To safeguard Earths remaining 
wilderness, by empowering communities 
through sustainable business.

 
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VOPO meticulously designs immersive and challenging remote travel experiences that support community-based sustainability projects.  

We partner with NGOs and community groups to develop a microcosm of locally-owned social enterprises and ecological solutions to support the growth of sustainable industries in developing regions of the world. We are committed to support the design of closed-loop systems with communities our expeditions take place in, enabling the implementation of waste management infrastructure, sanitation and access to renewable energy sources as a fundamental human right.

Currently, we operate our wilderness impact expeditions in 5 locations across remote parts of Indonesia, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, French Polynesia and Australia. VOPO work with local communities upon request and official invitation, to provide a global, goal oriented platform for each region to establish sustainable micro-economies.

From 2020, expedition leaders will be trained and employed directly from the communities that we work with. For this, we sponsor scholarship positions for locals to join VOPO Wild Enterprise programs. During this process, training for future expedition leaders and facilitators of VOPO's programs and experiences happens.

 
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Remote communities across Asia Pacific lack access to sustainable income opportunities, longterm impact planning processes and fundamental systems.

Villagers often turn to illegal logging, mining and poaching as jobs. Development often occurs outside the planning process which has detrimental impacts on the environment. Basic waste management services and infrastructure are often non-existent, therefore, waste is dumped everywhere.

We partner with the local communities to propel:
1) the creation of locally-owned enterprises to generate sustainable income, with nature as the most lucrative asset
2) introducing waste, sanitation, renewable energy technology, systems and education programs to promote a clean environment and connect human beings with their fundamental needs.

The VOPO experience is enhanced by supporting the local communities
we work in.

 
 

We call this phenomena 'experience symbiosis'.

By supporting the local communities where we work, we can provide an authentic, valuable and fulfilling experience to expedition participants. Expedition guests engage in and support local sustainability projects, directly.

We create positive impact in the remote communities our expeditions occur through the VOPO eco-incubator program, Wild Enterprise. The goal is to improve the wellbeing of remote communities by facilitating the creation of locally-owned positive-impact enterprises. We utilise nature as our most lucrative asset to be preserved.

All VOPO Expeditions fund the critical Wild Enterprise program, within some of the worlds most breathtaking, remote yet ecologically challenged destinations.

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Watch our journey

Where is the plastic coming from? What are the driving forces and systems at play behind the challenge of ocean pollution? How can we create solutions that stand the test of time? ⛵🌴 Charlotte Rose Mellis (@amor.earth), Director of VOPO Earth takes you on a journey through The Philippines with a team of participants from across the world.
 

What we do?

VOPO supports remote communities, by developing sustainable micro-economies and critical waste systems. Our highly immersive and challenging remote travel experiences directly support our community projects in participating countries.

Our experiences will be physically challenging, mentally stimulating and spiritually abundant. You will be exposed to the true wilderness of the world and all of its glory.

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THE CREW

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CHARLOTTE ROSE MELLIS
Co-Founder / Global Director, Head of Strategy & Partnerships

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ERIK SUMARKHO
Co-Founder / Head of Sustainability & Indonesia Operations

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JAX OLIVER
Environmental Videographer

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JESS ELLUL
Landscape Architect (VIC Student Ambassador)

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TARUN ADDEPALLI
Biochemical Engineer (QLD Student Ambassador)

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ZO OLANGI
Medical Doctor & Videographer

 

 LOCAL ADVISORS & COLLABORATORS

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DAVE GUMBAO ALBAO
Philippines Advisor

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HENRY KANIKI
Solomon Islands Advisor

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AUGUST TONGIATT
Indonesian Advisor

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TITOUAN BERNICOT
French Polynesia Advisor

 

From a boot-strapped, lean start-up to an Impact Adventure company that funds the incubation of critical eco-enterprise in the worlds wildest places.

With a community of 40,000, established programs in 5 countries across Asia Pacific, the next section of our voyage requires us to be bold, push limits and most importantly, deliver on our goals.

