BRUCE POON TIP INDUCTED INTO SOCIAL VENTURE HALL OF FAME
G Adventures founder talks to TRAVELHotNews.com about what the honour means and what the company has planned for the future
11-22-2012 By: Zachary-Cy Vanasse
The event, hosted by director Morgan Spurlock held at New York City's Gotham Hall, honored those individuals and companies that look to simultaneously benefit investors, employees, local communities and the planet. The ceremony marked the 25th anniversary of the SVN's founding and proceeds from the event benefited SVN's Bridge Project, a project designed to expand and diversify the socially responsible business movement by supporting entrepreneurs of colour, young business leaders and women entrepreneurs.
Poon Tip and G Adventures were honoured as workplace champions. Other noted honourees included Ben & Jerry's founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield as well as Birkenstock USA founder Margot Fraser. Virgin Group chief Richard Branson and Anita Roddick (posthumous) were given lifetime achievement awards.
"It was a star-studded event," said Poon-Tip of the evening. "There were performances by Suzanne Vega and a variety of artists. It was just a really big honour."
The fact that the honour was bestowed upon Poon Tip and G Adventures for its business model rather than business success made it very meaningful, Poon tip told TRAVELHotNews.com.
"This is about what we stand for as a company and how we run our business. We've had aspirations towards social enterprise for a very long time and we are kind of pioneers in that space over the last 22 years. For us, it was a very special award."
Poon Tip said he was particularly proud to be the only travel company and the only Canadian company honoured during the event.
"That's something that I'm very proud of. I feel that we started here [in Canada] and our original success was here. I celebrate that on behalf of the travel industry for Canada. We're proudly Canadian."
The induction was a nice reward on which to hang the company and its employees can hang their hat, explained Poon Tip, adding that he was glad to receive it for all G Adventures employees who work hard in the spirit of social responsibility.
"We all do it because we think it's the right thing to do. But sometimes it is counterculture to what is normal in business and sometimes you feel like you're pushing a rock up a hill."
Poon Tip observed that, prior to the recession, consumers were beginning to think in a socially responsible manner to some degree when it came to their vacations. When the recession hit the tide receded somewhat, but progress is being made again.
"People are now living more sustainably at home so it's a natural progression ," he said. "For some reason, in the past, people seemed to live more sustainably at home... yet they would spend those beliefs on vacation because they were going to another country. But I think there is a tipping point where that will change and it will change quickly."
Though Poon Tip was honoured to receive the recognition, he admitted it did feel somewhat strange to be inducted when he feels he is just getting started.
"I still have gas in the tank. I'm just getting started in many ways. even though we're 22 years old, we've just become a critical size that we are able to do really exciting innovative stuff that we can afford to do... We've been doing our best work in the last five years and I think that over the next five years we're going to do things that business, in general, hasn't seen; let alone the travel indsutry."