Small Everyday Steps Toward Sustainability
A basic Google search will define it as “meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” While different angles might be emphasised in different industries, what it always boils down to is minimising the negative imprint of our actions today to ensure a prosperous future for societies, economies, cultures and the environment.
But the daunting state of affairs in climate suggests that we are now beyond “minimising” and “future generations”; that, in fact, action is needed today. With the past few years having been the hottest on record, the UN reports that should nothing be done now, rising seas might swallow coastal parts of New York, Rio de Janeiro, Osaka and other waterfront cities within our lifetime. Soil erosion now jeopardises food and water security for as many as 500 million people.
To shed the spotlight on sustainability in tourism… In 2019, we started the ‘1000 Valamar trees’ programme, the largest environmental initiative in Croatian tourism. “Sustainable tourism development is the key prerequisite for long-term value creation in Croatia’s tourism,” said Gustav Wurmböck, our Supervisory Board Chairman. “We are committed to planting at least 1000 trees each year and continue to care for preservation and restoration of native plant species in our destinations.” More than 1000 trees and 50,000 seedlings were planted across Valamar properties in 2019.
These trees symbolically represent the forest that is our corporate social responsibility programmes. Steeped in responsibility as our core value and the cornerstone of our modus operandi, our efforts range from all levels of the community to our destinations and the environment in general. Each consists of many small steps, some of which have already resulted in great achievements.
Energy production is a superb example. After concentrated effort over the past years, all Valamar electricity today comes from renewable sources. Knowing that greener transportation options are directly related to reduction of emissions, in 2019 alone we acquired 20 new electric vehicles, 26 scooters and 7 electric carts and installed three charging stations in Marea Valamar Collection Suites and Istra Premium Camping Resort. In 2020, we upgraded the efficiency in our Corinthia Baška hotel complex on Krk island by replacing oil-fired furnaces with high-efficiency pumps, as well as replacing all exterior lighting with LEDs.
But 2020 was not an ordinary year. With the worldwide health crisis and ban on travel that halted our business altogether, our efforts were primarily geared to the communities surrounding us. Our employees, first and foremost. Through swift implementation of the “Pause, Restart” programme in collaboration with our social partners, our employees were able to keep their positions and receive payouts until this year. In Dubrovnik, our properties accommodated medical staff of the general hospital, and after the earthquakes in Zagreb and Petrinja, our hotels in Istria provided accommodation for families who have been displaced from their homes.
On the global level, the world in lockdown allowed us to get a glimpse of the future that sustainability should take us to. Last year, the carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 7%, which is precisely the yearly goal set forth by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. But this came at a cost, of most of us homebound.
As we return to a sense of normalcy and start moving out and about, perhaps we can attempt to achieve something great by taking small steps, every day. Options are limitless: from taking part in beach cleaning actions, saving a kitten or planting a tree, to myriad daily things like eco-flushing, turning off the lights and AC, recycling and reusing, reducing waste or simply walking instead of going by car.
You are in the perfect country for the latter. As you enjoy your holidays with us, and the verdant beauty that surrounds you everywhere in Croatia, we hope you will join us in forging the path to a greener today – and an even greener tomorrow.
VALAMAR GIVING BACK
Being in an industry that relies heavily on the environment, from its cultures to its natural beauties and resources, we are deeply committed to acting responsibly. Our pledge is to commit at least 2.5% of our annual revenue to our nine social responsibility programs. In 2019, we doubled that.
Enriching the Destination: Our independently organised events, like the 78-day Rabac Open Air Fest or Summer at Valamar in Dubrovnik, upgrade the quality of life and offer in our destinations.
Building Tourism Infrastructure: From beaches and playgrounds, to walking and biking trails to access paths, 14 Valamar beaches hold the prestigious Blue Flag certification and our Bike Park Rabac currently features 14 trails.
Good Job at Valamar: We offer a range of programmes, from scholarships and internships to continuous education of our employees.
ValamART: We support national and global artists and cultural initiatives, like accommodating artists from the Poreč Art Colony every summer.
Promoting Sports: We organise or sponsor sports events, like the 4-islands MTB Stage race or the Valamar Trail, which features 500 runners.
Green Valamar: We support energy efficiency projects and various environmental protection initiatives, from massive investment into solar technologies to seabed cleanups.
Our Retired Colleagues: Through communal gatherings and excursions, we keep in touch with our retired colleagues.
Little Tourism: We take kids on tours of Valamar properties to introduce them to the hospitality industry.
Valamar’s Big Heart: One of our most loved projects under the fundraising and charity framework is A 1000 Days on the Adriatic Sea. During its six years’ span, 2500 children who normally wouldn’t be able to afford a seaside holiday enjoyed one in Valamar hotels.