CHAPEL HILL, NC (September 11, 2008) – The island of Barbados is a little greener after Divi Southwinds Beach Resort was certified as a Green Hotel – the first property in Barbados to receive the designation. Green Hotel Certification is the independent review process for the hospitality industry based on internationally-known environmental, energy and corporate social responsibility guidelines. According to Alvin Jemmott, general manager, “The resort exceeded the minimum number of requirements to earn certification, but this is just the beginning. We are taking steps to become greener everyday.”
Among the changes Divi Southwinds already has enacted are the elimination of polystyrene foam, the adoption of 72-hour biodegradable materials, an increase in recycling of bottles, paper, ink cartridges and boxes, as well as an improved system of separating recyclables and the installation of low-flow toilets and showerheads. Garden waste now is being used as compost rather than carted to a landfill. Divi Southwinds also reduced the level of harmful chemicals released into the ocean by switching to ionizers and cutting the use of chlorine in their pools by 50 percent. Replacing incandescent lights with energy saving bulbs has significantly reduced kilowatt hours and operating costs per occupied room without compromising the vacation experience for guests.
E.J. Schanfarber, Divi Resorts president, indicated that a continual review of the hotel’s environmental practices is a strategic management direction. “Our Barbados clientele, evenly split between Europe and the North American market, is increasingly attuned to the health of the planet and basing their hotel selection on environmental standards. Today, it is imperative for a hotel to evidence environmental sensitivity.”
The process for certification began with the naming of an environmental officer, Audrey Smith, who assembled a “Green Team” of seventeen employees from all hotel departments at Divi Southwinds. The goal of the team is to raise internal awareness for Divi’s green movement among the various stakeholders in the environmental effort, including guests.
The Green Team wears a special green uniform on Mondays, lending potency and visibility to the effort. The hotel is marketing its new Green Hotel Certification status on its Web site and in materials throughout the resort complex to encourage guest participation, as well as additional earth-friendly practices.
“Becoming a Green Certified Hotel is a great pleasure for us because of the recognition but also for what we are doing for the environment and the Barbados community,” said Jemmott. “Barbados is a small island, and this is an important step in preserving the beauty of our island.”