Feel-good CSR activities for groups
From creating artwork from marine debris to tracking endangered Tasmanian devils, these corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities provide groups with the chance to give back to the destination they’re visiting.
On Queensland’s Lizard Island – one of the Luxury Lodges of Australia – guests can give back to the destination by becoming passionate advocates for the Great Barrier Reef via a guided tour of the Lizard Island Research Station. Groups of up to 12 at a time are transferred via the resort’s four-wheel drives to the internationally renowned Research Station run by the Australian Museum and are personally shown around the facility by its joint directors, Doctors Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett. This invaluable learning experience provides insight into current conservation and research projects and facilitates a deeper appreciation for Lizard Island’s beautiful beaches, reefs and marine life. For guests who feel extra-inspired, there’s the opportunity to donate to the Lizard Island Research Foundation to further advance reef conservation and research.
Renowned for its fabulous foodie scene, it’s fitting that groups visiting Adelaide can contribute to the local community by cooking meals for people in need. With OzHarvest’s ‘Cooking for a Cause’ initiative, teams transform rescued ingredients into gourmet meals, then help pack the food ready to deliver to local charities. Groups of up to 50 guests will learn zero-waste kitchen skills and practical culinary tips and tricks to apply at home. The good news is, there’s no washing up and guests get to sample their culinary delights. Or raise the bar with the Cooking for a Cause + experience, where groups are rewarded for their efforts with a seated lunch or dinner featuring some of the delicious food that they’ve created as a team, with the lion’s share still going to charity. The impact of this fun, purposeful experience can be seen immediately through the number of meals created – often well over 100 portions – leaving groups with a full heart (and a full belly). TIP: OzHarvest runs Cooking for a Cause across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.
An incentive program in Tasmania wouldn’t be complete without a wildlife encounter, and one Tasmanian organisation that’s leading the CSR charge is the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo. Reversing the traditional concept of a zoo, this ‘Unzoo’ near Hobart immerses humans in a natural environment to allow more freedom for the animals, and more memorable, authentic encounters for visitors. The Unzoo’s Devil Tracker Experience does exactly this by taking groups of up to 10 at a time on a guided four-wheel drive tour in native forest to see first-hand how the healthy Tasmanian devils of the isolated Tasman Peninsula are being tracked and monitored. Guests help to identify and monitor vital Tasmanian devil activity and health data by downloading the latest images from the infra-red cameras and recording their activity. Incorporating a guided tour of the Unzoo is a fantastic way for guests to learn about the fight to preserve and protect this endangered species.
A wonderful way for groups visiting Melbourne to give back is to take a tour with Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours. One of the Australian Wildlife Journeys, the small-group tour company is led by passionate conservationists Roger Smith and Janine Duffy whose vision is to bring people and wildlife together for mutual benefit. The concept of giving back to the environment is central to their touring philosophy; when guests travel with Echidna Walkabout, every trip incorporates a ‘Conservation Action’. These actions range from removing invasive weeds to planting trees to regenerate koala habitat, bagging up discarded fishing net or helping to record birds for a biodiversity database submission. The activities are designed to be fun and easy, and combined, these thousands of small actions undertaken by guests each year make a big impact. Echidna Walkabout can tailor an experience to suit groups of various sizes.
Groups visiting Sydney can partake in a heart-warming team activity run by Corporate Challenge Events. ‘Out of the Box’ is an opportunity for socially responsible organisations to make a difference to the lives of Australians doing it tough. Delegates’ problem-solving skills are put to the test as they work together to complete a series of puzzles. Each challenge leads to a collection of everyday items that delegates are told they must accumulate to prevail over their colleagues. The items are then revealed as essentials that many Australians experiencing homelessness go without each day. Participants are then enlightened with an interactive presentation from the co-founders of social enterprise The Good Box, along with guest speakers whose stories attest to the life changing work this charity does. Lastly, there’s an opportunity to hand-write a note to go in their very own Good Box, which is then donated to someone in need in the local community. Tip: This experience is also available in other destinations; contact Corporate Challenge Events for more information.
In the Margaret River region of Western Australia, groups can pair a feel-good nature experience with a wine tasting. Small, family-owned winery Passel Estate ticks both the wine and wildlife boxes; as well as producing award-winning wine, the owners have created a sanctuary to a family – also known as a ‘passel’ – of endangered western ringtail possums that were relocated to the estate following bushfires in the area in 2011. Groups of up to 50 guests can take a tour of this picturesque property and learn about the team’s conservation work in providing and maintaining a sanctuary for the possums and other threatened native fauna like quendas and red-tailed black cockatoos. They can then celebrate their new-found knowledge with a tasting of the Estate’s top drops including chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, for which the region is revered, followed by a soirée on the lawn overlooking the vines.
Based in the Northern Territory’s tropical city of Darwin, MK Eco by Starwin is a team of women who proudly design ‘one-of a-kindness’ solutions to incorporate CSR into business events. For groups seeking an environmental angle, Australian fibre artist Aly de Groot runs workshops where guests craft jellyfish sculptures from marine debris collected from beaches in the Northern Territory. Conveniently based at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Esplanade, MK Eco by Starwin can host workshops for groups of up to 24 at a time either in their own retail space, or for larger groups, they can use the hotel’s event spaces or the neighbouring Darwin Entertainment Centre.
In inner-city Melbourne, CERES (Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) runs an environmental education centre, urban farm and social enterprise hub with a vision for people to ‘fall in love with the Earth again’. Groups of up to 40 guests at a time can take a guided farm tour and flex their green thumbs with some light gardening or harvesting of produce to fill CERES Fair Food organic grocery boxes, 100% of the profits from which go towards developing regenerative farming practices and facilitating environmental education programs. For groups who’d prefer not to get their hands dirty, CERES can facilitate interactive workshops on topics like zero waste, Indigenous knowledge systems, or mending and upcycling. Afterwards, guests can toast their learning efforts with drinks in the Village Pavilion which has undercover capacity for 90 people for a cocktail-style event, or on the open-air Village Green which suits up to 300 guests.