My reception was nice. The hotel sent a driver to pick me up at the airport and they gave me 5 complementary nights, all included. This was my first week back to a 40 hour work week schedule. It has been while. However, people here work 48 hours a week and so I should probably consider myself lucky. Almost two years ago the hotel obtained the level 4 certification out of 5. In August, the hotel will have to file for the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) for the second time, and so I was assigned with the big task to refresh and/or collect all necessary evidence for this application. The certification has 4 different categories for performance:
- Physical-biological parameters: Evaluates the physical interaction of the organization and its surrounding natural habitat.
- Infrastructure and services: Evaluates the company’s systems or processes for waste management and technologies for the conservation of energy and water.
- External clients: Evaluates management’s actions to encourage the company’s guest to participate in the implementation of the policies for sustainability.
- Socio-economic environment: Evaluates the identification and interaction of the establishment with the adjacent communities, e.g., it analyzes the level of involvement and response to the growth and development of the region, throughout employment opportunities or other collective benefits.
The CST in Costa Rica is known as one of the most rigorous certification schemes worldwide. Each category has a lot of sub-categories and individual elements to prove. We are supposed to collect 3 evidences per requirement which is equal to a lot of material. I have so far created a table with the inventory of all the different evidence available. My idea is to use it for the new application and to track the evidence that needs to be renewed or refreshed. I have to say that I am pretty impressed with all the efforts and initiatives by the hotel. Also, it is nice to see the wider impact possible due to their large operations. They are able to host over 1,000 guests and have over 500 employees on site. Lots of trainings are conducted around sustainability for all various departments. Moreover, I like to see how everyone I meet in Costa Rica is well aware about the concept of sustainability. I do not have to explain myself too much when I tell people about my visit to the country. Yesterday we had a beach clean up along with kids from the community and some volunteers from the red cross.