DenEesti DenEesti
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Sustainability

SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2019

DenEesti has always been a leader in sustainable tourism in the Baltic Sea region. We started partnering with Travelife in 2015, but have worked with various sustainability certification bodies since 2012. We currently undergo auditing every 2 years and below is a brief overview of our sustainability report from 2019.

We have defined the following as our main sustainability goals:

♦ Enrich the life of visitors with authentic local experiences

The goal was achieved through the following actions:

  • Develop tours, which take local culture and customs into account and give something back to the community. 

Main results from 2019

  • We choose our food suppliers based on their sourcing (i.e. we provide local food). We choose our venues based on our company values, which also support the idea of introducing and supporting local culture.
  • We prefer to use smaller local companies (we support entrepeneurship).
  • We have focused more on smaller group tours to improve the experience and make it more personal. For 2019 group sizes were 5% smaller (average group) compared to previous reporting period.
  • We constantly work out and suggest tours which help to support local residents, and enables us to give guests and inside look into the everyday life of the local people.

♦ Preserve and improve destinations and their living culture

The goal was achieved through the following actions:

  • Follow legal requirements related to our activities and set internal standards ensuring industry best practice.

Main results from 2019

  • We have introduced sustainable destinations such as the ports of Saaremaa and Pärnu and sustainable tours such as cycling and purely walking tours, which help to minimize the number of tourist coaches brought to the city centre.
  • We have developed tours, which are authentic, consider the environment and support local businesses. Roughly 15% of our tours focus on attractions outside the Old Town of Tallinn, and the historical centre of St Petersburg. For the rest we try to stagger groups in order to not overcrowd attractions and venues. 
  • DenEesti is a proactive company. We are members of the Estonian Travel and Tourism Association and the Estonian Chamber of Commerce, through which we are involved in tourism policy making. We also participate in and contribute to discussions with the city governments of Tallinn and St. Petersburg, the local Guides’ Associations, port representatives and cruise clusters.
  • We support the local community through donation of our time as well as financial assistance for the causes we believe in.

As a company we support organizations and projects, which help to improve social and cultural co-existence:

    1. Estonian Scout Association – Helping children regain touch with nature through scouting, developing independence and self-confidence.
    2. Minu Unistuste Päev  – Creating special events for children with significant health issues
    3. Laevaselts Runbjarn (Ruhnu Karu) – Preservation of the Estonian wooden ship culture

♦ Provide safe and high-quality service to our clients (cruise lines)

The goal was achieved through the following actions:

  • Act according to our Safety Management System to identify and minimize risk elements related to our tours

Main results from 2019

  • DenEesti is in full compliance with all international, national, and local law and regulations and we follow the principles of fair business. We pay all applicable taxes and sign written contracts with our service providers.
  • We have completed risk assessments about our active tours and audit our tours (23 tours and 11 venues in Tallinn in 2019) and tour buses regularly.   
  • We manage transport pro-actively and enforce a special code of conduct. 100% of our guides are locally employed, whenever possible we prefer to use licensed guides (in St Peterburg 100% of the guides are licensed). We also have meetings with our partners during the low season and audit our tours and venues in the summer season.
  • We consider the protection of our natural environment in all of our activities; our tours do not harm the biodiversity of nature nor the local community. We do not have any sensitive excursions. 85% of our excursions are cultural and city tours (involving Tallinn Old Town, and the historical centre of St Petersburg, which are both protected by UNESCO). For some tours, there is a natural element (e.g. a bog walk), but in this case guests are kept on maintained trails.

♦ Constantly consider sustainability in our everyday work, from planning process through implementation across our operations and organization

The goal was achieved through the following actions:

  • Maintain a dedicated Sustainability team responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the policy.
  • Produce and regularly update our environmental policy and encourage contractors and suppliers to conform to comparable standards.
  • Document progress against our established objectives and targets.
  • Cooperate with and take account of the concerns of external bodies and local communities who may be affected by our activities.

Main results from 2019

  • We have committed to an Environmental Policy with includes waste/water/pollution reduction and a Sustainable Purchasing Plan with a set of actions, which we monitor regularly.
  • We have a Sustainability Manager for the group and Sustainability coordinators for Tallinn, St Petersburg offices.
  • Our employees have received Travelife basic training (courses) and most employees will have completed a personal certificate by the end of 2020 (in 2019 20% of our employees received the certificate ).
  • DenEesti Sustainability Manager on the group level is the Chairman of the Board. Management empowers employees to follow the sustainability policy and action plan.

♦ Educate and support our employees as well as our partners in sustainability principles

The goal was achieved through the following actions:

  • Our employees are involved and take responsibility in their specific field of sustainability. We discuss sustainability related topics during our meetings and we regularly monitor and evaluate the activities based on auditing, formal benchmark tables and informal communication. 
  • All information is explained and discussed during company meetings and is available on our Intranet. We communicate sustainability related aspects to our partners – venues, transport companies, guides, and other parties and also to the public and to our clients. Our guides and transport companies follow a code of conduct, which also covers sustainability practices.
  • We encourage participation and commitment internally and provide appropriate sustainability training for personnel.
  • Where appropriate and economically viable, we source products and services that are sustainably produced and managed.

Main results from 2019

  • Our employees completed 8 different training courses focused on expert knowledge in tourism, health&safety and personal development.
  • We educate our employees to spread sustainability knowledge and practices. All employees have completed safe work training and most employees have received first aid training. Our employees have received Travelife basic training (courses) and most of the employees will receive a certificate of attendance of the courses by the end of 2020 (currently 20% of our employees have the certification).

♦ DenEesti proactively manages the environmental impact related to our services and backoffice work. The company is committed to reducing, reusing and recycling to minimize any negative environmental effect

The goal was achieved through the following actions:

  • We have introduced waste, energy, pollution reduction related targets in our action plan.
  • Responsible waste management falls into the hands of every employee.

  • Waste is properly segregated and handled accordingly.

  • We have engaged, trained and instructed our employees to be aware of our environmental plan and to follow the best practices.

  • We are committed to responsible consumption and use our resources efficiently.

Main results from 2019

  • We showed positive initiative by changing the office lighting in Tallinn, using electricity efficient devices and appliances and introducing best practices.
  • We used 42% less fuel in Tallinn.
  • The team is committed to implementing environmentally favorable practices.
  • We follow a formalized sustainable purchasing policy, which helps us to make better choices and to lower our environmental impact.
  • 100% of our paper is re-used (double side printing) and properly recycled.
  • We have taken reusable goods into use.
  • We have a formalized bus transportation strategy to improve logistics and to minimize fuel consumption.

If you would like to learn more, we would be more than happy to share our experience and introduce our sustainability policy, practices and action plan. For further information please contact our Sustainability Manager Mr Ryan Jenkins (deneesti@deneesti.ee).

Travelife is a three-stage certification program for tour operators and travel agents: (1) Travelife Engaged; (2) Travelife Partner and (3) Travelife Certified. We were awarded the Travelife certified (stage 3). The Travelife Certified award is a recognition of our excellence towards social and environmental sustainability. We comply with more than 160 criteria related to sustainability management, office operations, working with suppliers and customer communication. Travelife is a certification body that is formally Accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the highest global body for sustainability in tourism, supported by the United Nations.