Our vision is to become a major player in the evolution of year round sustainable tourism as an alternative to the traditional ski industry in the French Alps.
Our mission is to work with local partners to develop sustainable and commercially attractive tours, trips and other travel products, to provide year round, fairly paid work and employment, whilst respecting the environment and encouraging eco-responsible behaviour from both our suppliers and our clients.
As such we abide by and support local conservation projects and policies for the continued evolution and protection of the mountain environment and its inhabitants. We choose to work with guides, companies and accommodation who share the same values.
We were voted in the top ten ethical companies by the Guardian in 2019 and are regularly mentioned in articles relating to responsible travel and ethical travel.
We achieved certification with Travelife for our sustainable tourism practices in July 2023.
We have written a summary of our sustainability policy below and you can read the full policy here as well as our accommodation policy and excursion policy which applies to our activity providers. We also welcome feedback and questions about our sustainability policy so please do get in touch. If you have been on a on a holiday with Undiscovered Mountains and have a complaint or comment to make about its sustainability please tell us so we can address the issue.
All our guides and accommodation providers are local to the area. We prioritise small independent accommodation providers especially those who themselves promote and use local products and / or homegrown food. We don’t use international hotel or accommodation chains unless they are fully committed to supporting the local economy. For activities we don't import foreign guides or instructors, preferring to use local guides and instructors who have obtained the relevant qualifications and who are dedicated to their chosen sport or activity.
Our client liaison representatives who meet and greet clients whilst on holiday are all local to the area. We believe that using local people who are passionate about the area they live in and the activities available ensures a high quality of service and a real insight into mountain life, which we believe is a valuable experience for our clients.
We pay all our suppliers the going rate to ensure they are fairly paid.
Our list of activities only include those which have a minimum impact on the environment, such as walking, rafting, etc. We respect and support local conservation / erosion projects by following guidelines issued by the Ecrins National Park and ensuring our clients are made aware of any specific guidelines that may affect them. Eg carrying rubbish down from refuges / high mountain walks.
Activities such as skiing, which have questionable environmental impact, still appear on our list as they still form an important part of the local economy in the mountains. However we actively promote alternative winter activities around main ski areas with the aim or providing alternative employment options for ski dependent suppliers and also to educate tourists so they can appreciate the great variety the alpine environment has to offer in the winter outside of skiing.
All our guides are fully trained in environmental sustainability as a part of their diplomas and they educate our clients about the mountain habitat during the activities.
We don’t print brochures and keep paper use to a minimum in the office preferring electronic distribution as our main means of communication with clients.
From 2020 we have introduced a responsible environmentally ethical commitment to all our supplier contracts asking accommodation providers to reduce single plastic use in food and toiletries.
We work closely with the Touirst Office and support their projects for sustainable tourism and in particular the impact of tourism on local agriculture which is often the traditional way of life in mountain areas. We include local events that support and promote local farming traditions, food production and markets in our itineraries and advice for things to do for our clients to help support the farming community and raise awareness of their culture. We also include a selection of local products in our welcome gift to clients to support and promote the local economy.
We partnered with Mossy Earth in 2018 to offer our clients the opportunity to offset their carbon footprint from travelling to our destinations by buying a native tree for one of their re-wilding schemes. Please read about our Carbon Offsetting scheme for more information. From 2020 onwards we will be including a tree as a part of every holiday booked with Undiscovered Mountains - it will no longer be an optional extra.
To encourage train over plane travel we offer a 3% discount to anyone arriving to the Southern French Alps by train instead of plane. This applies to any international train journey to get here, eg from London using the Eurostar or from Brussels, where flying would have been the other realistic option. It does't apply to internal train journeys in France, for example where the client has flown to Paris and then gets the train to the Alps.
We are also members of Responsible Travel and who promote our holidays. Pebble magazine, who provide information and inspiration on ethical fashion, food waste, green living , ecotravel and sustainable design, also listed us in the top ten eco-friendly travel companies for 2017!