Sustainability Initiatives Around the World
March 1st, 2020
KEEP IT LOCAL: Opened May 2019, Shou Sugi Ban House, the destination spa and wellness retreat located in the pastoral hamlet of Water Mill in the Hamptons, features a culinary philosophy that focuses on sustainable foods, with an on-site garden and a hyper-seasonal, plant-based kitchen. The food program is headed by Noma co-founder Chef Mads Refslund, who has tapped several methods of gardening rooted in Austrian scholar Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic philosophy. His method has been described as a ‘spiritual-ethical-ecological’ approach to agriculture. Gardener Albert Zielinski of Alley Crops is a Southampton native who has worked closely with an agricultural master to learn about biodynamic farming, as well as natural and spiritual sciences. This hands-on knowledge and training gave him a radical new perspective on life and food, and he has since dedicated himself to repairing damaged ecosystems in order to prevent further food insecurity and health crises.
WHATA RE-REEF! The Christopher St. Barth has partnered with Artireef to help rebuild the reef of Pointe Milou, the peninsula on which the hotel sits, by creating marine cement that is three times denser than concrete. The growth rate of coral there is three- to five-times that of natural coral. In addition to creating a barrier to the shore, the reef will be more resistant to high water temperatures and pollution.
PLASTICS, BEGONE: The Beaumont in London has eliminated its use of single-use plastic bottles, taking the 32,000 plastic bottles used per year out of the equation. In collaboration with D. R. Harris, London’s oldest pharmacy, and La Bottega, The Beaumont introduced an innovative collection of toiletries comprising a solid shampoo bar and a solid body wash bar, as well as a body cream and a hair conditioner in fully recycled and recyclable aluminium tubes. All products are air-travel friendly, last longer, reduce water waste and eliminate plastic packaging. Any left-over toiletries, plus all the packaging will be repurposed and recycled.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL: In Chihuahua, Mexico, the CREST – Center for Responsible Travel – team has been working with two indigenous communities near Copper Canyon to create authentic, indigenous tourism experiences that have a direct economic benefit on the local community. Designed to help the communities benefit economically from tourism while preserving their land and culture, this project offers tourists the opportunity to participate in women-run cooking and handicraft demonstrations and take a variety of hiking and storytelling tours in the Canyon led by licensed guides.
A FAMOUS FOREST: Plant a tree next to Jay Z to benefit the Oracabessa Foundation in Jamaica. Founded in 1997 by Chris Blackwell, owner of Island Outpost, the organization has a strong commitment to improving the lives of the local community. The Foundation accomplishes this through a variety of initiatives, specifically in the areas of health, environment, education, sports and entrepreneurship. Guests of GoldenEye, which is part of Island Outpost, are able to get involved by planting a tree on the property (as celebrities like Johnny Depp, Kate Moss, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jay Z and Beyonce, Jude Law, Richard Branson and River Phoenix have done) with a donation to the Oracabessa Foundation. The Foundation’s initiative to restore the local coral reef has proven so successful, it’s a template being replicated in other fish sanctuaries across Jamaica.
IT’S ELECTRIC: PONANT will launch its new Le Commandant Charcot ship in May 2021, making it the first luxury electric hybrid ship to reach the North Pole. Operating off a mix of battery (no emissions) and Liquified Natural Gas (the cleanest fuel on the market), the vessel will travel to some places in Antarctica where fewer people have been than the moon. Every part of the design was taken into account when building the ship. For example, even the paint used on the hull has been specifically designed to reduce friction and thus use less energy for propulsion. A team of 16 specialists are aboard each expedition will help guests participate in environmental research and experiments during sailings.
GETTING SCRAPPY: Belmond Mount Nelson’s Chef Rudi Liebenberg has introduced a new rotating five-course Wasted! menu featuring reimagined scraps and byproducts of fruits, vegetables, and meats. Hosted at Chef’s Table, guests to the South African hotel will be able to watch as ginger trimmings and buchu become cordials while trout trimmings are transformed into tartare and tempura.
THE NEED FOR LEED: Bardessono Hotel and Spa in Yountville, California, is one of only three Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-certified hotels in the county. (LEED is the highest and most rigorous form of green developments accreditation in the U.S.) The resort, which was built in 2009, was designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible and features onsite waste management; low water use; and a solar system discreetly mounted and concealed on the hotel’s flat-topped roofs.
ONLY SOLAR: andBeyond’s long term goal is to ensure that each of its lodges run on solar power. The newly opened andBeyond Sossusveli Desert Lodge in Namibia draws 65% of its power from renewable resources, with each of its 10 suites completely self-sustaining, acting as their own solar power plant. andBeyond Ngala Treehouse opened on the border of South Africa’s Kruger National Park in February 2020; the new standalone treehouse is three miles away from the nearest lodge and also fully solar-powered – offering a completely private yet sustainable experience in the bush.