We must continue to deepen our expertise, inspire behaviour change and continuously innovate to ensure our model presents the most effective and pleasurable path to achieving our vision.

Thank you for daring to dream with us. It brings us infinite satisfaction to wake up in a future we are designing together.

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Wild Enterprise is our flagship program that equips individuals (micro-entrepreneurs), local leaders and villages with the necessary tools and resources needed for greater economic participation. We provide individuals and communities with the training, networks and monitoring to ensure business growth. Participants are supported with a thorough business case and appropriate marketing skills along with financial training.

The aim of the program is to develop resilient and sustainable rural communities that protect nature as our most lucrative asset. We do this by exploring, celebrating and implementing alternatives to low income employment from environmentally destructive industries, like illegal mining, logging and poaching.


Why enterprise?

Two of the most significant challenges that continue to hinder conservation, economic growth and social empowerment in remote communities are sustainable livelihood generation and market access.

The Wild Enterprise eco-incubator program empowers participants to create waste management, sustainable agriculture and responsible tourism enterprises. We track the journey of individuals or villages over the life of the business to make improvements to our model and enhance our support mechanisms at any chance.

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Why expeditions?

The more our business grows through offering curated, once in a lifetime experiences, embedded with new learning, skills and networks, the more we can invest directly into the communities of our partner destinations and have a stronger impact.

By 2020, VOPO will have hubs in all 5 of our key destinations, employing and training talented locals to lead these with the flavour of each culture, yet the backing and support from our unstoppable, combined force. That is VOPO Earth. We make our expeditions more mind-blowing with each experience, it is an obsession. Why not tidy up the planet at the same time.


Global Partners


Watch the journey

Where is the plastic coming from? What are the driving forces and systems at play behind the challenge of ocean pollution? How can we create solutions that stand the test of time? ⛵🌴 Charlotte Rose Mellis (@amor.earth), Director of VOPO Earth takes you on a journey through The Philippines with a team of participants from across the world.

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To improve the wellbeing of underserved communities through the implementation of waste microsolutions and critical systems for a proud and clean environment.

Target

To impact 500,000 lives and in the process create 5 community waste enterprises and clean 5 communities in the next 5 years.

Methodology

In each of the areas we work with, we follow our impact methodology:

  1. Knowledge Exchange & Community Mobilisation

  2. Waste Enterprise Community Workshop

  3. Optimisation of Waste Storage and Transport System

  4. Technical Design of Waste Technology

  5. Installation of Waste Technology

  6. Community Training on Technology Maintenance

  7. Waste Reduction Education Programs

  8. Monthly Reporting on Generation & Composition

  9. Impact Assessment

A few Rogue Plastic projects:

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Zero Waste Sari Sari Store

Plastic-to-Energy Microplant in Mentawai

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Remote Arnavon Islands Waste Management

Kerehikapa Island Sustainable Tourism Waste Policy

Remote Microdump Leachate Strategy

 
 

The organisation, VOPO, believes that the power of unique experiences, and of human connection to oneself, each other and nature can change the world. Our passion and dedication to environmental and social issues have committed us to conducting business beyond sustainability. We endeavour to create long-term impact in the communities we work with, empower individuals and support a thriving ecology. VOPO will consider these factors in both our direct actions and those of our suppliers, affiliates, and partners.

We begin by first acknowledging the potentially detrimental consequences of our expeditions. We fly planes to arrive at our destinations, we stay in accommodation that requires electricity (where ever possible we choose those sustainably built and powered). We create waste and we expose wild natural places to humans.

Understating that VOPO Impact Adventures have unintended consequences, is the first step to continuously and actively mitigate the adverse effects; by: seeking alternatives, offsetting the negative consequences, avoiding the worst choices, continually assessing and addressing our impact, and innovating solutions to mitigate our pressures on the world.

VOPO statement reads:
“In the restoration of wild landscapes, we find nature. Through the empowerment of others, we find ourselves”.

