Corporate Social Responsibility of an adventure tour operator in Nepal
Our founder, Rajesh Kumar Tamang, aka Raj, believes Charity begins at home. He says our biggest asset is our staff: happy porters, talented support crew, trekking chefs, and expert trek leaders. He says, “We value our staff highly.. after all, happy staff makes happy customers! We have handpicked and trained our field staff, who are experts in their duties to make your trek enjoyable.” Responsible Adventures is committed to a fair-trade approach and practice, namely Genuine Responsible Tourism. Providing our staff with a dignified working environment is of utmost importance. We pay our team a generous wage to help them improve their lives for themselves and their families. Another aspect of our CSR is making sure most of your money will benefit the region and the people you are trekking with. Despite being a relatively small company, we have set high standards and integrity. Our handpicked and highly trained employees can proudly say that we provide excellent value for money and unparalleled trekking services in the Himalayas.
Looking beyond our company walls, Raj has been volunteering as an instructor of Wilderness and Advanced Wilderness First Aid training to teach Trek leaders and trekking guides of international tour operators since 2011.
After the massive earthquake in April and May 2015, Raj helped Non-profit organisations by providing his employees as volunteers to help bring relief materials to affected villages in certain parts of Nepal.
He has volunteered to educate children on the policies of leaving no trace on hiking trips. Instead, he teaches the children to leave nothing but footsteps and take nothing but the appreciation of nature.
In December 2015, he went to the remote villages of Solu Khumbu, where most of his employees come from, with some donations to help partially with the maintenance and construction of schools.
Raj has volunteered as a “Medic” for outdoor events, such as the Nepal NCA Mountain Bike Championship on March 19th, 2016. In addition, Bhote Koshi expresses a kayak competition from October 25th until October 29th and the Kathmandu Mountain Bike Festival from the 18th to the 20th of October 2016.
In December 2017, Raj donated a small amount to the Ekata Mahila Sangh (United Women’s Association) of Hakula, Solu Khumbu, a small donation to empower women in this remote village. As a result, they made Prakriti Rai (then three years old) our oldest, most loyal staff, Chandra Rai’s daughter, a lifetime member.
Ekata Mahila Sangh received another small donation in 2018 to continue its excellent work in empowering women in their village.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity
2019 RA helped women trained by Creative Hands of Deaf Women.
Our CEO met with two executives of the Deaf Federation (a mutual friend, our CEO’s schoolmate in Singapore) for a friendly coffee in the winter of 2020. Raj came up with an idea to help the women trained to sew by using his connection to one of the three shareholders of an Elite Private school – Kastamandap Vidhalaya in Kathmandu by ordering school uniforms stitched by deaf women. Kastamandap Vidhalaya also employed a young Deaf lady to teach art in their school.
In 2020, Responsible Adventures helped a woman entrepreneur who runs a beauty parlour with a small interest-free loan to stock up her shop with products to support her husband financially during the pandemic, bringing the tourism industry to a complete halt.
RA also started a social enterprise to empower women further. The priority will be given to disadvantaged women. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the world’s population increase in face masks. However, we have also read or watched news reports of disposed used covers washed down to the oceans, damaging our environment.
Upon brainstorming and market research, Raj knew about Hemp’s face masks – a natural for here. So he began to speak to Women’s organisations such as Amkas Nepal, which helps returnee Nepalese women (most of them are victims of Human Trafficking) to stand on their feet, creative hands of deaf women, and a woman-owned manufacturer of Hemp products from the underdeveloped Far West Nepal about manufacturing Hemp Facemasks.
The plan was to sell these to the Hotels in our partnership to give their employees and guests these eco-friendly masks. The next step is approaching schools to provide these masks to their employees and students. But, unfortunately, the whole travel industry was halted entirely for two years.
We are recruiting members of the LGBTQ community to fill various positions in our organisation in preparation for the restart of Tourism. We are in the process of training Transmen to become trekking chefs for our treks. This is the first of several initiatives.
We also encourage our suppliers to employ staff from marginalised communities to give them financial independence. This is done in other destinations we operate in, such as Bhutan and India.
Culinary Arts and Hotel Management was established in 2010 and is now The Centre to Leadership and Entrepreneurship – CLE.
They are a hotel management school and want to provide full scholarships to 2 students from the 77 districts of Nepal and two from 7 South Asian countries, totalling 168 students. They aim to be Nepal’s Number 1 Hotel management school by 2025, Asia by 2027 and the world’s ten by 2030.
Raj is one of the several advisors on the committee of CLE. His input as an advisor is to ensure that CLE practises Diversity, Equality and Inclusiveness in their students by including youths from low-income families, differently-abled, and LGBTQIA +. He envisions the graduates from this project to be professionals and “well-rounded” humans with compassion and empathy for the universe in which they thrive.
Coffee plantation in the same district as Mount Everest
Raj has initiated a coffee planting project in his staff’s village. Diversifying income sources and engaging in agriculture during the offseason can provide a valuable economic opportunity for the team. As a cash crop with a growing global demand, coffee offers the potential for a better return on investment.
Coffee cultivation can be an alternative livelihood option, particularly in regions suitable for its growth. Additionally, it can contribute to rural development and local economic growth by generating employment opportunities and supporting sustainable farming practices.
Several factors should be considered to ensure the coffee planting project’s success. Firstly, assessing the suitability of the village’s climate, soil conditions, and other necessary resources for coffee cultivation is essential. Adequate research and training on coffee farming techniques, including planting, maintenance, and harvesting, will enable the staff to manage the crop effectively.
Moreover, establishing market linkages and understanding potential buyers’ quality requirements and preferences will be crucial. This will help ensure a steady market for the coffee produce and maximize the return on investment.
Furthermore, promoting sustainable farming practices, such as organic farming or shade-grown coffee, can enhance the environmental and social sustainability of the project. These practices support biodiversity conservation and contribute to developing a high-quality, environmentally friendly product, which consumers increasingly value.
Overall, Raj’s initiative to start a coffee planting project is a proactive step towards providing his staff with an additional source of income during the offseason. By considering the necessary factors and implementing sustainable practices, this project can contribute to the village’s socioeconomic development while meeting the global demand for coffee.
We also offer CSR and Philanthropic trips.