Animal Experience International

Travel and Volunteering

Barrie, Ontario

Canada

www.animalexperienceinternational.com/

About Animal Experience International

Animal Experience International (AEI) is an organization with a mission to help animals around the globe by matching clients with animal-related volunteer opportunities at sanctuaries, wildlife hospitals, animal clinics and conservation projects. Through their work as a wildlife veterinarian and as a volunteer coordinator for wildlife rehabilitation centres, Heather and Nora have come to understand the need for such an organization. AEI is committed to making sustainable and long lasting connections by partnering with only the very best organizations around the world.  Quality, worry-free placements allow AEI’s clients to focus on taking care of the animals and getting the most possible from their volunteer experience!

All of AEI’s partners are community-based organizations, and AEI works directly with the community to not only take part in conservation projects but to ensure that they are making a sustainable change. Each partner has been personally visited and assessed to ensure that the placements are genuinely aiding animals and that our presence will be beneficial to the community.  AEI understands the negative impact that volunteer tourism can potentially have and is committed to ensuring our clients make a valuable and positive impact on their own lives as well as the lives of our Placement Partners around the world.

AEI is committed to ethical environmental practices. Understanding that travel is a contributor to climate change and environmental degradation, AEI has partnered with a family-run company in northern Canada to make 100% of the travel associated with its trips carbon balanced. Trees are planted in the boreal forest to off-set the in-country travel of AEI volunteers. AEI’s commitment is not only to changing the lives of AEI clients, but to making the planet a healthier place to live.

Traveling is not enough. Volunteering is not enough. We want to make sure our global impact creates advocates for animals and communities around the world.

The Change We Seek®

We make community connections: We make sure our partners are working for the betterment of their community and community members. We are an animal organization that realizes everything is connected. Our volunteers do not work in a vacuum and we want to make sure it stays that way. The conservation projects we support always have an educational component to ensure systemic problems are being addressed. We will only work with groups who have the sustainability of the wider community as part of their mission. We have volunteers stay with families to make sure there is a free and embracing cultural exchange. We are giving people so much more than animal experiences- we are making people advocates for the families and communities they are living in.

We walk the path first: We visit all our partners to make sure we know exactly where our volunteers will be living, what they will be doing and who they will be volunteering with! We don't ask for special treatment because that’s not why we travel. We want to see the faces of the people we will be working with. We want to eat the food that will be served to everyone. We want to clean the enclosures our volunteers will be working in. Simply, we want to make sure we know the places where we send our clients, inside and out! We write country manuals for all our volunteers so they can learn from our experiences (and sometimes our mistakes). Volunteers can be assured that the places they will be helping are ethical, safe and exactly as described.

We encourage ethical travel: We realize that with global travel comes global impact, and we want to make sure the impact we have is as positive as possible. That is why we wrote a book about! We also have an ongoing ethical travel portion of our website that we highlight every time a client signs up with us. Part of our volunteer interview is a discussion about ethical travel and what it means to each client specifically. It's important to have an ongoing and empowering dialogue about ethical travel- one that allows people to add their own ideas and take away actions. One of the ways we help our clients start thinking about their impact is by carbon balancing their in-country travel. We accomplish this by working with a start-up in northern Canada who plants trees in the boreal forest. Not only does this help animals abroad, it provides habitat for animals at home!

We support all levels of education: Not only do we support our partners with their educational initiatives, we also support our clients with their education! Our Experiences are pre-approved with many professional organizations (veterinary and non-veterinary) to offer continuing education credits, university cooperative education credits and college internship/externship credits. Schools provide great foundations for learning and we are excited to see students use their education in a broader context, helping animals around the world, while experiencing different countries and cultures.

We love our clients: AEI was created for volunteers by volunteer and travel experts. After having some of the greatest and most challenging experiences of our lives, we wanted to make sure there would be nothing to stop someone from safely getting out of their comfort zone and volunteering around the world. From our country specific travel manuals to our 24 hour support, our volunteer briefing/debriefing to fundraising mentorship, from our book about travel's global impact to the free use of our pictures and logos- everything we do, we do to help our clients live their dreams. We are constantly inspired by our clients’ passion and enthusiasm. We do everything humanly possible (and sometimes more!) to encourage and support them and remove any obstacles that might stop them from volunteering and traveling.

What makes us a better company?

B Impact Report

Certified since: 

March 2013
Summary:

Company Score

Median Score*

Environment

Environment

The Environment section of the Assessment evaluates a company's environmental performance through its facilities; materials, resource, and energy use; and emissions. Where applicable, it also considers a company's transportation/distribution channels and environmental impact of its supply chain. This section also measures whether a company's products or services are designed to solve an environmental issue, including products that aid in the provision of renewable energy, conserve resources, reduce waste, promote land/wildlife conservation, prevent toxic/hazardous substance or pollution, or educate, measure, or consult to solve environmental problems.

38
7
Workers

Workers

The Worker section of the survey assesses the company's relationship with its workforce. This section measures how the company treats its workers through compensation, benefits, training, and ownership opportunities provided to workers. It also focuses on the overall work environment within the company through management/worker communication, job flexibility and corporate culture, and worker health and safety practices.

21
18
Customers

Customers

The Customers section of the Assessment measures the impact a company has on its customers. The section focuses on whether a company sells products or services that promote public benefit, and if those products/services are targeted towards serving underserved populations. Questions in this section will measure whether a company's product or service is designed to solve a social or environmental issue (e.g. improves health, preserves environment or creates economic opportunity to individuals or communities, promotes the arts/sciences, or increases the flow of capital to purpose-driven enterprises).

N/A
N/A
Community

Community

The Community section of the survey assesses a company's impact on its community. The Community section evaluates a company's supplier relations, diversity, and involvement in the local community. The section also measures the company's practices and policies around community service and charitable giving. In addition, this section includes if a company's product or service is designed to solve a social issue, including access to basic services, health, education, economic opportunity, arts, and increasing the flow of capital to purpose-driven enterprises.

36
17
Governance

Governance

The Governance section of the Assessment evaluates a company's accountability and transparency. The section focuses on the company's mission, stakeholder engagement, and overall transparency of the company's practices and policies.

15
6
Overall B Score
109
55

80 out of 200 is eligible for certification

*Of all businesses that have completed the B Impact Assessment

*Median scores will not add up to overall

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Company Highlights: 

Community: Suppliers evaluated on specific environmental and social criteria; preference given to local and sustainable suppliers; 80% of significant suppliers have third-party social or environmental certifications on the company level; 100% of company ownership is from underrepresented populations.

Environment: Office-wide recycling policy including paper, cardboard, plastic, glass & metal, and composting; non-toxic and organic office supplies used; over 75% of printed materials use recycled paper content; more than 50% of greenhouse gas emissions off-set.

2014 Best for the World Overall Honoree

2014 Best for the World Environment Honoree

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