Sustainability. We have finally come to the point when this 14-letter word no longer just belongs to protest placards and scientific research read by few. Across continents, laws and practices centered on sustainability are now being carried out. From governments announcing strategies to be carbon-neutral to enterprises and organizations pledging to embrace and protect nature, we sure have made a good start.
But there’s so much more to be done, as we grade each industry based on its impact on nature – bad or good. With the hospitality sector having one of the biggest environmental footprints – the consumption of energy and water and the distribution of consumables – fast action needs to be taken before hotels and resorts cause irrevocable damage to the very thing they rely on: unspoilt natural landscape.
Thanks to active advocacy against environmental destruction, global warming and climate change, people have become more mindful of how and where they travel. It’s not anymore just about what amenities are offered in hotels and resorts; but how these properties affect the natural surroundings and the local communities.
Add to that the whole new level of awareness about healthier, cleaner and greener lifestyle brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Once the demand for travel has bounced back, greater emphasis will be placed on responsible tourism and sustainability.
The last straw
In Vietnam, the green momentum was slow to take off. That’s not necessarily a downside, as the industry was able to learn from other countries’ successes and mistakes, acted to close the loopholes and find better, more feasible ways for wide implementation.
Of late, established brands have started minimizing, if not fully eradicating, the use of plastic. Refillable water bottles, bamboo straws and wrapper-free soap bars are just a few of the things now commonly seen in hotels and resorts across the country.
While these commendable initiatives are leading the industry onto the right path, some top-tier properties have gone above and beyond in their sustainability efforts.
Leading the way in Vietnam
Six Senses Con Dao, the first ever five-star resort in the archipelago of Con Dao on the southern coast, is creating a whole new level of eco-friendly amenities using only sustainable materials. The resort boasts not just a breathtaking location, but also a wonderfully light ecological footprint. From the wood-paneled eco villas to the open-air restaurant by the beach, everything here is connected to nature.
And they’ve done this without compromising on luxury and comfort. Anyone who sets foot in the luxury property is safe in the knowledge that they are a proud contributor to Vietnam’s environmental preservation efforts, not to nature’s destruction.
Six Senses Con Dao’s passion to protect the natural environment was recognized by the National Geographic Traveler Magazine, naming it one of the world’s top eco lodges. The resort also extends its sustainability efforts to sea turtle conservation, providing community education to thousands of islanders, onsite organic farming and solar heating (which is just apt since Con Dao enjoys almost year-round sunshine).
In Vietnam’s south central part, Amanoi, a member of the ultra-luxury hotelier Aman, holds a mesmerizing allure that perfectly complements its natural setting: in the cradle of biodiversity between Nui Chua National Park and Vinh Hy Bay. Amanoi is the only resort permitted in the national park, and thus follows strict building and operation conservation regulations. As a result, Amanoi boasts one of the most flawless untouched landscapes, spacious natural grounds and fascinating ecosystems in the region.
All built with discreet natural materials, Amanoi’s Pavilions, villas and residences are at one with nature, as if the property has just sprouted from the ground. Beyond the solid slopes of luxury accommodations and facilities, a forest of colorful corals and rich marine world add to the natural wonders unique and exclusive to Amanoi.
Common ground. And flooring
One of the challenges familiar to eco-minded hoteliers is finding suppliers who are completely aligned on the benefits of sustainable development, while offering a good quality-price ratio. Among Vietnam-based suppliers offering sustainable flooring solutions, Brokopondo Lakewood stands out.
Brokopondo Lakewood’s timber is harvested from the depths of a hydro lake in Suriname, where a 150,000-hectare tropical forest has been submerged for over six decades. The trees, technically already dead, are exceptionally well preserved, making them highly resistant to any possible degradation. This high-quality tropical hardwood, known as reservoir wood, is also eco-friendly.
Renowned for its exquisite and environmentally-safe woodcraft, Lakewood produces flooring solutions, pool decking, customized furniture and sleek decor pieces such as butler trays and vases. For Amanoi, the company designed, manufactured and installed elegant flooring and lumber for the signature cliff infinity pool and the new pool villas.
In an industry often blamed for forest destruction and wildlife extinction, Brokopondo Lakewood centers its business on proving that development can, in fact, be sustainable. By harvesting the unique underwater solid hardwood, no harmful consequences arise that would further disrupt nature. If anything, “fishing for wood” contributes to the growing movement towards a more sustainable future.
The green transition
With more of Vietnam’s hoteliers and developers choosing eco-minded suppliers like Brokopondo Lakewood, there’s hope of finally witnessing a long-awaited breakthrough in a sector initially deemed indifferent or antagonistic to environmental protection.
This green transition will never be smooth, but it needs to be done – fast and hard. This is the only chance we’ve got to win against the ticking clock of climate change.