An ongoing pursuit of global environmental sustainability and social responsibility
October 30, 2017 – An organisation that devotes themselves to green causes, Club Med, the pioneer of the Premium All-inclusive package, has successfully undertaken a string of green initiatives this year. Ongoing efforts to preserve the natural conditions of the locations that resorts are located in have resulted in key successes in the East and South Asia Pacific region:
Green Globe Certification in all 8 resorts
Having consistently received Green Globe’s stamp of approval in resorts since 2011, Club Med Kani and Finolhu Villas have undergone stringent actions to also qualify for the certification this year. A significant achievement for Club Med in the South East Asia and Pacific region, this is the first year that all resorts in the area have received the prestigious certification.
In order for Club Med to attain the Green Globe certification for each resort, it first had to implement and manage an action plan for sustainable development. This included initiatives such as effective management of waste, as well as the saving of energy and protection of biodiversity. Furthermore, each resort had to actively support the economic and social development of the host region. This was achieved through the creation of programmes to support local communities, such as Agrisud, a sustainability initiative that benefits local farmers and agricultural activities. Agro-ecological practices were put in place to assist with reducing carbon footprint and support the economic independence of small scale suppliers. Club Med takes the respect of local communities very seriously. However, all these efforts also boiled down to raising guests’ awareness of environmental and social issues.
An international and independent sustainable tourism certification, Green Globe is a hallmark of sustainable development in the tourism industry. The organisation assesses and awards recognition to companies for their green efforts around the world. The Green Globe certification process is used as a tool to manage Club Med’s sustainability strategy on-site.
One resort that has contributed greatly to Club Med’s overall green advocacy is somewhere a little closer to home – Club Med Cherating Beach, the first Club Med resort to be certified globally. A tropical Eden nestled on the eastern coast of Malaysia, the 85 hectare resort was also the first business in the country to be certified by Green Globe. Club Med Cherating Beach holds the title as Club Med’s very first eco-nature resort, containing around 60 hectares of preserved primary forests.
Club Med Cherating Beach boasts an abundance of activities for guests, also known as Gentle Members (GMs), such as rock-climbing, flying trapeze, treetop walks and more. But, Club Med Cherating Beach is not just home to these adrenaline-inducing activities. A turtle sanctuary, helmed by Green G.O Unetha Balachandran, calls the resort home too.
Creating sustainable opportunities – the Green G.O
Unetha Balachandran, also known as Uni, is a 27-year old who works in Club Med Cherating Beach as their resident Green G.O. A new position created to manage the growth and development of environmentally friendly initiatives in the resort, the Green G.O is a project currently taking place in Club Med Cherating Beach.
Uni helms the current pilot initiative, Turtle Sanctuary with the main goal of promoting Cherating as a remarkable eco-destination as well as to coordinate and promote sustainable management within the resort. Uni underwent specialised training with Ms Lisa Bedez, the Sustainability & Foundation Coordinator for South East Asia and Pacific, who provided on-the-job-training for the sustainability of the resort.
Recommended for a job opportunity in Club Med, Uni thought she would try sending in her resume for a position. Uni joined Club Med earlier in 2017 and finds it the best place to work in with a myriad of opportunities to meet people of different backgrounds. Her love for nature, culture and people was the biggest factor to further develop and improve herself in Club Med Cherating Beach. The 27-year-old’s job also encompasses coordinating sustainable activities within the resort itself, which means she oversees staff training, waste management, development of training, and promotional tools as well as biodiversity research and conservation.
For Uni, who is fluent in English, Malay and Tamil, as much as the job is a busy one, she believes that the eco aspect of Club Med Cherating Beach adds to the overall experience for guests and it truly is rewarding when “guests return to share their experiences of the resort and its activities with their friends and family members.”
When we asked Uni what was her favourite part of Club Med Cherating Beach, the spritely 27-year old highly recommended the Zen Pool and the Nature Walk Clift as must-see destinations for guests visiting Club Med Cherating.
Saving turtles in Cherating Beach
The Cherating Turtle Sanctuary is located just beside Asia’s first Club Med in Cherating, Malaysia and plays a vital role in conservation. The centre was established in 1972 as a turtle hatchery in an effort to protect the endangered species, in particular the Leatherback Turtle. The main threats faced are poachers, high waves and natural predation, leading to damage of the turtle eggs and hatchlings. The primary function of the Turtle Sanctuary in Cherating Beach is to provide safe off-site nesting areas to protect the growth of the nestlings. The Turtle Sanctuary also acts as a research facility, and as a sickbay for injured turtles to be nursed to full health. By relocating the nests and releasing them when the nestlings are grown, more hatchlings are successfully released into the sea to ensure the species’ continuality.
The Turtle Sanctuary is open to public and promotes awareness of turtle conservation in the region. Public tours are held and include exhibitions of turtles and information about their nesting patterns. Guests are then able to see two different species of turtles; the Green and Hawksbill turtles, as well as turtle hatchlings and juveniles in the pool. The sanctuary also houses terrapins that live in freshwater, enabling guests to learn the differences between terrapins and turtles. Guests are also educated on the major threats to turtles such as pollution and fishing activities in order to raise more awareness.
In 2016, close to 600 landings took place in Cherating Beach, majority of them coming from the shoreline within Club Med Cherating Beach. Club Med Cherating Beach provides almost 75% of coastal lines for turtle nesting grounds.
For more information, please visit www.sustainability.clubmed.