We have developed this sustainability policy for ourselves, our local suppliers and our partners. This document provides specific guidelines on sustainability.

Our sustainable development plan is divided into 5 different themes:
– Environmentally conscious management
– Nepal as a travel destination
– Local employees
– Nepalese society
– Our customers

Environmentally conscious management

Everywhere we go, we have an impact on the environment. We try to minimize this impact and, where possible, carry out projects and activities that are sustainable for the environment, but also contribute to its improvement.

Internal management
We run our office in a responsible way by using fair trade products, reducing our energy consumption and recycling. By using our website and social media and documents, we limit the amount of paper we produce.

Waste management
Sustainable waste management works with three objectives: reduce, reuse and recycle. We try to produce as little waste as possible and separate glass, paper, toner/ink and batteries so that they can be recycled.

Energy Saving
We work energy efficient. All devices are switched off after office hours (not on ‘standby’). We do not use air conditioning.

Staff mobility
The relocation of employees consists of travelling between home and work and for business purposes. We encourage our employees to use public transport, go by bike or on foot.

Transportation used during the trips
Nepal Inside Out ensures that vehicles used during a tour do not cause more than average pollution. We also limit domestic flights during our travels. However, in Nepal a domestic flight is often the only way to get somewhere safe. We try to compensate this by making a donation to a nature conservation organization. We are also busy investigating a compensation scheme for CO². Our drivers are actively encouraged to be more fuel efficient. They learn techniques to drive more energy efficient and that they have to switch off their engine while standing still. The transport company ensures proper maintenance of the fleet.

NEPAL AS A TRAVEL DESTINATION

We know that the travel industry has both positive and negative consequences for the local communities and the natural environment in Nepal. However, much depends on how these effects are managed. We are committed to working to provide travel that benefits local livelihoods and protects the environment. This is of fundamental importance for maintaining the quality of our travels in the coming years.

Supplier standards
We verbally introduce the contractual environmental and social standards for local suppliers. We regularly check whether they have made progress in their sustainable efforts. In addition, we now have a written code of conduct for our suppliers.

Sustainable accommodations
We prefer small-scale family hotels and homestays that operate in a sustainable manner and have independent accreditation. In Nepal however, the number of accredited accommodations is very low. We work closely with our suppliers and make them aware of the small sustainable efforts they can make. They also receive a newsletter from us several times a year with tips to make their accommodations even more sustainable.

Sustainable projects during our trips
We strive to organize at least one visit to a project that directly supports the local economy or nature with every trip. We encourage our employees to find and communicate new initiatives and projects. We give customers suggestions to visit some fair trade stores and eat in social restaurants.

Waste management
We advise our customers to limit the amount of waste and dispose of it responsibly. We encourage them to use refillable water bottles instead of plastic ones. In Nepal, plastic bottles are not recycled.

Animal welfare
Animals in captivity is a subject that is sensitive both for us and for our clients. Our goal is to offer only attractions where the animals are well treated to our customers. We deliberately do not offer rides on elephants, but we do offer alternative activities that are animal friendly and financially contribute to the care of the elephants.

Nature conservation
Nature and wildlife are important parts of many of our journeys. The pressure of too many visitors can cause serious damage to wildlife and sensitive places. We provide information to our customers so that they can experience the natural environment and at the same time protect nature so that others can enjoy it in the future.

OUR EMPLOYEES

Employment conditions and payment in the tourism sector
Our employees in Nepal do not get an unreasonable workload. Their working hours are reasonable and safe within the local regulations and do not involve dangerous practices during the execution of the work. We pay our employees sufficient wages and they are paid on time according to the written contract between us. We do not postpone the payment of wages. We provide our guides with enough money to carry out the trip (to pay for transport, accommodation, food, etc.). In this way, they will in no way use their own money for these payments that fall under our responsibility. In addition, our trekking guides will be paid at the start of the trekking.

Communication and training
We communicate actively with our employees on environmental and social issues, through small meetings and 2 training days a year in our office. Training is important at all levels of our company. We encourage lifelong learning and the development of transferable skills. Our employees are given opportunities to develop skills, in and outside of our company. Our office employees and our guides attend the Travelife training courses that are linked to their function.

