Green Globe member The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a leader in sustainable best practices in Belize. The eco-resort works closely with staff, local communities and visitors to build lasting connections with the natural surrounds and local residents.
Brion Young, Green Team Leader at the resort, is instrumental in developing and implementing new projects at Chaa Creek. The resort’s Green Team consists of ten staff members representing seven departments from the Natural History Centre & Reserve, Food and Beverage and Purchasing, Maintenance, Loss Prevention, Concierge, Gardeners and Marketing and Sales.
“I believe that sustainable tourism activities are the pavers on the pathway to the future. They offer a roadmap to exercise environmental stewardship while generating economic growth and achieving social justice.The cure for our environmental disorder begins with a love for and an understanding of our Mother Earth. Here at The Lodge at Chaa Creek our team is dedicated to living the cure, and as the leader of our Green Team my goal is to work with my group towards educating all of our employees, visitors and friends about responsible stewardship through our many sustainability initiatives,” said Brion Young.
An organisation’s commitment to sustainability is best expressed by the actions of its staff, and many staff members continually identify, propose and volunteer to take part in the resort’s Green projects. This year sixteen staff members organised a Macal River Clean-up Campaign, canoeing the river and combing the riverbanks to collect nine large industrial bags of waste that were delivered to a solid waste management station.
Team members also participate voluntarily in the Pack-a-Pound program that invites guests to pack an extra pound of school supplies in their luggage (or posted when they return home) that are distributed to primary schools in need. The enthusiasm of the various teams is both infectious and an inspiration – from raising awareness amongst guests and encouraging them to donate, to driving deliveries to rural schools and donating items to grateful school children.
Furthermore, Chaa Creek Teams are busy in the community conducting environmental education outreach programs at various schools, managing the annual Eco-Kids free weeklong environmental education summer camp, organising Christmas carolling and delivering baskets of food to elderly and disadvantaged community members as well as a local school.
“We couldn’t be prouder about these and the many other projects that are staff-driven and delivered by our dedicated teams,” added Brion Young.
The health of local communities is considered just as important as the health of the environment and Chaa Creek regards its support of local villages, communities and organisations, along with the ensuing mutually beneficial relationships, as a major sustainable achievement.
“Providing employment for 160 Belizeans, as well as the delivery of training, mentoring, career development and educational opportunities gives us great satisfaction. While we, and our guests benefit from the support, knowledge, warmth and goodwill that comes from solid community relationships. Having this recognised with first place honours at National Geographic’s World Legacy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Belize Tourism Board, and other awards is an achievement we value highly,” said Chaa Creek Founder, Lucy Fleming.
Chaa Creek Sustainability Achievements 2018
• Butterflies on the Road School visits: 810 primary school children benefited from this outreach program.
• NHC visits: 1895 Belizean school children visited our Natural History Centre and Butterfly Farm with Chaa Creek supported entry fees.
• Community Outreach: 38 Youths at Risk from Belize City’s Southside took part in a Fun-Day at Chaa Creek in partnership with the Community Police Project
• Pack a Pound Program: More than 3,000 pounds of school supplies have been delivered to over 30 schools in the Cayo district since the program’s inception eight years ago. 560 pounds were delivered in 2018 alone.
• Green Credits Cards: 3451 Green Credits Cards were handed over to visiting guests since 2017. The cards enforce the resort’s Sustainable Tourism message and offer guests discounts on repeat visits and guest referrals.
• Scholarships: 28 Eco-kids received a scholarship for a week-long Eco-kids Camp. 12 Scholarships were awarded to Secondary and Tertiary level students.
• Training: Compulsory Emergency 1st Responder accredited course for all 160 staff members. Motivational Seminar for all staff members. Ministry of Health and Chaa Creek offered free testing for HIV, Diabetes, General Check-up and Hypertension to all staff members during an 8 hour on-site program. Food Safety training for F&B staff, Chef training abroad and visiting international chef training at home.
• Employee Dollar Club: One dollar per employee pay packet is matched by Chaa Creek at 50 cents in the dollar. Monies are saved and distributed to employees with medical emergencies and unforeseeable crises.