What is the origin of your innovation? Tell the Changemakers and media communities what prompted you to start this initiative.
The company was formally introduced to environmental management systems when the management of Sandals Negril Beach Resort determined that earning Green Globe 21 Certification would be one of the major objectives of 1998. The hotel had learned about the Green Globe 21 standard from the launch ceremony earlier that same year in Portland, Jamaica and decided that it was an award worth earning for its environmental efforts. The company hired consultants (Hagler Bailly at the time – now PA Consulting Group Inc.), to assist with the implementation of this new program and to ensure that it was correctly done. Initially, the thoughts about the EMS were as simple as the implementation plan. The program was operations-based and so the Hotel Manager, who manned the day-to-day operations of the hotel, was charged with the responsibility of making it happen. Corporate Sandals observed the transformation of Sandals Negril from the sidelines allowing the hotel to be the guinea pigs of this “new” approach to management. The hotel was allowed to go through with the certification, as it seemed like a nice trophy to have at the time. There was a lot of interest in seeing the benefits to the hotel such as; financial savings, sustainability of progress, new operating practices, etc.
Since Sandals Negril’s certification in 1998, and in the more recent years of hotel operation, Sandals Resorts’ corporate environmental thrust has maintained a strong momentum as the aspects of health and safety management have been solidly molded into the mix of factors. Many educational sessions have been developed internally as the company seeks to ensure maximum safety for employees and guests in the resorts that we operate with minimal impact on the client’s vacation experience and even less impact on the natural environment. The net effect is that the combined environmental health & safety program as it is now called, is more deeply embedded into the daily hotel’s operations, and sometimes one may wonder, just how we could have operated without these programs in the first place.
The benefits to the environment are significant and come mainly through staff training and awareness. In their communities, many staff have instituted changes in the way things happen based on what they have learnt at the hotels. Not everything is relevant and not everything is accepted easily, but for the little that has been accepted, the environment still benefits. The main measurable impact of the program on local communities to date comes from changes in waste disposal practices, the results of which are immediately visible even to the untrained eye.
Care of the environmental aspects of the operation have been classified into four main areas; conservation, management, preservation, and prevention & control. Each critical element of the program has been identified and explained in minor detail below to give an idea of the level of involvement of Sandals Resorts, we do little bragging about our environmental successes and are more inclined to having an all action – no talk approach to preserving our allotment of the natural assets of the Caribbean.
Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers' marketing material.
Richard May is the managing director of Echos Consulting Limited. A trusted advisor in the field of sustainable development, he has been recognized for his significant contribution to the success of environmental management policies in Jamaica and across the Caribbean. His career began with the internationally recognized verification and certification firm, Societe Generale de Surveillance. This transitioned into the travel & tourism industry where, as the Director of Environmental Affairs for Sandals Resorts International, he has created significant impacts in operating efficiency and sustainability via implementation of sustainability and environmental policies. Richard has multiple professional and academic designations including a BSc in Chemical Engineering, a MSc in Management, and internationally recognized professional designation as a lead auditor for ISO 9001 and ISO 14000 series of standards.
Describe some unique tourist experiences that your approach provides. Be specific; give illustrative examples.
Our programs allow guests who visit our resorts to elect completely green and environmentally friendly tours and excursions and thus to experience the destination in a very different theme not limited to a high-luxury vacation but rather having that vacation along with a tour package that offers an appreciation for the destination, its cultural history, and its natural beauty all in one package.
What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?
Partnerships with our newly launched Sandals Foundation whose focus is three-fold in the areas of education, environment, and community are at this time the most beneficial partnership resolves that we envision. Professional development could prove beneficial in the area of development for our core team in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility for companies such as ours and how best to progress with the current economic climate and the barriers that developing countries face with such programs.