MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA – Sandals Resorts International (SRI) is encouraging team members, guests and community stakeholders to participate in specially curated activities in observance of World Earth Day 2022, as the company continues to champion environment and marine preservation through conservation and awareness initiatives.
From wildlife sanctuary tours, composting sessions, tree plantings, lionfish culling to underwater clean-ups, the Caribbean’s leading hospitality company has crafted a week-long celebration of engaging activities, under the theme “Invest in our Planet”, being spearheaded by its Environment Health and Safety Division in collaboration with the resort company’s philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation.
According to SRI executive chairman and president of the Sandals Foundation, Adam Stewart, “the connectivity to the environment is a part of who we are and underpins our daily operations. We are committed to continuing to provide educational opportunities and awareness programmes through partnerships with stakeholders to further environmental sustainability efforts. From recycling to the removal of plastic straws to marine sanctuary management and coastal clean-ups, our ability to preserve and protect the beauty as well as the productivity of our lands is crucial.”
Sandals and Beaches Resorts has long held environmental sustainability as part of its core mission, earning its place as the only hotel chain in the world to have all of its resorts certified by the EarthCheck benchmarking and certification programme, with 10 resorts currently holding Master Certification, signifying over 15 years of consistent recognition for best practices. Additionally, throughout its history, Sandals has garnered sustainability-driven accolades such as the CHA/AMEX Caribbean Environmental Award for Green Hotel of the Year, the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences Green Six Star Diamond Award, and the PADI Green Star Award. Each resort has a dedicated environment health and safety manager charged with implementing and managing sustainable programmes, including but not limited to the installation of solar water heaters, the retrofitting of lighting and equipment for better energy performance and efficiency, and the composting of food waste.
Corporate manager, environment, health & safety, Gavin Palmer, noted that, “to date Sandals Resorts and the Sandals Foundation has invested millions in education and advocacy programmes, establishing marine sanctuaries, out-planting more than 12,000 corals and engaging over 55,000 people in conservation efforts. Our resorts have been retrofitted to become more eco-friendly with solar energy systems, herb gardens, composting units along with plastic and reclaimed water recycling programmes.”
“Our focus is always to get a wide cross-section of persons involved in our awareness and sustainability efforts each year and we are happy to build out activations to include team members, guests, farmers, fisherfolks and other community partners. On the resorts, team members are an integral part of our programmes and this year Sandals La Source and Beaches Turks & Caicos are commissioning their on-resort composting programmes and are expected to positively impact solid waste management by providing environmental education to over 100 persons including students, backyard farmers, landscapers, and government representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture.”
Food & beverage team members were not left out of the celebration and are slated to present their best ‘Earth Day’ inspired pastry items, meals and cocktails throughout the week-long festivities. During the nightly entertainment on resorts, two minutes will be dedicated to promoting energy conservation by turning off the venue lights along with dedicated entertainment performances. The week’s exciting and educational celebration is set to conclude with an Earth Day-themed beach party to be held at various resorts using recycled materials as décor.
Looking to the future, Palmer shared that in honour of Sandals’ founder and late chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart, a planned partnership with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and Sandals Foundation is set to roll out the ‘Sea the Legacy of Love’ Scholarship Programme. In keeping with the Sandals 40th anniversary, the programme will provide 40 Caribbean nationals with dive certifications from open water to master level. This, together with opportunities for guests to take part in activities such as coral out-planting in Jamaica and St Lucia, will have a lasting impact on life below the surface.
Sandals Resorts International remains committed to making environmental sustainability practices a core function of its operation through, advocacy, action and innovation, today and tomorrow.