Carbon Footprint not relevant, Ssays Sandals boss
Friday 12, November 2010
Carbon footprint is not being measured and not relevant in the Caribbean it was revealed during the Hot Seat interview at WTM’s World Responsible Tourism Day.
In a frank discussion with BBC Presenter Stephen Sackur, Adam Stewart, Chief Executive of Sandals Resorts International said he did not know what the company’s carbon footprint was and that it was not being tracked.
“There’s zero relevance if I walk into our hotels in the six islands we operate in and say my carbon footprint is this but every single hotel tracks diesel and LPG usage. This year we have had two hotel expansions but we’re down 7% on operational consumables and there are more than 100 initiatives on how we do that.”
Stewart also admitted that it is not always easy to get holidaymakers interested in sustainability although the company offers excursions out of resort to engage in local community projects.
“More than 800 people a day leave our resorts to do excursions, about 30%, and that supports local farming and communities and we then buy the crops back. Rome was not built in a day and some people are not there to hear about the problems of the world but the rate at which people’s interest level is rising is awesome.”
The company launched the Sandals Foundation, its philanthropic division, in March 2009 to start making a difference and encourage others to look at what they can do today. The company has ploughed more than US$6 million into the initiative in the past year including funding scholarships, adopting schools and is currently building two new schools.
Stewart was also grilled on the mistakes made in the past in terms of building and sustainability.
“We never had the environmental agencies or other organisations and it’s like smoking, you don’t know the damage you are doing until it’s done. The days of not being as efficient as possible are gone but it makes good business sense too.”
He admitted mistakes had been made with hotels built too close to the sea and said the company had demolished buildings and has been doing environmental impact assessments on properties for 15 years.
“Tourism is not the evil of the world but it’s finding the balance with sustainability and doing things for the right reason. It would be naïve to say the tourism business is not going to grow, it is, but there has to be something left for our children. We have to fix it.”
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