Five flowers for “green” Gondwana Lodges
Eco-friendliness comes naturally at Gondwana’s lodges. Their efforts to save water and electricity and their responsible waste disposal have once again been acknowledged with the highest seal of approval in the Eco Awards and was accepted with joy. The Eco Awards 2016 were handed out at the Gala evening of the Hospitality Association of Namibia HAN on 18 November.
All the Gondwana accommodation establishments which were reassessed after two or three years scored the highest number of points and were awarded five desert flowers each. They are Canyon Roadhouse, Canyon Lodge and Canyon Village, as well as Etosha Safari Lodge and Etosha Safari Camp. Hakusembe River Lodge participated in the Eco Awards for the first time and instantly achieved an environmental compatibility rating of four desert flowers.
The water recycling plants were a decisive factor for the results scored by the lodges. Recycled water is used for the gardens, cutting water consumption by more than half. As far as possible the lodges’ grounds have been planted with indigenous trees, shrubs and succulents which thrive on small quantities of water.
Waste disposal also scored high marks: waste is sorted into different materials, and efforts are made to dispose of it in an environmentally sustainable manner. Furthermore, Gondwana introduced glass crushers which enable the lodges to recycle their glass waste in a sustainable way. The glass sand can be mixed with cement and used for smaller building projects and for making bricks or decorative items.
The Eco Awards experts and panel were also impressed by Gondwana’s staff training initiatives and they praised the social responsibility shown by the group of lodges. As examples they mentioned the variety of Namibian products in the lodges’ souvenir shops and the cooperation projects with local communities. The lodges are also closely integrated into wildlife and landscape management.
Participation in the Eco Awards is voluntary. Lodges that register for evaluation receive an extensive catalogue of possible measures for introducing eco-friendly ways to their operations. Participants are free to decide which steps they want to take. An independent evaluator inspects the lodges and sends his report to the panel who then decides on the evaluation. Similar to the grading with stars for accommodation establishments, up to five desert flowers are awarded under the eco seal of quality.
More lodges of the Gondwana Collection will be reassessed for the Eco Awards next year, awaiting the visit of an evaluator. They are Namib Desert Lodge, Namushasha River Lodge (5 desert flowers each) and Damara Mopane Lodge (4 flowers).