For this, the VOPO tribe asks that employees, suppliers, affiliates, and partners use this Sustainability Policy as a guiding principle when conducting business.

Our Responsibility

VOPO’s activities and services will be ethically conducted by treating employees, the natural environment, and diverse cultures with respect. We will minimise negative social consequences by promoting equality, fairness, and diversity. Our adverse environmental effects and greenhouse gas emissions will be minimised by seeking alternatives (using deep sustainability research and understanding), using recycled and recyclable materials where possible, offsetting our impacts, and reducing waste, water, and energy consumption as a whole.

Transparency vow

VOPO commits to conduct its business responsibly and sustainably with transparency and openness. We expect our suppliers and partners to conduct their business in the same way and require them to provide relevant information as a condition of doing business. Our efforts on sustainability where possible will be auditable, certifiable and verified. VOPO is committed to making decisions based on deep understanding, knowledge, respect and best information available to us.


Supporting the Long-term Sustainable Development of Remote Communities

Through extensive dialogue, collaboration and knowledge sharing, VOPO will create strategic solutions to environmental issues identified by the local community or working group. The Brainmelt method will be used to support and guide our customers in the creation of the sustainability solution. It is imperative that the solutions are created together with the local communities and working groups, not externally. The solutions need to take into consideration the socio-cultural, environmental, psychological, spiritual, and economic circumstances of the local region.

Through extensive dialogue, collaboration and knowledge sharing, VOPO will create strategic solutions to environmental issues identified by the local community or working group. The Brainmelt method will be used to support and guide our customers in the creation of the sustainability solution. It is imperative that the solutions are created together with the local communities and working groups, not externally. The solutions need to take into consideration the socio-cultural, environmental, psychological, spiritual, and economic circumstances of the local region.

 
 

The organisation, VOPO, believes that the power of unique experiences, and of human connection to oneself, each other and nature can change the world. Our passion and dedication to environmental and social issues have committed us to conducting business beyond sustainability. We endeavour to create long-term impact in the communities we work with, empower individuals and support a thriving ecology. VOPO will consider these factors in both our direct actions and those of our suppliers, affiliates, and partners.


Environmental CODE OF CONDUCT

Supporting the Long-term Sustainable Development of Rural Communities

Through extensive dialogue, collaboration and knowledge sharing, VOPO will create strategic solutions to environmental issues identified by the local community or working group. The Brainmelt method will be used to support and guide our customers in the creation of the sustainability solution. It is imperative that the solutions are created together with the local communities and working groups, not externally. The solutions need to take into consideration the socio-cultural, environmental, psychological, spiritual, and economic circumstances of the local region.

Carbon Footprint

VOPO analyses the carbon emissions from the travel of our expeditions. We are committed to reducing our adverse effect, offsetting our emissions and exploring alternative options.

Green Procurement Policy

VOPO is committed to the use and purchase of environmentally and socially responsible materials, products and services. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that approved VOPO suppliers are selected. It is an expectation that suppliers continually demonstrate that materials and production are conducted in a sustainable manner. 

Waste Management: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Compost

VOPO will concentrate its efforts to reduce the amount of waste from its operations. When reducing the waste is not an option, we will alternatively recycle, compost or seek alternative products that are scientifically-proven to cause less harm to the environment and the health of living beings. 

Animal Welfare Policy

VOPO believes in the fair and humane treatment of animals, and that they should have their basic needs met. We will ensure that our direct action and suppliers meet ethical guidelines for the treatment of all species.

Empowering our Customers by Providing Choice for Mitigation

For the major adverse environmental effects of our expeditions, we provide offset choices for our customers to select. This way, we can educate and empower our customers by making them part of the resolution. 

Use our Company as a Force to Advocate for Change

The goal of VOPO’s Journal is to encourage dialogue, ideas and the exchange of knowledge in sustainability. With the ultimate purpose to inspire actionable change, and help spread the word about both sustainability issues and the innovative concepts solving them.