Code of Conduct for Porters
We support the guidelines of the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
Inspired by these guidelines, we have drawn up the following code of conduct for porters for our treks:
– Selection of carriers: if possible, we select local carriers from the area where the trekking takes place, especially in remote areas
– Minimum age: we do not employ porters under the age of 18, we only work with adult porters. Nepal Inside Out is stricter than the IPPG guideline.
– Wages and salaries: All employees receive a fair wage, including their meals. Tips are distributed openly and fairly. All porters are paid for the duration of the trek, including the necessary transport days.
– Accommodation: Accommodation is provided and the costs for access to the park are covered. No porter will have to sleep outside; they will either sleep in cabins or in tents.
– Charge: No porter will be asked to carry a load that is too heavy for his or her physical capacity. The weight limits may have to be adapted to the height, the course and the weather conditions. Our customers are told that the maximum luggage they can carry on a tour to be carried by porter is 9 kg per person. One porter carries the luggage of 2 persons, so max. 18 kg plus his own luggage.
– Appropriate clothing: the staff will have the appropriate clothing and shoes that are sufficient to withstand the cold and the weather in the mountains during a trip at high altitude. They are provided with a poncho that covers both them as the luggage.
– Medical care: All medical bills will be paid for the staff who became ill during the climb or the trip. The staff will be evacuated from the mountain if they fall ill and will still be paid for the entire trek/climb.
– Client awareness and behavior: Carriers and clients will be introduced by name at the beginning of the trekking. Clients will be advised about the tip to be given and the procedure for giving a tip.
– Awareness: We inform the bout porters our environmental policy during the trek. The guides ensure that the carriers apply this policy properly. The porters, who are responsible for the processing of the waste generated during the trip, play an important role in good waste management. That is why we pay special attention to the carriers to make the trip as environmentally responsible as possible.
– Inspiration and training: Most of the young porters are future guides and also part-time students. Guides help and inspire porters to grow as potential guides, as almost all of our trekking guides started out as porters. Porters also get the chance to develop their skills, like follow additional English courses.

NEPALESE SOCIETY

Code of conduct for the protection of the child
We work according to the guidelines of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The participation of children or adolescents in work that does not affect their health and personal development or hinder their education is generally considered to be something positive.
In our travel agency, we do not allow the following child labor because it is considered harmful:
– children under the age of 18 driving a car
– children under the age of 18 working as porters (heavy loads); we only work with adult porters
– children working many hours in bars, hotels, restaurants
– children working daily in the entertainment industry (dancing, singing, etc.)
– children working (almost) daily as guides

Code of conduct against sexual exploitation of children in tourism
We recognize that sexual exploitation of children is a problem in Nepal. In all our activities and operations we actively disagree with all kinds of sexual exploitation of children. If we see a case of sexual exploitation, we inform the authorities immediately. We are a member of TheCode.org, and our staff is trained to recognize these cases. We also have a policy that is followed when we come into contact with any form of child sexual exploitation.

Partnerships with local NGOs
Nepal Inside Out has close partnerships with a number of NGOs in Nepal. We support their work with volunteer work or financially. Some of them train our staff in sustainability and make our customers aware of different things in Nepal.

We also offer some excursions or activities to our clients that are organized by NGO’s. Like this we help the NGO and the people they help to provide a proper income, often marginalized women.

OUR CUSTOMERS

We proactively make our clients aware of sustainability issues on social media and our website. In order to be able to offer sustainable travel, we need the support of our customers through their personal actions during the trip.

This is done in the following ways:
* Through our website, blog and social media: we provide information about various projects and NGO’s in Nepal, and about sustainability in general.
* During the trip: At the beginning of the trip, all our customers are informed about responsible travel during a briefing. They receive a leaflet with responsible travel tips. Guests are invited to contribute to projects in Nepal.
* After our trips: We ask for feedback from customers about the environmental and social responsible aspects of their trip.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Respect cultural differences.
Nepalese culture is completely different from Western culture. There will certainly be a few things that can seem very intriguing and surprising, and sometimes uncomfortable, for someone unfamiliar with the Nepalese lifestyle. These differences make a trip to Nepal just that little bit fascinating and make it unique for our customers. There are a number of things that are best taken into account: from the clothes one wears, how one eats, the tone one uses while talking, to the closeness one keeps while communicating. Moreover, Nepal, like all other countries, works with a different time concept – things happen when they happen! The traveler who wants a happy and successful trip should keep himself as calm, cheerful and friendly as possible. Patience, politeness and a smile are essential for a successful vacation.

Cultural differences: hierarchy, gender, etc.
All our employees are treated as equal socially. Where the Nepalese team accompanies a group, our guides encourage interaction with them, respecting the wishes of the individual in terms of privacy. Respect for social and cultural diversity is important. When visiting the local people, we will always behave according to the norms and values in the community concerned. Sensitivity to the host culture is important. For example, we ask permission from the village chief to visit the families.

