In April 2020, with the African safari industry crumbling around them, a working group of like-minded individuals from across the tourism industry asked the question, “How do we improve our resilience in the face of these challenges?”
We wanted to make the industry we love more durable. We wanted to increase access to solutions, and the know-how that can add real business, social and cultural value, by accelerating sustainability. COVID-19, after all, was only the latest trial to face the industry, and a final, clear signal that tourism-as-usual had to change.
Every small business should be able to run itself in more sustainable ways, and yet only larger or more affluent organisations have had access to professional advice and consulting expertise. That’s why we’ve built Weeva – to democratise access to knowledge. The hospitality industry employs 10 per cent of the world’s workers and contributes nearly US$6 trillion to the global economy each year, so the potential rewards for the planet are considerable.
From the outset, it was understood that the right technology, designed and presented in the right way, would help tourism properties to become more sustainable. For this to work well, a system of measurement and a user-friendly framework was essential. The Long Run, hosted by Preferred by Nature, is one of the founding partners of Weeva (Dr Delphine King, Executive Director of The Long Run was part of the initial working group) and we endorse The Long Run’s system of breaking down areas of focus in sustainable travel into the 4Cs: Commerce, Conservation, Culture, Community.
From our perspective, the 4Cs make for a very logical and comprehensive balanced scorecard – an ideal bedrock for a widely applicable sustainability management system. So, under the 4Cs, we developed 18 Weeva parameters, covering everything from customer satisfaction to carbon emissions. Each parameter has guidance, supportive tools and policy documents that can be amended to suit a business’ context, and continuous improvement tasks that show Weeva users how to make a difference and have the greatest impact.
The idea is to make it simple for users to start on their sustainability journey and make improvements where they see fit, recording their progress along the way. With 18 parameters, there are 18 places you can start, and no two journeys will be identical. Once you've read the introductory guide on a particular topic (parameter), you can get started by entering relevant data into the Weeva system; whether that’s the litres of petrol or diesel you've consumed that month, your kilowatt hours of solar energy produced, or your employee engagement survey scores.
Weeva analyses these metrics and produces visual dashboards that will show trends in your sustainability performance. Information and insight like this are persuasive and engaging to stakeholder groups, including staff. So, in this way, Weeva can be an aide for changing workplace culture and finding the sense of purpose we seek.
Over time, we will add more information and additional features to Weeva, based on emerging best practice as well as on the feedback of our Weeva users. It’s an exciting time for our dynamic industry, which will no doubt see further challenges (and opportunities) over the coming years. We’ll be there to work with you on those. First off though, we want to encourage people to just start.Start your journey