Planeterra is part of a global movement to make tourism sustainable, to minimize impacts on the environment, respect local people and cultures, and offer economic benefits to local businesses and communities. Planeterra supports social enterprise development to connect underserved communities to the tourism value chain.
Founded in 2003, by global travel company G Adventures’ founder, Bruce Poon Tip, Planeterra has a history of raising funds for the communities where G Adventures and its industry partners operate. Bruce believed that it was each person’s duty to show the ultimate respect and appreciation of these people and places by giving back.
Planeterra’s close partnership with G Adventures has given our team an insider's understanding of the challenges facing these places; this unique perspective in turn guides us to design effective, long-term solutions that provide autonomy and lasting opportunity for local people while conserving local environments.
Planeterra Foundation, registered under Canada’s Not-for-Profit Organization Act, receives donations for its work from G Adventures, various corporate sponsors, travellers and staff of its supporting organizations. 100% of these funds go towards project development.
Planeterra identifies project locations by working with G Adventures’ product and operations team to determine the optimum place along travel itineraries where projects could receive an ideal amount of visitors. Then, within those locations, communities in need are identified in order to ensure projects are benefitting people who have often lacked opportunity.
Funds are used to develop projects through training programs, infrastructure, materials, and equipment needed to ensure projects become viable small businesses. In turn, these small enterprises invest their profits into improvements to the business to generate more employment for their communities, as well as into social and environmental programs. Development goals most common for the communities Planeterra works with are education, training, employment, health care, conservation and reducing negative environmental impacts.
Behind the social enterprises we help develop are many people directly and indirectly impacted. These include the women, indigenous people, families, youth that we work with directly on training and enterprise kickstarting programs. But it also includes the people who are impacted by the ripple effects - the vegetable farmers that supply the training restaurant in the Sacred Valley, the women’s group that purifies water to sell to the home stays in Lake Atitlan, the coffee producers that work the plantations at the coffee tour in Costa Rica.
Planeterra’s supporters help start something. And it doesn’t end when the first grant runs out. That is just the beginning. Once the community enterprise is part of the tourism supply chain, the impacts begin to multiply within their own communities, and spread from there. We’ve said before, we believe tourism can be the greatest method of wealth distribution in the world, and we’re out to prove it. Help us harness the power of travel for good.
Social enterprise development through Planeterra is unique because projects are incorporated directly into the tourism supply chain through G Adventures itineraries, becoming self-sustaining, and enabling communities to invest income generated back into their own development goals.
As a business-backed non-profit, we offer something different than traditional charities that often provide only short term relief. We have the power of a social enterprise behind us; we are a non profit that can bring the market to make these businesses successful and create jobs -- the most powerful tool proven to alleviate poverty.
Where other non profits think on a 3-5 time horizon to generate positive results, our impact is more immediate through our market driven approach; usually within the first six months to one year. We have continual contact and support through G Adventures’ network of CEOs (tour leaders), on the ground staff, and travellers. In some cases we have been in these communities for more than a decade. Planeterra partners with local non profit organizations who understand the local culture and can identify local needs.