Mater Sustentable

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MATER is a travel agency created by tourism professionals with a focus on responsible tourism experiences. We are a young and dynamic team who know the destinations and we are in every detail to achieve unique trips with a real exchange between locals and visitors and in total respect for the natural and cultural environment of the place being visited.
Member since: 26 Jul 2019

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

We work closely to community-based tourism programs and their experiences are organized by local cooperatives, tourism networks and rural families.
The host families are in charge of preparing the activities and meals for the travelers for a fair price. They receive the final rate for all their services and products, as it is a complementary economic activity to their main work (farming, cattle, etc.)   
There is also a percentage (5 -15%) for a cooperative fund and administrative charges for the network. To benefit the cooperative and its members, they invest their funds in different actions such as equipment, marketing, fairs participation, travels and projects.

All our employees are registered and we have a strong training program especially during the low season.

We always employ local collaborators, certified tour guides and local partners. Actually, the community based tourism programs generate local employment and the diversification of the economy.  

We collaborate with some of our local suppliers. For example, last year our director Hervé has trained a group of local suppliers of the Northern region of Argentina.

We always prioritize suppliers that include local products. In the community based tourism programs, local products are part of the experience.

Environmental responsibility

Our tours include the visit to National Parks and Natural Reserves and we sensitize our clients beforehand about nature care and environmental protection. Before the client’s arrival, we send them different information about our country, the regions and cities to be visited during their trip and also we include the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, a program of the UNWTO. Also we send them the Decalogue of the Responsible Tourist where they can have a quick guide of useful tips for the visit to Natural Protected Areas.
We also suggest them to download the app Carbono Cero for calculate the trip’s carbon footprint and then we offer different options to compensate it.
In addition, we have an agreement with Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina (WWF member) collaborating with local conservation projects. Every month we donate money accordingly to the number of clients travelling with MATER.
We are also certified by the Ministry of Tourism of Argentina due to our environmental commitment through the program “Directrices de Gestión Ambiental” (Environmental Management Guidelines)  

In our office, we have several practices related to environment protection, even though our impact is not much because we are a small team. In fact, we've been distinguished by the program Directrices de Gestión Ambiental from the Tourism Board of Argentina due to our environment protection actions, such as reuse and recycling of waste, paperless policy in the office, promotion of sustainable mobility, advice for our customers, environmental awareness posters for the responsible use of water and energy. Our certiificate will be renewed by the end of this year.
Next month, we'll have a training program + social activity along with the NGO Proyectar. We'll collaborate with some environmental activities in a humble neighborhood located on the outskirts of Buenos Aires city. This will be the first of many activities that we'll share with the NGO. 

We send clients brochures with recommendations, such as the responsible traveller code and the UNWTO Code of Ethical in Tourism. This talks about honouring local traditions and customs, supporting the local economy, respecting the environment and being an informed and respectful traveller.

In the past we used to provide refillable bottles but nowadays some of our suppliers provide with a bottle to our customers so we've decided to give our clients a small bag made from recycled leather insead. The company, Vacavaliente, buy the waste of leather from big companies and reuse them creating products.

In every possible destination we choose hotels with sustainable policy (make adequate treatment of its waste, reduce the environmental impact and allocate funds for the care of the environment).

Social responsibility

Our main social commitment is to work with rural communities in Argentina. In addition to selling their programs, we collaborate in the development and commercial strengthening of them. For example, last year Hervé, director of the company, traveled to a rural community in Jujuy to teach a course on the assembly of tourist packages for more than 50 communities. This training was done as part of MATER's CSR policy, with the company absorbing 100% of the expenses.
We also visit local projects during our tours, collaborating with some NGOs and cooperatives. We promote local culture in all our tours and we include info and advices in our itineraries. 
Internally we also promote CSR among our employees, participating in different activities outside the office and courses.

We send clients a brochure of Argentina (that we’ve designed) and then we send more information before the trip (one month is related to the destinations, one month related to local food, etc.) As travelers book their trip many months in advance, we try to communicate with them at least once a month. Then, when we welcome them on the first day of the tour, we also give them some advices, maps and recommendations.

We include information on how to minimise negative impacts on local culltures on the “Responsible Traveler Decalogue” We also offer them to download (for free) a Carbon Footprint Calculator app so they can calculate the CO2 footprint and it also offers some options to compensate it.

A local guide always accompanies trips to local communities and we work with some local guides that already know the communities and they accompany the group for the whole duration of the visit specially when the travelers don’t speak Spanish.

The best examples of social projects which we visit are the rural cooperatives of Northern Argentina and Patagonia. Also, in Buenos Aires city we’ve collaborate with a community based urban tourism program in a marginal area of the city (Maciel Island). The project was created for inhabitants of the island and one NGO that later stop the program due to financial problems. We’ve encourage them to continue with the program so we help them to quote their product, we try the circuit and we’ve put them in contact with some other experiences in Latin America.
After that, we started creating a video to show the experience and interview local people (story telling). Unfortunately, the program is not working due to internal conflicts.
We also recommend our travelers to visit social projects, for example some of our clients have visited Camino Abierto, a soup-kitchen located in a rural area that also offer training to the children: organic farming, local food preparation, harvest, farm, etc.

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