SmartVoyager – ecological certification
In 2000, Ecoventura became one of the first recipients of SmartVoyager, a voluntary environmental program developed by Corporacion y Desarollo from Ecuador and The Rainforest Alliance from New York. In order to comply with SmartVoyager, tour boats have to meet a strict set of conservation and social standards that were designed by scientists, conservation experts and tour operators based on principals to conserve natural ecosystems, reduction of negative impacts on the environment, risk of introduction and extraction of species and conservation of Native/ Endemic species, just and fair treatment of workers, community relations and local welfare, control of the supply and storage of supplies, integrated waste management and emissions control, security, quality control, planning and monitoring.
Through an initiative of President and Owner Santiago Dunn, Ecoventura has invested upwards of $500,000 to refurbish its fleet of four expedition yachts in order to meet these stringent ecology-minded standards.
In order to comply, all our yachts produce their own fresh water through reverse osmosis desalinization units, and use only four stroke outboard engines on the Zodiacs. Only yellow exterior lights can be used so they do not attract insects. The cooling elements used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems are free of R-12 gas that could potentially escape and add to the green-house effect. Only biodegradable soaps and detergents are used for cleaning on board the yachts.
See all criteria we met for SmartVoyager certification program here:
There is a waste management system and garbage-recycling program onboard all Ecoventura yachts with garbage receptacles placed on all decks with separate containers for plastics, paper, glass and organic waste. Passengers are encouraged to reduce, recycle and conserve energy during their cruise. Signs are posted in each cabin to remind our guests to recycle. Passengers refill water bottles from a container of purified drinking water.
From 2006 to 2011, the company offset carbon emissions from 2006 to 2011 and also reduced CO2 by 10% through the installation of solar panels and wind generators to the Eric, the first hybrid yacht in Galapagos.
Eric becomes the first hybrid yacht in Galapagos
In October 2008, the M/Y ERIC became first hybrid energy tour boat in the Galapagos following a $100,000 installation of 40 solar panels and two wind turbines that were installed to the upper deck of the vessel. The work also included replacing canvas awning with a hard fiberglass top for structural support. The goal is for the panels and turbines to produce 9kw per day or the equivalent of 17% of the energy formerly produced by two carbon fuel based generators be replaced by alternative renewable energy. The project was financed through a partnership with Toyota, a supporter of the WWF and GMBF and other conservation programs in Galapagos.
First Carbon Neutral operation in Galapagos
In 2006, Ecoventura became the first Carbon Neutral operation in Galapagos (and Ecuador). Carbon emissions from the company’s four yachts (and offices including business travel) are reduced, then offset by a portfolio of projects through Native Energy Travel Offsets. Through NETO, Ecoventura was able to invest in the future of our planet, through the purchase of carbon credits, and bringing corporate travel industry dollars directly to the development of new wind turbines on native farms. Through 2011, Ecoventura offset 4435 Short TONS of CO2 per year and was able to reduce its footprint by 10% through high performance oil filters and other methods. 2011 Earth Cooler certificate
In 2011, Ecoventura met requirements to earn the Rainforest Alliance verification standard for tourism services in recognition of its commitment to conserving the environment and supporting local communities. The verification has been recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the gold standard for sustainable tourism. It provides an assurance that a hotel or tour operator has met comprehensive social, environmental and economic standards that conserve natural resources, protect wildlife and help local communities thrive.
“Displaying the Rainforest Alliance VerifiedTM mark in Ecoventura messaging will help bring the urgency of sustainability issues to the consumer,” said Santiago Dunn, Ecoventura president. Dunn said his company is a natural fit because of its long-standing, mission-driven leadership in protecting the fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. “The Rainforest Alliance was one of our original mentors when we started our journey to green the operation in the late 1990’s, being part of this new initiative makes us proud to continue the tradition and further our commitment to sustainability.”
If you would like to join or contribute to The Rainforest Alliance, visit www.rainforest-alliance.org.