240 Seconds with Brad Frankel NOW speaks to the co-founder of Flooglebinder

240 Seconds with Brad Frankel
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Brad is the co-founder of Flooglebinder, a travel specialist that design and curate educational adventures to create change.  Brad and his partner Ian believe that change starts when we take a stand and do things differently, and both are passionate about travel, conservation, sustainability, human wellbeing, and making the world a better place.  

For Brad, it was a conversation with his teacher about his passion for diving that led to his studies in Marine Biology, which led to his passion to educate students. He is a qualified divemaster and underwater videographer, and  has a wealth of experience working on conservation projects around the world.

It is said that change can be made when just 3.5% of a community takes action. Therefore, it is Flooglebinder’s mission to work with 230 schools and colleges in the UK (3.5%) by 2030 to build a more sustainable future,  to reconnect students with the natural world and deepen their curiosity and understanding of conservation and their social and environmental impact. Through life-changing and informative expeditions, students are taught to protect endangered habitats, threatened species and diminishing cultures. Educational & Sustainable Trips Inspiring Global Change | Flooglebinder

1. One Word that describes you?

Adventurous.

2. What is your personal indulgence?

Running, camping and fires. Anything outdoors and if I am feeling really indulgent, a good shepherds hut.

3. What project are you most proud of when it comes to sustainability?

Our Malaysia project planned for Dec 20, 2020 with 70 students building a chocolate and animal hides factory. The community project is 3.5 hours North East of Kuala Lumpur, an area that is unfortunately big on palm oil and rubber. However, 50+ years ago, it was great for cacao and we helped to rebuild this industry whilst also protecting a really important tiger migration corridor. The project is on hold during Covid-19 but we’re hoping to pick it back up again in 2020.

Our Sri Lanka project plants orange trees to create livelihoods for farmers and create natural corridors for elephants to protect them, save lives and create an alternative cash crop. It’s a Win-Win situation and a great example of a sustainable solution to tackle human/elephant conflict.

4. Covid-19 has been called the Great Reset… what does this mean for you? If you had to distil it into just 3 key words, what would they be?

Re-think, Adapt and Persevere. It certainly forced us to slow down from our day to day work, and allowed us to work on all the side projects that we’ve left behind such as our re-brand and new site. For a business whose main revenue is through international travel though, it has not been easy.

5. We have gone over the dreaded tipping points and our actions in 2021 will determine if 2030 will be relatively hopeful for a stable future. As governments allocate the 10 trillion-dollar budget for recovery programs worldwide in 2021, how are you using the power of your vote and your voice to ensure this goes to companies that can address the climate emergency, collapsing ecosystems, deficits on social justice and racial equalities.

We realised a long time ago that travel enables people to connect. It opens up people’s eyes, creates empathy, holistic mindsets and prepares people for a globally minded future. Be it social or racial injustice, coral bleaching or biodiversity loss, seeing these issues in action creates change towards pro environmental behaviour. The educational work that we do before and after the trip itself (which we call the connection phase) helps people to understand what is really going on.

By understanding their social and environmental impact and carbon footprint, people become more aware and realise the importance of their purchasing power as consumers. They are able to understand the role of government and business, particularly those using business as a force for good. We do a lot of work with schools to help them achieve carbon neutrality and a big part of the sustainability action plan is looking at their supply chain.

6. Are you an activist at heart?  Which movement/s are you supporting to drive systemic change, get to carbon zero, and/or stand for social justice?

I guess I am. I’ve never really been asked that question or thought about it, and whilst I don’t sit on the picket line, I do it in many other ways. We’re very proud to be a BCorp and was part of the first cohort in the UK in 2016 and one of the first travel companies globally to obtain the BCorp Certify accreditation. We’re also a member of the United Nations Climate Now Initiative and a partner of Let’s Go Zero. No matter what industry or sector you’re in, being a BCorp is all about creating positive change and understanding your social and environmental impact. Therefore, if all companies followed its ethos, the world would be a much better place.

7. What must happen NOW to get people to change attitudes and behaviour and be more accountable? 

Awareness.   It must be NOW that people understand their own impact and be aware of the implications of their actions – from what they purchase, who they purchase from and how much they consume. As an individual, our purchasing power is one of the key contributions to show what we believe in. Buy green renewable energy, buy from a BCorp, travel with purpose and impact, reduce your meat and dairy and you’ll be making a great start.

8.  What would you say to those who do little to nothing for the good of communities and the environment?

It’s hard to not get frustrated at times and I realised a long time ago that preaching doesn’t work. The best way is to understand them and their position and then find something that they can relate too. We’re all affected whether we like it or not.

9. What is your personal favorite place to stay that’s trying hard to be accountable and transparent around sustainability with no greenwash allowed? (Please include website).

Kantipur Temple House. These guys have been doing sustainability since before I was even born – https://www.kantipurtemplehouse.com/

10. Is your company a Force for Good? What are the biggest risks you’ve taken … what are the pivotal moments?

We’re a Bcorp so it’s very easy to say yes. Every decision we make takes into account our values to be conscious, passionate and kind. Our biggest pictoral moment is Now – Working with schools is hard enough as it is due to the amount of red tape and currently travel is almost impossible so pputting the two together doesn’t make it easy. Therefore we’re launching our new solo adult group trips and family bespoke Tailor Made Trips.

11. What legacy would you like to leave behind from your leadership?

If you love something enough you can make it happen.

12. Who is your greatest influence?

My dog Kiki, as she’s always living in the present, which few of us do and reminds me to enjoy the simple things in life.

13. Best advice you have been given?

If you’ve gone down the wrong path don’t be afraid to take a few steps back and go down another as the longer you go down the wrong path the harder it is to come back.

14. Your best advice to the young generations concerned about their future?

Support what you believe in but holistically and with empathy.

15. Any regrets?

Learning Spanish in school. I went for Latin as I thought it may help with veterinary school, which I didn’t end up doing.


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