Orca Spirit is a carbon neutral whale watching and marine transport company based in Victoria, BC. Founders John and Lauren Douglas are focused on environmental stewardship, education and aboriginal engagement.

Over the past several years, the public has become more environmentally conscious when it comes to the activities they chose to do while on vacation.  People do not want to have a negative impact on the environment and they look for companies that make the effort to be as green as possible.

The Challenge of Going Green

Being a green company is not necessarily a challenge over the long term, but initially there is a cost of switching out old products for new, environmentally friendly ones.  It can be a challenge to find suppliers who carry green products, but with the network of green companies that are part of Offsetters and Green Tourism, they have been able to connect with other local green companies.  Once all the changes were made, it has been relatively easy to sustain their green initiatives, and see the benefits of being known as a green company.

Attracting New Customers 

Becoming a green company has helped Orca Spirit attract even more guests to go whale watching with our company.  Their marine naturalists and captains on the vessels love to share with guests that we are a carbon neutral company, how they participate in protecting forests that were set to be logged, and how the carbon they use is offset through sequestering in the expansion of the Great Bear Rainforest.  Guests also like to hear about how the company reduces waste through recycling, composting and the use of compostable coffee cups and lids on tours.

Creating a Healthier Environment by Supporting Responsible Business

By switching to green cleaning products, they have created a healthier environment for both staff and guests.  The team is proud to not be releasing harsh chemicals into the ocean by using environmentally safe products.  Though this measure seems small, it has a big impact collaboratively.   Orca Spirit strongly supports other carbon neutral businesses, such as  Harbour Air, Oughtred Coffee, buy supplies from Planet Clean and they now have a company Prius for staff to commute between offices.  To reduce plastic packaging, they order products as locally as possible whenever possible. When packaging is provided, they reuse materials in the gift shop.

Contributing to Research, Conservation and Restoration 

Orca Spirit also donates $2 from every whale watching ticket to the Pacific Salmon Foundation.  This non-profit organization is working on many different environmental projects, including the salmon restoration project to help protect and increase the supply of salmon for the Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.  By restoring environmental habitats to increase ecosystem health and biodiversity, the Pacific Salmon Foundation is a huge part of the local green movement.   They also regularly raise money for the CETUS Research and Conservation Society.

Joining the program has helped Orca Spirit continue spreading the conservation message of protecting and restoring the environment.  Their company relies on the health of the environment and on the abundance of marine wildlife, therefore they feel the need to do their part to help improve the health of our local marine ecosystems.  Their staff are passionate people who have dedicated their lives to educating others about the importance and wonder of nature.  They want the whales to have a clean ocean to live in and enough food to eat.  They are very proud to work for a company who makes green tourism a priority and part of their identity.   The team knows it is their responsibility to lead by example and show their guests and even other companies that being a green business is not only possible, but extremely rewarding on so many levels.

Top 5 Green Things They Do

Orca Spirit is a Green Tourism Gold Member. To learn more about their sustainability practices, watch “What’s Green” about Orca Spirit Adventures.

Visit www.orcaspirit.com