Meet the locals
Making new friends will be one of the biggest elements of your travels. Accept and enjoy offers of hospitality whenever you can. By taking the time to talk to the locals you’ll learn about their daily lives, culture and attitude to life, including a very enjoyable time and a few laughs. This is also an opportunity for them to learn about your culture. Think about ways to respond to hospitality – for example, by sending photos. Be prepared for many questions. If you just walk down the street, you may be asked, “What’s your name? Where do you come from? How old are you? Where are you going? – Maybe questions that you can consider personal. Don’t be offended or consider it rude or an invasion of privacy. It is usually genuine curiosity, kindness or a desire to practice their English. Respond cheerfully and with patience. The concept of privacy is much less known in Nepal than in your culture.

Limit the use of water
We advise our customers to limit their water use. Water should always be used sparingly. In some areas in Nepal, and in some periods of the year, there is a great shortage of water. – Consider a shower instead of a bath – Think about whether you really need a shower every day. Check if the supply of hot water for personal washing works on solar energy or gas? If it is heated by wood, consider skipping the shower until the next lodge. – Don’t let water run while you brush your teeth; if you use ‘bucket’ showers or similar, turn off the water supply while you soak yourself.

Preservation of natural water resources
– In sensitive areas, do not take water from the wells if it is not necessary – you are robbing the locals of their water – Dirty water, for example from washing dishes, must be drained by spreading it on the ground at least 30 meters (100 feet) away from the water source / river if there is no drain. – Do not use non-degradable soap in lakes or rivers. Wherever possible, find sources selling biodegradable products and use these products. – Do not pour oily water into streams – Wash dishes in a bowl / sink instead of a running tap, as this consumes less water.

Reduce your energy consumption
– Turn off the air conditioning, lights, TVs and fans when you are not in the room and consider not using air conditioning, or only when it is very hot. – Look out for hotels that use more sustainable sources – for example hotels with solar panels. – Check if hotels recycle goods and encourage others to adopt the system if it works. – We do not encourage our drivers to run their cars for more than three minutes before they leave.

Do not use firewood or make a campfire.
– Try having an occasional campfire as a treat because it depletes natural resources / causes smoke pollution / can rob the locals of their only source of fuel. – The collected wood should only be dead wood from the ground. Do not remove branches from trees, because what looks dead can just be dry or dormant. – Keep fire small – Where possible, use an existing fire ring or the location of a previous campfire. – Only paper products should be burned on the campfire. Even light plastics generate toxic fumes. – Be aware of fire hazards and local fire regulations – When leaving the camp, the campfire must be “buried” so (i) you can be sure it is out and (ii) it is not an ugly mess.

Litter and limiting waste
Litter is a big problem in Nepal, where there is little or no infrastructure for waste disposal, let alone recycling. The first step is to make sure that we use as little resources as possible, in order to produce less waste. Next, we try to make sure that the waste is disposed of in the most effective way. – Litter must always be disposed of responsibly. Never throw waste away on the street during your journey. – Cigarette butts should not be thrown on the street / behind bushes / overboard boats etc., but should be put in a garbage can or in a bag until a garbage can is available. We recommend that smokers carry a container with them to put their cigarette butts in. – Campsites must be checked for all waste, including bottle caps and cigarette butts, before departure. Customers and staff will help with this. – Make sure there is a recycling site on site and use it where possible. The following policy applies when disposing of waste from camps in nature reserves: – Items that can be incinerated: paper & cardboard*. – Items to be buried: vegetable & food waste* – Items to be carried from the area: plastics, glass & cans. Garbage should always be disposed of where it is sure to be collected*. * Note that we follow the guidelines of the national parks. Our employees will check with the national park authorities and inform the customers about the rules to follow regarding waste.

Sanitary facilities and toilets
In Nepal usually no toilet paper is used. Check if the sewerage system is able to handle this non-human waste before you throw toilet paper and sanitary protection through the toilet. When we camp on a place where there are no toilets available, the tour guide will always point out the area where people can go into the bush for toilet facilities. People can bury their feces. That is why a shovel is provided. It is NOT allowed to leave toilet paper behind. In wet areas people are allowed to burn the toilet paper; in dry areas the toilet paper must be thrown in a garbage can.

Respect for fauna & flora
Never feed animals/fishes. Giving them different or extra food than what they usually eat will probably make them sick or dependent, so they cannot survive on their own in the wild. Don’t chase the animals, causing them to be shocked, for photo / better appearance & don’t try to touch the animals; apart from the fact that it’s dangerous, it can shock them. Where animals are used for transport (horses, yaks) we try to make sure that the animals are well cared for and show no signs of mistreatment, disease or malnutrition. Never pick wild flowers or plants and stay on the fixed paths and roads.

Visiting schools, hospitals, slums or development projects
The guide always asks permission to visit a school, hospital or development project. When they give the group permission to visit the place, we ask if someone from the school, the hospital or the project can give us a short explanation while he or she is showing us around. After the guidance and explanation, it is respectful to give a gift for the school, hospital or project. A distinction can be made between a small gift for the counselor and a gift/money for the project itself. We do not encourage giving ‘second-hand’ medication to hospitals with a description in languages that the people in the hospital do not understand.

