The Sani Resort, a three-generation family-owned resort in Halkidiki, is known for being one of the most luxurious holiday destinations in Greece. As well as offering superb accommodation, service and facilities, the resort is blessed with a stunning natural beauty which Sani wishes to protect and preserve. Sani has pledged to work in a more sustainable way to benefit future generations as well as enhancing the holiday experience of its guests.
In February the resort will plant over 3,000 trees as part of their ongoing Plant A Tree scheme in an effort to reforest areas of Halkidiki most damaged by forest fires. In addition to this, the resort is proudly expanding its Sani Green Programme for 2010 under the dynamic direction of Eleni Andreadis, Head of Sustainability for the Sani Group.
Prior to moving home to Greece to work for the family business, Eleni worked in the UK, Germany and North and Central America, earning a Masters in Environment Policy and Media at Harvard University. She comments “I don’t think the environment stands a chance without everyone’s buy-in to the necessity of sustainable development. I don’t think of CSR as an add-on, it’s a way of doing day-to-day business. My father and uncles were blessed to grow up in a place like Sani, among dense trees and clear waters, not worrying about an environmental disaster like climate change changing the planet in their lifetime. I think that is the core of sustainability – when it comes to the environment, CSR is about ensuring our needs can be met without endangering the opportunities and happiness of future generations. As a third-generation member of the family business, I find this particularly poignant.”
Plant A Tree Project
In 2009 Sani Resort planted over 2,500 trees as part of an on-going reforestation project. Guests of Sani Resort are asked to contribute 1 Euro towards this project on check-out, which Sani Resort pledges to match. The scheme has so far successfully raised 8,500 Euros from guests, giving a total fund of 17,000 Euros. A further 3,000 trees of 10 different varieties will be planted this February, reforesting the Hanioti forest area on the Kassandra peninsula which was badly damaged by forest fires twice in recent years. The Sani team will be “adopting” the planted area to care for the trees for a full two years, watering the trees and replacing any that have not taken root, ensuring the seedlings are well on their way to independence – the key to successful treeplanting. Sani Resort is working under the guidance of Friends of Urban Green, a non-profit organisation, whose Board is made up of Forestry and Agronomy Thessaloniki University experts.
The Sani Green Programme
In 2009, all four hotels within the Sani Resort were awarded with the Green Key environmental eco-label for the hospitality industry by the Foundation for Environmental Education. By implementing the Sani Green Programme, Sani Resort has pledged to continuously improve its performance in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy use, water conservation, waste minimisation, sustainable procurement and raising the awareness of its employees, guests and local communities with regards to environmental issues.
Examples of the actions taken by the Sani Green Programme so far:
Replacing conventional light bulbs with low-energy CFL and LED light bulbs
Covering part of the resort’s hot water needs through solar energy – the use of solar energy at Sani Beach Hotel had reduced the energy used from the national grid by 20%, reducing the hotel’s carbon footprint by 1,000 CO2 tonnes per year.
Recycling water for garden use
Extensively recycling paper, glass (18 tonnes of paper and 26 tonnes of glass last year) and batteries as well as used cooking oil into biofuel
Increasing the use of recycled and FSC-certified paper
Reducing the use of plastic
Introducing pilot composting for organic waste for the gardens and the kitchens
Conducting environmental training for staff
Supporting the local community including schools, churches and local youth programmes
Establishing no-car zones and increasing the use of electric cars
Introducing an organic vegetable garden for 2010, which guests will be able to visit and enjoy, in the process learning about organic agriculture
At Sani, over 1,200 acres of private forest are managed by a dedicated Sani Forest team, ensuring the woodland trails can be enjoyed by visitors and local wildlife is protected. There are two main walking trails meandering through a wetland bird sanctuary which stretches over hundreds of acres and has been declared a European Important Bird Area by the international organization “BirdLife International” as well as being a Natura protected area. Home to more than 180 different kinds of birds including migrating mute swans, black winged stilts and little egrets, Sani is currently undertaking a comprehensive study to document all the species in the wetlands bird sanctuary in cooperation with wildlife experts from the University of the Aegean.
How Can Guests Get Involved?
1. Check out the dedicated Sani Green section on www.saniresort.com for regular updates and eco news.
2. Swim in some of the world’s clearest waters at Sani, certified as such by the independent organisation Foundation for Environmental Education, which has awarded Sani the Blue Flag eco-label for cleanliness and environmental awareness for the last 15 years.
3. Choose to order organic – go for organic Ouzo at Sani Asterias Suites and organic wines at Porto Sani Village - and this year take a tour of Sani’s organic garden.
4. Make a donation to the Plant A Tree scheme.
5. Buy a Sani cloth bag on arrival and avoid using plastic bags for the duration of your stay.