Working together to secure a brighter future for our most precious habitats
At the beginning of 2020 we teamed up with acclaimed foresight consultants the Future Laboratory to explore what the next decade of romantic travel might look like (you can read all about it here). Of its many themes, our collective craving for a closer connection to nature and desire for more meaningfully sustainable travel were writ large throughout. Obviously the topic of sustainability has long been a hugely important one for the travel industry but as we look to a post-Covid reimagining, it’s really the only topic.
As curators, we’ve always strived to seek out and shine a spotlight on those making pioneering efforts in environmentally conscious hospitality, but we know we need to do much more. It’s why we’re uniting with two partners we think can make a real impact. The World Land Trust and the Blue Marine Foundation are committed to protecting, in short, the land and the sea with some truly inspiring projects. And as a starting point, we have committed to offsetting all travel by our staff (IRL hotel-hunting, planned in efficient ways, is key to the quality of our collection), our reviewers and any other content-creating friends working on our behalf by splitting donations between the former’s Buy An Acre scheme and latter’s extensive ocean-conservation efforts. We say ‘offset’ but we hope by investing in lifelong protection schemes it is more than a mere transaction (and given 2020’s inactivity, we’re backdating all donations to the start of 2019).
Grounds for hope
The World Land Trust was founded in 1989 to protect our natural ecosystems across the world. Its Buy An Acre project – where £100 donations directly purchase an acre of land for a lifetime of protection – was set up in the face of rampant habitat loss and has so far secured more than 881,000 acres of threatened territory and funded 82 reserves in 20 countries.
A sea change
Founded by the makers of the eye-opening 2009 documentary The End of the Line, the Blue Marine Foundation’s primary aim is to ensure the protection of at least 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030. Its pioneering work has already succeeded in creating two of the world’s largest marine reserves (in the Indian and Pacific Oceans) as well as the largest fully protected marine reserve in the Atlantic, an area nearly the size of France.
Our goals and commitments
We’re certainly not pretending that these small measures will create overnight change or anything, but we hope it is an honest, timely and logical extension of our role as thoughtful hotel lovers. And we have plenty of initiatives to follow… Obviously, we don’t own the properties in our collection, so we must first be ever firmer with our curation standards when it comes to sustainability efforts. Then, for our existing collection, we have committed to updating and expanding all relevant environmental and community credentials for each hotel and villa over the coming year to allow you to make more informed choices. We're committed to scrapping any plastic used in our membership program and in our gift cards by the end of 2021. We’re also working on steps that will allow you, our members, to be able to contribute directly to our sustainability partners when booking your stays. And in the spirit of true partnership, we’re keen to facilitate meaningful relationships between our pioneering properties and these committed conservation charities. We’ll keep everything as transparent and as up-to-date as we can right here.
Eco-friendly hotel criteria
Guests don't always need to know how their waste water is used, or what kind of lightbulbs the hotel has chosen. An eco-friendly hotel will inform, share, show and guide where necessary, and there should be transparency – but nobody wants a lecture.
Does this hotel give something back? Does it employ local staff and support local projects? Ethical awareness, conservation of all kinds and respect for the larger regional community count.
Buildings that are not just carbon-neutral or low-impact but which lead the way architecturally; pioneering use of new technology or a showcase for traditional methods; trailblazers in the eco-hotel sphere.
Watching turtles hatch, or rare sharks swim over a protected house reef; marvelling at a pristine landscape sound in the knowledge that you are not also polluting it; meeting people who have benefited from community projects – a hotel that can make these moments happen is to be celebrated.