Visiting heritage sites
When visiting old sites, the guide informs customers about certain applicable rules: – Do not touch old monuments, as oil, acid and dirt from the hands can cause erosion. – Respect the laws against flash photography on sites, because the bright light can cause damage to frescoes, etc. – Do not pick up stones, fossils or potsherds. These are part of the site! – Adhere to the set paths. – Never climb on or over ruins / walls – Do not enter where `Hindus only` is mentioned; unless you are a Hindu.

Handing out gifts and gratuities
It is not advisable to give money, candy, gifts, medication or gifts to children or adults. We discourage giving to beggars who only beg tourists. While in Nepal some people depend on begging for their livelihood, we consider giving money as a short-term solution to a more fundamental problem. Nepal Inside Out is trying to find ways for us and our customers to provide more long-term support by supporting local charities and community projects. If people want to help children, we advise to make some demands on non-governmental organizations that focus on special target groups, such as children, orphans, disabled people, etc. Where possible, we will inform our clients about a development project or organization within this destination. So the clients have the possibility to follow up by contacting this foundation.

Photographing people
We inform our customers about photographing. The following general advice is given:
– Always ask permission beforehand when taking pictures of a person or his property (e.g. his house or his cattle).
– Never take pictures secretly; if people don’t want to be photographed, we have to respect that.
– If people ask for money to be photographed, know that this is not the norm in Nepal. We do not encourage people to pay to be photographed, except when this is the social norm for tourists such as the Sadhu`s (holy men) in Pashupatinath. In this case it is advisable to discuss the price in advance. The guide can advise you about this. – Do not make promises to send the pictures if you are not sure if you will keep your promises.

Appropriate clothing
We inform our customers about the common clothing in Nepal. In the first briefing our guide will mention the general dress code. At certain events or visits during the trip, the guide will advise the customers how to dress.

Local food and handicrafts
We promote locally grown food and other local products. We encourage our customers to visit local bars and restaurants and experience local products and cuisine. Our guides inform our customers about local foods and crafts and encourage their appreciation; this can help make a real difference in maintaining local skills and jobs.

Buy responsible souvenirs: no antiques, fossils, ivory, butterflies etc.
Be aware of goods that can be manufactured using child labor and inform yourself about local laws regarding the purchase and export of antiques. Do not buy items originating from endangered / vulnerable species (flora and fauna). Be aware of goods made from prohibited animals or plants. It is forbidden to bring such souvenirs to Europe, and you risk a large fine. Here is a list of examples of products/materials that are prohibited: – ivory and products made of ivory – cacti or orchids (e.g. raindrops are made of cacti and are forbidden) – Chinese medicines and plasters – all products made of the skins of crocodiles, snakes, big cats – butterflies and parrots – fossils from the rivers More information on this subject can be found at www.cites.or.

Tipping
Customers are advised to give a fair, reasonable tip to local guides, cleaners, cooks, drivers, etc. Tipping is very important, but we can never force customers to tip because it is voluntary. Our advice for the local crew depends on the work they do. We will inform our customers in a pre-trip information brochure about what tipping means for the local crew. We will point out that this is very different from what it means to their culture, so they are aware that tipping is very important.

GIVE SOMETHING BACK

Giving something back to the communities
At Nepal Inside Out, part of our travel philosophy is that tourism works in two ways. When you return home, we want you to think about how you can give something back to the country you visited. You have just spent a lot of money to give yourself a great time by experiencing a different culture and meeting the locals. Your spending has certainly helped the local economy. There are other things that can now be done to help a number of other countries on a permanent basis. After your trip you will probably be more aware of the environmental, social, political and cultural problems that some local communities in Nepal are facing. There are several organizations and groups trying to address these problems, with the aim of helping developing countries to maintain their cultural identity, develop sustainable resources and improve social justice. They all need resources and are looking for donations. Making a donation is not the only way you can help. Providing your time and/or skills can be just as valuable and useful.
Things you could do:
– Join a development organization or any other group that deals with raising issues in developing countries.
– Become a volunteer and donate your time.
– Consider sponsoring the school career of a marginalized child.
– Buy your gifts in stores of various third world charities.
– Or simply have a more environmentally friendly household and make more efficient use of the world’s resources.

Support projects
Every year Nepal Inside Out supports a number of projects with a donation. In addition, we can help you to set up another project or bring you in contact with other local organizations.

In addition, we are busy linking local projects to our travels, so that you can visit this project during your trip and have the opportunity to make a donation here. As preparation for your trip it can also be interesting to do some kind of fundraising for this project and hand it over on the spot.