Sandals Resorts International’s commitment to the highest standards of sustainability has been one of the factors for its world-wide success and recognition, and in turn instills a sense of social and environmental responsibility in its staff.
Marking its leadership in global environmental sustainability, the resort chain currently holds six Master Certifications, six Platinum Certifications, three certified Gold and three Silver Certifications from EarthCheck; the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism.
These achievements are a result of up to a 10-15 year period of consistent hotel maintenance and third party auditing, ensuring optimum and low-impact execution of its operations.
Sandals Barbados, currently holding its Silver Certification, is no exception, acknowledging that a great deal of inspiration for the resort’s ongoing leadership in the tourism industry is attributed to the stunning natural environment it is sited on.
A major player in the sustainable agenda of Sandals Barbados has been the preservation of the coastal areas and marine life the hotel offers to its guests. It is therefore not surprising that at the heart of the resort chain’s philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation, is a mandate focused on community, education and the environment.
These three pillars have been working in concert with each other to not only guarantee environmental up-keep in the private sector, but also to foster the creation of outreach programs that spread awareness and unite Barbadians to support an important cause.
Some of these causes include the Library and Computer Rooms at the St. Lawrence Primary School and the Blackman and Gollop Primary School, as well as participation in other groups to protect the environment, such as the National Conservation Commission and the Barbados National Trust.
In talking with David Hinds and Nicholas Jordan, Public Relations Manager and Operations Manager respectively, about the efforts being made to maintain the resort’s beautiful landscape, they shared that the commendation and involvement of their own guests, coupled with the continued commitment of the company’s Chairman and Deputy Chairman remains the central component in what continues to motivate the resort team’s hard work and dedication to the principles of the Sandals Foundation.
Guests are often seen participating in Sandals’ organized beach clean ups, displaying initiative by learning about marine life and turtle habitat protection or making a donation in show of support.
100% of these donations go back into community projects, to support these cleanups, the implementation of turtle protection projects as well as classes at local schools that educate students on environmental issues. Diving has also been included as part of the cleanup scheme, to remove pollutants from reefs.
The team at Sandals is committed to creating partnerships within the communities, building relationships as “Sandals the neighbor”, not just the hotel.
Continuing with the theme of community outreach, local artisans are invited onto the hotel grounds at least once per week to display and sell their crafts, providing a captive market for the items. Aside from this display of support of small businesses within the community, it also gives guests the opportunity to experience how the island’s naturals resources such as coconut shells, seeds and palms, have been sculpted and weaved to create jewelry and crafts without disturbing or damaging the environment from which they came.
Under the guidance of environmental protection program, Sandals Earth Guard, sound environmental practices are maintained at both a corporate and resort level. These guidelines include staff awareness, energy management, hazardous substance control, water conservation, waste management and social and cultural development.
Regulations enforced under this program have contributed to considerations such as the use of timers on electrical equipment as well as LED public lighting, and spa and kitchen utilities.
Other energy conservation methods include A/C room sensors that monitor the opening and closing of bedroom doors, preventing energy overuse. In an attempt to reduce waste to landfill, items such as cardboard boxes, glass and plastic bottles, linen, and food are recycled on site.
A constant practice of monitoring water usage and environmental impact at the property ensures a reduced reliance on natural resources, with rainwater collection being used to for irrigation whenever feasible, as well as the vetting and control of chemical substances purchased for hotel use.
With sensitivity to the lush tropical gardens on which the hotel sits, a majority of existing vegetation pre-construction has been incorporated into site plans, influencing the setting of building lines and boundaries.
Sandals’ dedication to social and environmental sustainability has earned it the recognition and appraisal of international organizations and the local community.
With its team working around the clock to maintain the sought after coastal landscapes of Barbados, guests at Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados can expect a luxurious and environmentally-friendly island retreat.
By Michaela Gomes