By Lucy Fleming
Co-Founder & General Manager
The Lodge at Chaa Creek
Being recognised as a Gold Member by Green Globe is indeed an honour and something we take seriously, as it reflects five years of continuous certification. Green Globe certification has helped our staff focus on maintaining a strong green ethos while constantly being on the lookout for new opportunities to further our commitment towards responsible tourism.
In that light, we look at Gold Membership as not just another award or plaque on our wall, but as a validation of an on-going commitment to the environment that began back when we were small subsistence farmers, and has continued throughout Chaa Creek’s growth as one of the region’s leading eco-resorts.
And in the interests of showing that green practices not only enhance individual business, but also contribute to the travel industry as a whole, I’d like to highlight what we see as a primary responsibility that also pays dividends – investing in people.
While we have a number of people-based initiatives at Chaa Creek, including our staff exchange program where staff members are booked into other resorts as guests to broaden their experience, our annual “Excellence in Service” workshops, internships, scholarships and other programs, I’d like to focus on a more recent project that is already showing a number of positive results.
As part of our commitment to meld environmental sustainability with quality service, Chaa Creek has worked to reduce food miles (a big concern in developing countries like Belize that rely on imports) with a Farm-to-Table approach to dining. Our Maya organic farm has been in operation for over twelve years now as a popular educational attraction for guests as well as a source of fresh ingredients for our kitchens at Chaa Creek and our Guava Limb Café in San Ignacio Town.
Farming, supplying and cooking with fresh organic produce presents both opportunities and challenges. To meet the challenges while continually raising the bar in our kitchens, we were fortunate to engage the services of internationally recognised and highly regarded Chef Edward Mendoza. Chef Edward recently spent two weeks here training some twenty enthusiastic young Belizean cooks in techniques, recipes, and new approaches in cooking and presentation.
The results have been twofold – local cooks received invaluable training almost impossible to come by locally, and our guests enjoy continually evolving, world class dining.
As with all green initiatives, there is a long-term ripple effect. Belize’s tourism industry has a new group of highly trained, motivated cooks contributing to the country’s increasingly sophisticated food culture, guests have a higher level of dining satisfaction with more choices and superior quality, and we continue to present healthy, delicious meals with the smallest possible environmental footprint.
And, importantly, we continue to show our colleagues that environmental and social benefits do not need to come at a cost to quality, service and profitability, but actually enhance all three.
Once again, we want to thank Green Globe for helping business around the world to implement, formalise, and maintain practices that benefit not only our industry, but the world at large. Safeguarding our planet’s future is a big job, but by working together, we can, and do, make a difference each and every