MScSM "Greets the World" through Sustainability Leaders' Series

Friday, October 21, 2016 - 10:20am
Sarah Jane Silva

Eschewing mass tourism for small groups, conservation and community involvement, entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author Bruce Poon Tip talks about 'sustainable travel' during the bi-annual Master of Science in Sustainability Management's (MScSM) Sustainability Leaders' Series evening at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

Bruce Poon Tip MScSM Student Executive Council
MScSM student talking to MScSM Director Shashi Kant
MScSM student with poster presentation Sustainability Leaders' Series - MScSM MScSM students

Photo credit: Jessica Molisak, IMI Communications & Media Intern


The majority of travel businesses are small and medium size enterprises, but collectively they are energy, carbon, water and waste intensive, while mass tourism is highly disruptive to the natural environment.

That’s why Alex Humphries opted to go with G Adventures, a Toronto-based travel company that offers small group expeditions and safaris on every continent, for her first trip to Thailand last Christmas.

“G Adventures whole philosophy is to use local trades people and solid, reputable vendors that actually give back to the community,” said Humphries, UTM alumna and the Records & Admissions Coordinator for Student Housing & Residence Life at UTM.

“I used G Adventures when I went to Thailand because I really respect what they do.”

Appealing to a new generation of young travellers with open minds but limited budgets, G Adventures owner and founder Bruce Poon Tip started selling tours overseas in the early 1990s, signing up with local companies in Europe, Australia and New Zealand to offer exotic destinations in South America and Africa.

At the Innovation Complex students, faculty and staff gathered to hear Poon Tip gave an impassioned talk about the evolution and philosophy behind his company. “The thing that is incredible about my business is that people from 160 countries book trips with us,” he said.

Last month, G Adventures celebrated twenty-six years in the travel industry and its charity, Planterra, has raised $1.1 million over the past year and added 11 community projects to its itinerary. The money will go towards adding 50 new projects such as noodle bars and local bike tours, over the next five years.

“It’s all about our movement: our message about sustainability, about being something different, about wealth distribution through travel…all of these things create movement and engagement. When it comes to business sustainability the engagement becomes a very important part of our business.”

Everyone who attended the lecture series received a free copy of Poon Tip’s Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business, courtesy of the MScSM Program. The evening also featured poster presentations from the graduating Class of 2017, which showcased their summer internships with leading employers in the sustainability industry.

About the MScSM Sustainability Leaders' Series

The Sustainability Leaders’ Series is a bi-annual lecture series offered by the Institute for Management & Innovation’s MScSM Program. It features accomplished leaders and advocates that inform and inspire many with messages of hope and direction for the creation of a sustainable future. Their experiences and speaking subjects cover all aspects of environmental management and sustainable development.