Efficiency in Travel

We will choose sustainable travel practices in the operations of our expeditions, by:

  • Using the most fuel-efficient, low-emission, and economical transportation when available.
  • Sharing vehicles and combining multiple tasks in one trip
  • Choosing accommodations that are sustainably certified or are clearly having a positive impact on the environment, the community or both where possible.
  • Creating storytelling content, and web-based videoconferencing to communicate the trip and share the knowledge to a wider scope in engaging a larger audience beyond those who participate physically.

Perpetual iteration of Expeditions

VOPO Expeditions will be flexible adventures, meaning that they will be able to change and adapt based on new gathered information and data. Expert advice will be used critically as feedback for our expeditions, for continued refinement with the intention of reducing negative consequences where possible.

 

Social CODE OF CONDUCT

VOPO’s services, activities and products will be designed considering the potential negative social effects. We will minimise the effects of by promoting equality, fairness, respect and diversity in our business operations.

Human Rights policy

VOPO supports and respects the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention Against Corruption.

We acknowledge the rights of our employees, affiliates, partners and suppliers through equality and non-discrimination.

VOPO supports the abolition of child labour and requires its affiliates, partners and suppliers that work with us to comply with this.

Local Collaborations

VOPO will work together in collaboration, when possible in partnership, with local stakeholders in order to create the strategic solutions to pressing issues. It is imperative that the solutions and the process taken to create them took extensive consideration with the local communities and working groups. The solutions need to take into account the socio-cultural, environmental, psychological, spiritual and economic circumstances of the local region. 

Continuous Improvement

VOPO will take necessary corrective actions to promptly remediate any noncompliance and strive for continuous improvement. We reserve the right to terminate business relationships with any supplier and/or contractor who is unwilling or unable to comply with the Code.

 

Ready?

Lets talk about your next expedition, today.

 
 

We are committed to reducing our adverse effect on the environment. Therefore, VOPO has created Trading Carbon. An expedition specific competition that neutralises the emissions from air, land & sea travel by supporting projects that have a positive social and environmental impact.

What is Offsetting?

Even though current forms of transport can be incredibly convenient and it allows us to visit some of the world's most remote and beautiful places, it is also responsible for releasing greenhouse gases. Proven to have negative effects on the health of humans and the natural environment.

Because of this, we have calculated the fuel emissions for each route and vessel taken during the expedition in an attempt to equalise our impact. The projects we support help empower and create positive environmental and social change in the world.

All of the carbon offsetting projects are verified. Meaning, they meet strict international standards that certify the validity of the projects. These initiatives ultimately help mitigate the negative effects from travel.


offset projects

We support these offset projects through out our Impact Adventures.

 

 
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1. electric garbage

Generating sustainable energy from wastewater in Thailand

The Kornburi Wastewater Treatment Project is located at a tapioca starch processing plant in the Kornburi District of Northern Thailand. 

Biogas from wastewater is captured and burned to generate electricity and heat that powers the factory, preventing approximately 39,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.

 

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2. capture the wind

Producing clean energy from wind for rural regions in Taiwan

Even though the country has such a long and windy coastline, Taiwan is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels.Over 75% of the country's total installed electricity capacity runs on fossil fuels. 

The Changbin and Taichung Wind Farm project harnesses Taiwan's abundant wind energy along the its coastline. It generates over 300,000 MWh of clean electricity from 65 wind turbines for more than 86,300 households annually.

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3. river energy

Creating dam-free hydro power in Indonesia

This micro hydro power plant makes use of the natural flow of water to generate sustainable power for the island of Sulawesi, without the need for a retaining dam. 

The project utilises the natural fall of water between the upper Moaat lake and the lower Iloloy lake to generate low impact sustainable energy. The hydro plant has an installed capacity of 3 MW only, making it heavily dependent on additional funding from carbon revenues.


 

The calculations

This is an example from our Negros Island Expedition.

Step 1

Mapping the routes: Once we knew our participant’s points of origin, we estimate the total travel distance for each type of transport and vessels. 

