In December of 2015, our partner hotel Olas Verdes opened its doors to the public. Touted as the world’s first L.E.E.D. Platinum rated surf hotel in the world, the project has received wide acclaim for its innovative design and management approach. I spoke recently with General Manager Luis Pardo, who has been at the helm of this noteworthy operation since its inception.
What does ‘Sustainable’ mean?
It’s the ability to run an operation than minimizes the ecological impact, while creating a positive effect to the community and its economy.
“We kept 85% of the original trees, planted over 15 times the amount cut, and added near 3,000 native plants. We strive to furnish everything needed for the operation from local sources; supplies, food products, and employees. That’s not always possible, but it is the goal. We are very active with community organizations and invest a good deal of resources in training and development of our staff. We are proud of what we have achieved, but are conscious that it is a continual learning process and requires periodic reviews of our practices.”
Walking the Walk
“I lived in the United States for 10 years and worked as a manager for a popular casual dining chain restaurant. It was there I had a huge “epiphany” regarding the throw-away crisis our world is facing – plastic drinking straws! I saw that these straws came in huge boxes, and they were each individually wrapped in paper. They are used one time and then discarded. When I thought it through I pondered the foot print to manufacture, market, and ship them, an incredible expenditure of energy and resources, all ultimately destined for the landfill. This realization had a profound impact on me and inspired me to study and implement sustainable practices in my daily life.”
“Costa Rica endorses an ecological/environmental ethic in its developmental and operational policies. We protect our forests, wildlife, and natural resources. This instills pride and participation in our population. It’s cool to be green! The Costa Rica Tourism Boards states: The development of sustainable tourism must be seen as the balanced interaction between the use of our natural and cultural resources, the improvement of the quality of life among the local communities, and the economic success of the industry, which also contributes to national development.”
Olas Verdes – Model of Sustainability
“We are so fortunate to have owners who are dedicated to very high standards of ecology and environmentalism. From day one they insisted on building a state of the art sustainable hotel. It takes longer and costs more to do it right from the beginning, but it pays off! ”
“It all comes down to a commitment on a personal level. My employees purchase and use the same biodegradable products the hotel uses for their homes. There is a sense of pride and personal responsibility in being a part of this special operation. They understand why we do not provide drinking straws, iron the bed sheets, or have hair driers in the bathrooms. They want to leave the world a better place for their children.”