Are you an eco-friendly traveler? It’s definitely the direction to go in.
Do you think a five-star luxury, all-inclusive resort is the opposite of sustainable travel? I’m happy to tell you that’s not the case.
One world-class, adults-only, all-inclusive brand leads the way with its eco-friendly initiatives.
During my research, I found:
- Corporate social responsibility, conservation initiatives, waste reduction, renewable energy methods, and eco-friendly building and management practices
- Heartwarming personal examples of how social responsibility and sustainability are being put to work
- Useful tips to check any all-inclusive resort for environmental and sustainability programs.
I’m pleased to present these 11 surprising sustainability facts about all-inclusive resorts!
Sandals Luxury-Included Resorts Lead the Way in Sustainability
Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts, is focused on corporate social responsibility, and he also launched the Sandals Foundation in 2009.
Their sustainability mission statement, “Protecting Our Caribbean,” is committed to building, designing, and maintaining their resorts to sustainably harmonize with nature.
Whenever a land-locked traveler dreams of a delicious gourmet meal of fresh, sustainably caught seafood, know that Sandals Resorts source, on average, 59% of their seafood locally for preparation in their world-class all-inclusive restaurants.
Sandals Landscapers and Gardeners Have Lush Green Tales To Tell
Potable water is precious in the Caribbean, and the Sandals water conservation program is essential to its sustainability efforts.
Sandals is incorporating reverse osmosis systems to purify and desalinate water for sustainable use, and the beautiful lawns and gardens at Sandals Resorts are hydrated with gray water.
A friendly landscaper at Sandals Regency La Toc in stunning Saint Lucia says, “You might look at it as a job, but I see it as a privilege to take care of my island every day.”
Sandals Is Spreading the Love With Food Security Initiatives
Sandals Resorts are designed for people in love, but the emphasis is on far more than just unlimited food and drink.
The waste management program at Sandals focuses on a “comprehensive cycle of sustainability.” The Sandals Foundation also teaches local people sustainable composting methods, including using organic fertilizers to reduce chemical run-off into the sea.
Barbara Stewart grew up in Jamaica, where the Sandals brand started. Today, Barbara tends a large farm on the island, and she incorporates sustainable composing techniques to grow nutritious produce for local people.
Sandals Takes Part in the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum
In April 2023, the 15th Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum was held in Miami, and Gebhard Rainer, CEO of Sandals Resorts, was actively involved.
Mr. Rainer spoke with The Turks & Caicos Sun about the investment in smart infrastructure and sustainable processes at Sandals.
These processes include:
- Implementation of solar water heating systems at resorts
- Water treatment plants at resorts to recycle gray water for irrigation
- Removing plastic straws at resorts and eventually eliminating all single-use plastics.
Mr. Rainer also said, “Sandals is a company focused on a green future at all times, and we are ensuring that sustainable environmental practices are reflected in all our new projects as we go forward.”
Sandals Recycling Initiatives Help Local Communities in Surprising Ways
When Sandals Curaçao opened in June 2022, the Sandals Foundation partnered with local fishermen to remove discarded fishing nets for recycling into football nets for local schools.
It sounds simple, but it’s an incredibly effective way to renew and recycle, protect wildlife, and benefit kids who want to play sports!
“Future Goals” Are Happening Right Now at Sandals
One goal of the Sandals Foundation is educating local people in the Caribbean on marine conservation, and so far, the goals are impressive and only getting better!
Here are some pretty cool stats about the Sandals’ “Future Goals” marine conservation program:
- 114,000 sea turtle eggs have hatched safely
- 63,000 pounds of garbage has been collected from the marine environment
- 55,000 people have been trained in marine conservation awareness.
Sandals has set a goal to plant 30,000 coral fragments to help improve the health of local reefs around their resorts. They also planned to teach 1,000 local kids in Grenada to swim safely in the ocean.
Delicious Farm-To-Table Dining at Sandals Resorts in Jamaica
Jamaica is blessed with sandy beaches and the blue Caribbean Sea, but the island is also naturally lush and green—an environment ripe for growing produce.
