Our Principles and Ethics
At iambassador, we are committed to building a thriving business, with strong relationships based on shared values and sustainability principles at the core of what we do.
Our aim is to build a thriving business that provides value. For us, this means taking care of our team, our customers, content creators AND our planet. We believe that this can only be achieved through building solid relationships based on shared values, and taking our sustainability responsibilities seriously.
We wholeheartedly subscribe to the principles of Mary Portas’ Kindness Economy, where people and planet are just as, if not more important, than making a tidy profit. Guided by these principles and the UN Sustainability Goals, we are committed to:
- nurturing our community
- supporting initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion
- supporting better education, equal rights and sustainability
- utilising renewable energy sources
- minimising our carbon footprint and waste
- promoting sustainable travel practices and local businesses
Our past efforts include supporting the Local Purse project and partnering with TUI Care Foundation to promote sustainable travel and small businesses in Mexico, and showcasing off-the-beaten-path places and sustainable travel options in Germany through our #EnjoyHiddenGermany campaigns.
Furthermore, since our inception in 2011, we have spearheaded efforts to create a universal code of conduct for all professional content creators. Our goal was to create a set of principles which would align iambassador and its content partners. We achieved this at our Social Travel Summit in 2014, and updated this Code of Ethics at our 2019 Summit.
STS Code of Ethics for travel content creators
This page outlines the ethical code and standards of practice for professional travel content creators, including:
- accurately representing online influence and other statistics
- establishing clear objectives with partners and clients
- protecting the editorial integrity of their content
- publishing or delivering all negotiated content in a professional and timely manner.
As a professional travel content creator:
- I expect to be paid for my work not my opinion.
- I undertake to publish/deliver all content that I have agreed in a professional and timely manner.
- I will not falsely represent my online influence/statistics, or inflate my statistics by buying false readers, followers, fans etc.
- I will not falsely claim an expertise or skill that I do not have.
- My first loyalty is to my readers for whom my credibility and individuality is crucial.
- My standards apply not only to my own content but also to my ‘brand’, across all social media platforms.
- Sustainability: I will strive for continual improvement in the way I travel by adopting sustainable practices wherever possible. I will continue to improve my understanding of travel’s impact on society, the environment and the economy and will help my audiences to understand this too
- Professional standards: I will respect professional standards of business conduct when dealing with clients, clarifying expectations on both sides before work commences and communicating in a clear and timely way
- Care for the people and places that I visit: I will show due care and respect for the people and places I that visit [especially sites with special historic, cultural, religious or environmental significance], and will help educate my audiences on how to visit responsibly too
- Accuracy in representation and reporting: I will present myself/my channels and report on my work in a transparent and accurate way. I will not falsely represent my online influence/statistics, or inflate my statistics by buying false readers, followers, etc.
- Transparency around commercial relationships: I will always clearly label any advertising, advertorials, sponsorships, competitions, product tests or 3rd party reviews, published by me and declare any commercial relationships or associations
- Honest content: I will give an honest and accurate representation of the places that I visit through my content. I will make it clear when an image or video has been significantly altered for artistic effect
- Fairness and subjectivity: I reserve the right to write my honest opinion. If discrepancies, complications or negative experiences occur in the course of a sponsored trip, I undertake to consult first with the host to clarify and, if possible, resolve the situation. I reserve the right to [or not to] write about the venue/trip/experience and inform the host of the reasons why
- Conduct online: I will respect the copyright and moral rights of others in my work. In my professional capacity, I will endeavour to behave with courtesy and respect to other internet users.
Acknowledgements: The STS Code of Ethics 2020 draws on the previous STS Code of Ethics for Professional Travel Bloggers 2014, as well as input from the Reiseblogger Kollektiv Kodex, Social Travel Summit Think Tank Ravenna 2019 and the Social Travel Forum Graz 2019. These roundtable discussion groups consisted of representatives of the tourism industry, content creators and travel influencers. The discussions were led and summarised by Peter Jordan, tourism trends analyst and consultant.
Sustainability and iambassador
As part of our efforts to build and maintain a thriving business, we have stepped up our sustainability responsibilities in recent years. We’ve reviewed and developed our business policies and practices to reduce our carbon impact. As a result, we placed solar panels on our roof, changed to an eco-friendly web host, reduced the number of business trips and sped up our efforts to become 100% paperless.
In order to achieve the status of a climate-neutral company, we initiated a partnership with Trees For All, a Dutch organisation. Each year, we calculate our annual C02 emissions and compensate these by donating to certified reforestation and community projects in The Netherlands and around the world. In 2023, our corporate carbon emissions amounted to less than 3 tons.
Here are some of our initiatives to date:
- iambassador HQ is powered by renewable energy sources (solar and wind). Surplus electricity generated by our 14 solar panels is shared with the regional power grid
- We keep our carbon emissions to a minimum by working almost entirely online
- We walk, cycle or use public transport to attend out-of-office meetings
- Our website and database are hosted on climate neutral servers
- iambassador proposals, contracts and invoices are 100% paperless
- Our team and clients are located around the world. Aside from meeting online, we have reduced the number of in-person meetings to ±5x each year. Whenever possible, we combine our in-person team/client meetings with trade fairs or conferences
- We calculate and compensate our carbon emissions annually through our partnership with Trees For All
- In recent years, our aim is to integrate sustainable travel principles in all our campaigns. These can be online-only campaigns (with no travel necessary) or travel campaigns where C02 emissions are compensated and/or kept to a minimum. Furthermore, our travel campaigns always include low emission travel and activities, slow travel, local community and farm-to-fork culinary experiences. Wherever possible, we choose to work with sustainability-minded accommodation and activity providers.
In line with our sustainability initiatives and our commitment to promote sustainable and responsible tourism, we launched the SustainableCities.travel platform in April 2023. A collaboration between iambassador and Climate Conscious Travel, SustainableCities.Travel is a global storytelling platform to inspire travelers to (re)discover both famous and lesser-known cities, through the ideas and recommendations of travelers and those who call them home.
At SustainableCities.Travel, we are on a mission to:
- Create perhaps the world’s first storytelling platform to showcase sustainable travel ideas and suggestions by locals and travellers in cities around the world
- Inspire travelers from near and far, to experience their favourite cities more meaningfully, while creating a positive impact on the local community and the environment
- Encourage residents of these cities to adopt sustainable alternatives in their everyday lives
- Create an opportunity for DMOs to spotlight sustainable tourism and attract responsible travellers, while keeping their environmental footprint low.