  1. Point of Origin - Manila (air)
  2. Manila - Bacalod (air)
  3. Bacalod - Bulata (land)
  4. Bulata - Danjugan Island (sea)
  5. Danjugan Island - Bulata (sea)
  6. Bulata - Dumaguete (land)
  7. Dumaguete - Manila (air)
  8. Manila to Point - Origin (air)

Step 2

Selecting the vessel types: Vessel types used on each route were selected. 

  • International flights: A320, A332 & A343 (average)
  • Domestic flights: A320, 32A, 738, 739, 772 (average)
  • Land transfer: Class I, Class II, Class III (average)
  • Sea transfer: Outrigger boat single cylinder diesel motor (local paraw)

Step 3

Calculating emissions: Once the total distance travelled is calculated and the type of vessel used selected, we then can calculate the emissions. We used different methodologies, depending on the type of travel.

Air travel

Methodology for estimation: United Nations specialized agency International Civil Aviation Organization Carbon Emissions Calculator (ICAO)

Overview: The ICAO has a methodology developed for estimating the amount of carbon emissions equivalent (CO2 e-) generated per passenger per flight, for use in carbon offsetting programmes.

The Process: The CO2 emission are calculated from the fuel burned by the aircraft serving a given route. The scheduled aircraft is identified from the scheduled flights database, then mapped into one of the 312 equivalent aircraft types existing in the aircraft fuel consumption database from the ICAO.

Using the trip distance, equivalent aircraft fuel consumption, passenger to seat load factor and passenger to freight load factor for the route group, and the number of Y-seats, the methodology calculates the CO2 associated to each passenger, as follows:

emissions per pax = 3.16 * (total fuel * pax-to-freight factor)/(number of y-seats * pax load factor)

Land travel

Methodology for estimation: European Commission Framework for CO2 emissions in light commercial vehicles (EC).

Overview: In an effort to confirm the feasibility of the 2020 target of 147 gco2/km to be the light commercial vehicle emissions standard, the EC carried out a series of assessments to understand the feasibility of such.

The Process: In the study mentioned above, the researchers measured the average CO2 emissions and vehicle footprint per vehicle segment for 2010 (and 2007) in grams of CO2 equivalent per kilometer travelled. At this point it is hard to know which type of van exactly we will use to mobilise the crew, therefore, we used the total average. The study uses 17 different kind of light vans from 17 different car manufacturers.

Every year the average the average carbon dioxide emissions intensity from new passenger and light commercial vehicles drops down. Meaning, on average vehicles are more fuel efficient as years go by. However, for the purpose of this assessment we used data from older vehicles given the remoteness of our expeditions and the potential availability of cars.

emissions per pax = (total distance travelled * average CO2 and vehicle footprint segment)/pax load factor

Sea travel

Methodology for estimation: This had to be a more rudimentary calculation. We used the average emissions from a single cylinder engine using diesel fuel. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency methodology for calculating emissions from ships was used as support

Overview: Our local contacts told us that local paraw (outrigger) boats will be used as transport. These boats run on diesel as fuel for a single cylinder engine.

The Process: We got the Emissions Factor of diesel fuel from the National Greenhouse Accounts Factors (2016). Then we calculated the total distance, the amount of fuel required to make the trip and we used the Emissions Factor of diesel to estimated the emissions. Calculations where based on the CO2 equivalent emitted per litter of diesel consumed.

emissions per pax= {[total distance * fuel intensity (l/km)]*Emissions Factor diesel (gCO2 e-/liter)}/pax load factor

 

Still keen to learn more?

 

Contact us

The Dream Forest
Sunshine Coast, QLD Australia
Tel: +61 4 24571270 | info@vopo.earth

City Swell Outpost
Sydney, NSW Australia
Tel: +61 4 50786893 | info@vopo.earth

Pacific Bliss Base
Tahiti, French Polynesia
Tel: +68 9 87341418 | info@vopo.earth

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