shall be granted their stipulated maternity leave and other rights in case of pregnancy.
Suppliers shall minimize their negative impact on the environment. The supplier shall actively reduce the amount of energy and water used and shall minimize the use of chemicals known to cause damage or pose risks to health and/or the environment. The supplier shall actively promote and encourage reducing the use of single use plastics in accommodations and during excursions. The supplier shall comply with mandatory national and international law, particularly in regard to the procedures and standards for waste management, handling and disposal of chemicals and other dangerous materials, emissions and effluent treatment. The supplier shall monitor and control wastewater & solid waste generated and shall treat it as required prior to discharge or disposal. Waste of all types shall be reduced to the greatest extent possible by the supplier.
Local sourcing and benefiting communities
The supplier shall actively choose locally produced goods in preference to imported ones wherever possible.
The supplier shall promote local products and services to guests, by recommending guides, restaurants, markets and craft centres wherever possible.
The supplier commits to actively support Better Places' Climate Action Plan, which is part of the Tourism Declares Climate Emergency. The supplier will offer and promote sustainable alternatives to polluting travel components (e.g. domestic flights, short holidays, use of single use plastics, etc.), in order to cut carbon emissions with 5% per passenger per year, starting in 2020. This will ultimately result in a carbon emission reduction of 55% below 2017 levels by 2030.
Better Places introduced environmental and social contractual standards for local suppliers. Better Places stimulates its suppliers to aim for a certification recognized by Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), like Travelife or Tourcert. Better Places can provide the supplier with free consultancy to achieve this. Better Places also offers discounts for Travelife membership of its suppliers.
Monitoring & enforcement
As a principle, Better Places trusts all its suppliers to respect the terms and conditions of this Supplier Code of Conduct and to actively do their utmost to achieve Better Places standards. The supplier shall ensure that the principles set forth herein are communicated, implemented and adopted within their own business. The supplier shall involve employees, management and other stakeholders such as the communities in an appropriate way.
The supplier is encouraged to take steps to promote adherence to this Supplier Code of Conduct throughout their own supply chain. However, the suppliers' sub-contractors are not bound by the terms of this Supplier Code of Conduct. When being prompted, the supplier shall report in a self-assessment modus about its compliance and progress in all matters mentioned herein. The supplier shall complete the self-assessment forms fully, promptly and accurately.
The supplier agrees that its premises and facilities may be inspected and its compliance may be audited at any time by Better Places and/or its representatives. The supplier shall support such audit as far as reasonably possible. If the supplier is in breach of the terms and conditions of this Supplier Code of Conduct (e.g. evidence of child labour, or an employee of the Supplier acting as an intermediate for child prostitution, or disregard of ecological legislation) Better Places shall be entitled to terminate any contract and cooperation with the supplier with immediate effect and reserves to take any further legal action at its discretion.