American Express, the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), and the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) recognised `green` management within Caribbean hotel properties with the “2003 Caribbean Green Hotel of the Year” Award in two categories, large hotel and small hotel. The distinctions were presented at the American Express/CHA Awards luncheon held during the 2003 Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC 2003) at Barceló Bávaro Convention Center, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
“By promoting practices that minimise the impacts on our environment, we help to ensure the conservation of those breathtaking natural resources that have become the signature image of the Caribbean all over the world,” said Deirdre Shurland, director of CAST, the environmental arm of CHA. “Further, with the growth in popularity of the environmentally-friendly tourism product in the marketplace, `green management` is now a key marketing tool,” she added.
The two winning properties obtained the highest combined scores, based on the criteria of awareness, resource conservation, stewardship and infrastructure. Coincidentally, both properties earned the Achievement Award in their respective categories in the 2002 edition of the Green Hotels Awards. The “2003 CHA Green Hotels of the Year” award winners are as follows:
Small Hotel Category - Bucuti Beach Resort, Eagle Beach, Aruba
Large Hotel Category - Sandals Negril Resort & Spa, Jamaica
The Bucuti Beach Resort, Green Globe Certified since 2000, has successfully created a clean, natural setting that energises and preserves its natural surroundings. Their resource conservation program includes the use of water saving devices in toilets, faucets, and pool - and reuse of gray waters for garden and ground irrigation. Meanwhile, electricity is conserved with the use of low wattage light bulbs, air conditioning sensors, and insulated draperies. The hotel has also installed 14 fifty-gallon solar water-heating panels that have considerably reduced gas and electricity consumption. Daily inspections of all rooms and a Rapid Response Program for guestroom complaints ensure effective maintenance.
Bucuti stands behind a strict purchasing policy that commits to the purchase of resource-efficient equipment, reusable and recyclable packaging, and biodegradable and less hazardous products. This purchasing policy extends to the community, with guidelines to protect local labor and source local products and services with minimal environmental impact whenever possible. Bucuti Beach Resort also reaches out to the community through island-wide recycling contests, environmental art competitions, road and beach cleanups.
Promoting environmental awareness through the education, training, and involvement of the staff, the hotel engages the full support of its team to make good green decisions both on the job and at home. As an incentive, Bucuti`s Best Program recognises staffers who suggest and implement new environmental practices. This process is overseen by a Green Team that meets regularly to monitor compliance, discuss pending issues and discuss new issues, challenges and opportunities.
At Sandals Negril Beach Resort and Spa the environmental management program of this Green Globe certified hotel is extensive. Beyond resource-efficient practices, the hotel engages staff, guests, and even suppliers to support the efforts. Consumption of resources in controlled in a number of ways. Energy is conserved through solar panels to heat water and the use of gas, rather than electricity, for supplementary heating. Further, most common areas are open air and utilise natural light as much as possible. For their efforts, the property has saved almost US$43,000.00 in the past 12 months in water, electricity, diesel oil and liquid petroleum gas.
In addition, the property operates an broad waste management program, with interesting features: food waste is collected by pig farmers to reuse as feed; shredded paper is collected by funeral homes for the filling of coffins; glass bottles are returned to the manufacturer for recycling; and PET bottles are given to the hotel`s adopted school. Through the Recycle for Life Project, the school receives computers upon reaching an established quota of collected PET bottles.
The hotel staff is an important of the success of the program. Every member of staff must undergo periodic training on the hotel`s official Environmental Policy and best practices, recognising the efforts of departments that meet or exceed its annual environmental management system targets and even providing funding to the special projects suggested by them. The hotel also awards any suggestion or idea that a staff member gives to the environment, health and safety committee when their idea is adopted as a best environmental management practice.
Another important stakeholder is the hotel guest. Information about relevant environmental practices and safety measures are visibly posted in guestrooms and public areas. Under the slogan “One Person can make a difference,” guests are constantly encouraged to help conserve resources, water and energy.
The third link in Sandals Negril`s winning formula is the suppliers. The hotel has developed a Guide for Suppliers and Contractors that outlines their policies to review the environmental impact of the supplies they purchase, promote better alternatives, and ensure that they do not stock or sell products made from endangered species. To reduce packaging waste, the hotel does not accept packaging that cannot be returned or recycled. The Sandals Negril goes one step further to support the local Jamaican economy with a policy not to import anything that is produced or grown locally, provided it meets the Sandals standards and specifications.