Environmental and social impact has always been at the heart of what we do, so it made sense for International Volunteer HQ to undergo the rigorous assessment to become a Certified B Corporation.
B Corp is a symbol of sustainability, inclusivity and quality, showing that we have been externally audited and holding us to the highest social and environmental standards.
We’re proud to say that since 2015, IVHQ is the first and only volunteer travel provider to be a certified B Corporation.
IVHQ is also the only volunteer travel company to be a member of the Volunteer Groups Alliance (VGA), which is aligned with the United Nations and its 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Every single IVHQ volunteer project works towards one or more of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.Learn more about ethical volunteering
How did IVHQ become a B Corporation?
As a certified B Corp, International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ have undergone a robust assessment on the company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, environment and corporate governance. But it doesn’t end there. Being a B Corp is a long-term commitment, and the process continues with a challenging annual recertification process.
We contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.
All IVHQ volunteer projects work towards one or more of these goals and have been set up to tackle some of the most pressing social and environmental issues of our time. Our aim is to go beyond sustainability by providing a regenerative way to see the world and give back - and we are committed to leaving every place better than we found it.How we make an impact
IVHQ’s operations are Carbon Neutral
IVHQ is proud to be certified Zero Carbon Business Operations. Since April 2019, we have measured and offset the carbon footprint of our business operations to ensure these have no negative impact on the climate. The solar panels in our head office provide most of our electricity requirements and we have purchased certified carbon credits with Ekos to offset non-renewable head office energy consumption and business travel undertaken by our staff.
These certified carbon credits are sourced from projects that grow and protect forests in our home country, New Zealand, as well as other neighbouring Pacific Islands. These projects help to deliver climate resilience, waterways protection, erosion control, biodiversity conservation and community economic development.
In addition, we encourage all our volunteers to go ‘carbon neutral’ by enabling them to purchase their own carbon credits through IVHQ to offset the negative impact of their flights.
Using business as a force for good
We believe that business should be contributing positively towards society. That’s why we only offer ethical volunteer programs that are run by locals. Locals determine the focus of the volunteering, because they understand the community need surrounding each project. This ensures volunteers are contributing to projects that genuinely benefit from their support.
Being seen as ‘good’ through marketing is easy, but actually doing good is where many companies fall short. The B Corp stamp ensures we are dedicated, accountable, responsible and 100% transparent with our customers, communities, employees and the environment.See what we’re doing
How does IVHQ put B Corp values into practice?
Here are just a few examples of how we use B Corp’s best practice guidelines to ensure maximum benefit to volunteers, communities, employees and the environment.
We’ve got a big vision for the role that IVHQ will play in enabling people anywhere in the world to do something positive in the community, and this Certification is a symbol of our commitment to that vision in a responsible and sustainable way. We hope other entrepreneurial businesses will be inspired to join the movement too.
Empower volunteers to make a positive impact, learn new skills and explore their career path.
Ensure programs are affordable, inclusive and accessible to people of all ages and from all backgrounds.
Provide hands-on support to every volunteer from start to finish and actively seek feedback.
Regularly audit programs to ensure they are impactful, well-run and adhere to IVHQ’s health and safety policy.
Provide training to volunteers before their program and train local teams on best practice volunteer management.
For local communities:
Ensure IVHQ programs target the local community’s most pressing issues so volunteers help where they are genuinely needed.
Ensure all IVHQ projects work sustainably towards long term goals, providing a consistent flow of volunteers until they are no longer needed.
Screen volunteers, manage expectations and cap numbers when a program reaches capacity.
Support local employment opportunities and ensure volunteers do not replace paid employment.
Implement Child Protection and Animal Welfare policies.
IVHQ makes annual community donations and employees volunteer on a wide range of local community initiatives.
Promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Prioritize operational savings and sustainable spend.
Ensure internal transparency within the business.
B Corp symbol attracts talent and new employees.
Collaborate, build relationships and learn from fellow B Corps.
For the environment:
Offset carbon emissions for all staff flying to visit/audit programs.
Recycle office garbage, old tech equipment, electronics and materials from events.
IVHQ’s head office is powered by solar panels.
Employees encouraged to cycle and walk to work.
Run tree planting and environmental conservation programs.
Volunteers participate in environmental education projects in local schools to promote sustainable living.
For corporate governance:
Social and environmental impact is integrated into company decision-making.
Board of Directors regularly reviews the company’s social and environmental performance.
Ethics-focused policy documents and risk assessments.
Independently audited financial accounts and procedures.
Transparent and public company ownership structure.
Publicly share information on our social and environmental performance.
The B Corp declaration of interdependence:
We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good. This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation - the B Corporation - which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe:
That we must be the change we seek in the world.
That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.