Surrounded by lively green gardens on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Hotel La Semilla set out to offer a more conscious form of hospitality. One of its key goals is to spread awareness about the importance of nature in our lives. To that aim, Angie Rodriguez and Alexis Schärer have launched an initiative called Árboles La Semilla, through which they plant trees to forge a deeper connection to nature and share their message. For this project, La Semilla has become a tree ambassador for One Tree Planted, a nonprofit organization focused on global reforestation. It’s a fitting passion project for La Semilla, whose name means “seed” in Spanish. The owners have also developed a spiritual initiative called Zemillas, which aims to help guests develop self-knowledge for self-transformation and transform obstacles into opportunities. As Schärer says, “How could you be conscious about the external world if you are not connected first with your inner consciousness?” The hotel does good work on the details, too: The breakfast menu is small, locally sourced, and mostly vegetarian. Instead of buying cut flowers, the team uses potted plants for decoration. And when the plants grow too large they are planted in the garden, which nicely illustrates Hotel La Semilla’s dedication to circularity.
“Hospitality should have no other nature than love.”
— Henrietta Mears
Nature and its ecosystem services are at the center of the hospitality business proposition: from food and beverage offers to guests’ enjoyment of natural landscape at a destination. Nature is not only a ‘capital’ component available to businesses, but a source of solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change and protect biodiversity while ensuring the well-being of staff and guests alike.
Sustainability equates with not just being profitable, but also as good business sense. Research suggests that more and more customers are willing to reward businesses seen as sustainable by buying products and services from them.
All tourism relies on the natural and cultural resources that attract tourists and act as the main driver of growth and development in the tourism economy. Some destinations, such as those in the Caribbean, rely on pristine beaches and crystal clear waters to bring in tourists.
The Role of Leadership in Sustainability
Sustainability in business requires a group effort. Educating employees and raising awareness about sustainable practices should play a part in onboarding and ongoing training. Every aspect of a business can adopt practices that take sustainability into account, considering such things as water and waste management, the use of organic products that do not contain harmful chemicals, and reuse and recycling. In this way, sustainability can become a part of an organization’s culture.
Challenges and Trends
While sustainability in hospitality offers clear advantages, professionals in this industry must still overcome challenges to build sustainable strategies. Our brand is rooted in some values and sustainability initiatives that actually enhance customer experience, including:
- Recycling options in guest rooms that allow guests to maintain their green habits while away from home
- Locally sourced foods and products that allow guests to support local vendors and try something unique to the area
- Free access to bicycles that allow guests to both get around and explore the new area while reducing their carbon footprints
- Collaborate with the Amigos de Sian Ka ́an Organization, one of the most respected Mexican conservation, sustainable development, and educational institutions