Photo: The Datai
Vote with your dollar when you support travel companies and brands that have sustainable practices, whether it’s reducing waste, safeguarding the ocean, or using alternative fuels. The next time you travel, consider where and how you’d like to leave your (carbon) footprint.
Alila Hotels & Resorts, Bali
Photo: Alila Hotels & Resorts
Waste is a pressing issue, both in its generation and disposal. So what if there was simply no waste? It’s not wasteful thinking at all. The group’s innovative Zero Waste to Landfill policy – across all four of its Bali properties – tackles waste at its source and recycles it into useful resources.
The centerpiece of its work is an Integrated Sustainable Resource Recovery Facility (iSuRRF), an on-site laboratory where all waste is transformed into higher value products and services, through science: plastics, glass and ceramics are shredded and crushed to produce sand and fibre that are reused to produce green building materials; metals and high-value plastics are recycled; and uneconomical waste plastics, such as wraps and films, are converted into a light crude oil that is distilled down to diesel, kerosene and gasoline for reuse. It is literally zero waste to the landfills.
The group even pays local kids for all the recyclable trash they can find. Guy Heywood, Chief Operating Officer of the group, says that “there are economic benefits to doing this. And being able to see the benefits of our efforts will hopefully bring home the importance of Zero Waste to Landfill projects, for our employees, for our guests and for the local communities.”
The Datai, Langkawi
Photo: The Datai
Overfishing is a problem all over the world. So if you can’t stop it, you can at least hatch a creative solution, as The Datai has done. Over the years, fishermen from Langkawi have reported a decline in their annual fish catch, believed to be a combination of coastal pollution and poor fishing practices, resulting also in a decline in the health of coral reef ecosystems.
Subsequently, the resort worked with local fishermen to launch a sustainable ‘Fish for the Future’ initiative to tackle the problem. They’ve built a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) – like a kelong – to provide a gathering point for a range of adult fish of varying sizes. The five FAD structures are deployed strategically next to the Datai Bay’s natural coral reef to simultaneously propagate algae and create additional space for the reef to spread to the structure.
This provides local fishermen with an eco fishing area, removes pressure from the natural coral reef, and best part is – the resort buys directly from the fishermen’s supplies. Win win.
Lagom, Verbier and Zermatt, Switzerland
The luxury travel company Lagom owns two ski resorts, and they’re dead set on helping you reduce your carbon footprint. Yes, you. Once you select your dates, you’ll get to pick your eco options and decide what’s enough for you. Daily housekeeping or twice a week? Want robes and slippers? As you tick or untick the boxes, the slider shows your carbon saving in kilograms, while another shows you how much money you’ll save for each carbon-friendly choice. It’s radical because eco choices usually cost more, not less. (Dear thrifty Singaporean, choose all the most eco-friendly, cost-effective options and you could save more than $3,000!).
“[As far as I know]… we’re the only people doing anything like this,” says Tash Robertson, who founded the company with her husband Duncan. “Nobody has ever said, what if people would like to have less?” The British couple wants to upend the notion that luxury is about more, and they’re done with that. Hence the company name: the Swedish word ‘lagom’ means “suitable” or “just enough”.
Shinta Mani, Cambodia
Photo: Shinta Mani Wild
Shinta Mani Wild – just outside Siem Reap in Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains – has 15 glamorous tents along waterfalls and rapids. Through its foundation, the resort is reducing its eco impact by working with the local communities on various initiatives, the largest of which is overseeing the protection of a critical 860-acre wildlife corridor between Phnum Bokor and Kirirom national parks. The resort also gives back by building homes and wells (more than 1,500 so far) for the villages, donating livestock and school supplies, funding medical and dental care, and providing microloans to entrepreneurs.
The Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam (January) used sustainable fuel derived from oil in Salicornia plants, which were grown on the two-hectare farm in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi – it’s the world’s first desert ecosystem designed to produce fuel and food in saltwater.
Fish and shrimp raised at the facility provide nutrients for the plants as well as contribute to the UAE’s food production. This marked a major milestone in the development of a clean, alternative aviation fuel to reduce carbon emissions. The system is expected to scale up to 200 hectares in the move towards full-scale commercial use.