CSR in SMEs of Curaçao (2) “See you at Mondi Lodge”
Continuing my journey to uncover sustainable practices in small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) in Curaçao, I’m shedding light on Mondi (meaning ‘bush’) Lodge. Experiencing Mondi Lodge as a local searching for a natural escape away from everyday, and enjoying the comfort of this resort first hand, has inspired me to share its sustainable characteristics. This great lodge currently offers accommodation in 4 palapa houses, in harmony with the natural environment of St. Michiel, an out- of- town district of Curaçao. This small- scale, nature- dependent and environmentally- friendly resort has been designed to contribute to the local socio- economic development.
Sounds like an Ecolodge. According to the International ecotourism society, an ecolodge meets the principles of ecotourism, which focuses on the delivery of educational and experiential concepts. Ecolodges can contribute to the awareness about environmental resources and participation to conservation of these resources (International Ecotourism Society).
Not being an expert in ecotourism, I cannot judge at which stage Mondi Lodge is in the journey towards becoming an ecolodge. What I can surely do is bring to light the drivers that motivate the implementation of sustainability practices. A clear method to do this is explained by Daniel Truran, expert in CSR in SMEs. There are 6 stakeholders that can influence sustainable practices in SMEs: environment, communities, employees, suppliers and customers and shareholders.
Some of these drivers are certainly applicable for Mondi Lodge. “The concept consists of an environmental friendly operation, but also keeping in mind clients comfort and leaving as much as possible of the bushes (mondi) and its flora & fauna” (www.mondilodge.com). Through its design, Mondi Lodge has taken careful consideration of all natural environment and surroundings. The environment has been an important driver for implementing the following sustainable practices:
- The lodge has been built cutting down as little trees as possible and replanting trees elsewhere on the premises.
- Mondi Lodge uses well- water to water the plants and collects wastewater via a sceptic tank, that filters the water, which then joins back with the groundwater.
- They serve an a-la carte breakfast menu; there is practically no food-waste. Leftovers are given to the animals on the property.
- Plastic bottles and tins are recycled
- Guests’ warm water is generated by solar panels
- Chicken are kept for organic eggs in the future
- Recycled wood(or that would have been thrown away otherwise) is used for building furniture.
- Driftwood is used for making own furniture and ornaments
- Guests receive organic toiletries to use
- Guests are being educated about sustainability during a hotel stay.
Sustainable future environmentally driven practices being studied include:
- Installation of more solar panels
- Use of organic linen and organic cleaning products
- Use of FSC certified wood
- Installation of locally produced organic soap dispensers as a waste reduction practice
- Growing own fruits and vegetables.
An important factor that keeps the lodge running daily is its dedicated workforce. Employees are considered family and are free to give a personal touch when fulfilling their duties. Besides this:
- Only local workforce (or in any case settled foreigners, not especially hired from abroad) is hired
- Substantial contribution is made to educate the workforce in terms of cooking and taking care of animals
- Employees are encouraged to exercise their talents feely
The managing director of Mondi Lodge is a psychiatric nurse. Being certified and experienced in working with mentally disabled people opens doors for offering a decent workplace for a new kind of workforce in the future. The possibilities are being studied.
Contributing to the community and economy of Curaçao is done by:
- Adopting a social cause for a one-year period. Revenues from commissions received from for example car rental and activities are gifted in full to a social project or initiative
- Buying local art works for decorating
Creating a great Customer experience is a key factor for Mondi Lodge. Its main aim is to create memorable guest experiences and share these with other guests (in a small booklet with stories of fellow guests). The service is highly personal and the guests are given the feeling of being at home away from home. To engage customers into planting organic fruits and vegetables, getting to know about the local flora and fauna and participating in community work are a few of the possibilities being studied to enhance the experience of staying at Mondi Lodge.
The journey towards becoming an ecolodge is long, considering some externalities like government policy, cost of organic products, lacking facilities on the island, etc. But Mondi Lodge can surely serve as one of the models for other future ecotourism developments in Curaçao.
While planning my stay at Mondi Lodge, months in advance (I was honeymooning), I would joke with my partner:
“see you at Mondi Lodge”.
We will repeat our stay for sure! See you there!
A special word of thanx to: Danita de Haseth (Managing Director and wonderful hostess of Mondi Lodge )
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