Check out these surprising (and yummy!) facts:
- Sandals Resorts in Jamaica source 90% of their produce from local farmers, and you’ll probably taste the farm-to-table freshness when you dine at Sandals in Jamaica
- Local Jamaican farmers sell 5.4 million pounds of produce to Sandals Resorts every year
- Types of produce include Swiss chard, bok choy, beets, spices, and herbs
- The Sandals Foundation assisted in planting 7,000 trees in the John Crow and Blue Mountains area of Jamaica—a UNESCO World Heritage site
- The coffee beans brewed at every Sandals and Beaches resort come from the John Crow and Blue Mountains area!
Josef Jungwirth, Corporate Executive Chef at Sandals, calls local produce in Jamaica “the star of every dish we serve.”
It’s great to know that local farmers get the star treatment, too, because the names of local farmers are displayed on every menu at Sandals.
Every Day Is World Oceans Day at Sandals
In June 2023, the Sandals Foundation celebrated World Oceans Day, but they help local fishermen in the Caribbean bring marine ecosystems back to life all year.
A local fisherman in Jamaica named Diego talked about how his local reef was collapsing 11 years ago and that snapper and dolphin fish populations were at risk.
Diego said, “People from the Sandals Foundation knew our situation,” he added, “They’d already helped improve our schools and our hospital.”
Diego was among a group of people invited to the Boscobel Fish Sanctuary, located on the north shore of Jamaica. They learned ways to help the marine ecosystem here, and the results have been positive.
In Whitehouse, Jamaica (home to Sandals South Coast), the wildlife population in the local ocean waters has increased 700+% in twelve years!
Sandals Helps To Protect the Coastline in Exuma, Grenada, and Jamaica
Mangroves are vital in defending land during hurricanes, and mangrove trees are a valuable part of the food chain. More than 4,000 mangrove propagules in Grenada, Jamaica, and Exuma have been replanted so far!
Sandals Barbados Grows Fruit Trees To Feed People
The breadfruit tree lives up to its name. These trees bear starchy fruit with essential nutrients that benefit the diets of Barbados locals.
That’s why the Sandals Foundation works with local schools near Sandals Resorts in Barbados on the “Trees that Feed” program.
So far, over 20 schools in Barbados have received breadfruit trees, and the harvested fruit helps ensure that kids don’t go hungry while at school.
Tree Planting Is More Than a Passion Project for Sandals
Sandals works with several local groups in the Caribbean to plant trees that will help improve soil and allow the land to adapt better to climate change.
Professor Rosalea Hamilton is the chairperson for the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance, one of the organizations that Sandals works with, and she explained that tree planting “provides sustainable livelihoods for many in need.”
Sandals and the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance aim to help the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals project achieve its goal of planting a million trees across 14 Caribbean countries.
How To Check the Sustainability at an All-Inclusive Resort
Many of the best adults-only, all-inclusive resorts are located in the Caribbean and Mexico, and there are ways to find out if the resort of your choice has environmental and sustainability initiatives:
- Is the resort brand a member of the EarthCheck Program?
EarthCheck has designed clear and structured ways for travel and tourism businesses to focus on sustainability, and the program allows companies to measure themselves and improve in the areas of environmental and social responsibility.
To date, Sandals Resorts have earned nine Master Series Certifications from EarthCheck.
- Is the resort brand a member of the Oceanic Global?
Oceanic Global is an international non-profit encouraging businesses and communities worldwide to be more sustainable.
Sandals Resorts earned Oceanic Global’s two-star blue seal by removing over 21 million plastic straws, 1.4 million plastic takeaway containers, and 1.2 million plastic-lined coffee cups from their properties.
- Does the resort have an energy-efficient technology policy?
A good example is the use of smart lighting or LED light bulbs and the installation of sensors on lighting and A/C systems in guest rooms to conserve energy and reduce energy consumption in back-of-house areas like the resort’s kitchens and laundry rooms.
Sandals Resorts incorporates all of these energy-efficient policies.
- Does the resort have a policy in place to eliminate hazardous materials?
One of the best ways to keep the Caribbean lush and naturally beautiful is to eliminate hazardous cleaning materials in favor of eco-friendly products.
Sandals Resorts use eco-friendly chemicals; all staff are trained in safe handling, storage, and proper use.