In 2011, Iberostar opened the doors to its first resort in the Dominican Republic. The resort was a spartan one, but it was the first step in its vision to become a member of the four-star global hotel collection—a group of resorts that are known for their sustainable practices. Fast forward to today, and Iberostar has become a leader in the sustainable tourism industry. It has introduced several initiatives to help its resorts become an example for the industry as a whole, and is now a member of the Sustainable Destinations program of the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Iberostar is the fifth largest hotel chain in the world, with more than 600 hotels located in 18 different countries. In Costa Rica, there are 3 of them: Iberostar Punta Cana, Iberostar Playa Paraiso and Iberostar Playa Dorada. Each of them offers more than 4,000 rooms and top-of-the-line amenities, and are located across all different regions in Costa Rica.
Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is in the process of becoming the first hotel chain in the world to be carbon zero by 2022, which means that its emissions will not exceed the emissions allowed by international sustainability standards. “We have already achieved a significant reduction of emissions thanks to the actions of our employees and our customers, who have become our biggest allies,” said Iberostar’s Executive Vice President, Antonio Belmonte. “The commitment that we have taken on is a very important step forward for us, and we are proud to be the first hotel chain in the world to achieve this goal.”
Iberostar is changing the way hotel and resort groups approach sustainability with the launch of the Discovering Change Wave initiative worldwide.
About eighty percent of the Iberostar Group’s properties are located near the sea. Due to its proximity to the sea and the environment, the group is committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 4, 13 and 14. It works to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable practices and strives to understand and combat climate change while preserving ocean ecosystems.
The Wave of Change discovery initiative officially launched on the 8th. June. All of the company’s resorts participate in free educational events and promotions for their guests, in order to achieve Iberostar’s goal of having 90% of guests aware of the company’s sustainability initiatives by 2023.
The Iberostar Wave of Change program has a solid scientific foundation. As science evolves, we also plan to incorporate sustainability into our operations. The goal of The Wave of Change is to protect our oceans and ensure that future generations can enjoy them, and we are doing everything we can to make that happen, said Dr. Megan Morikawa, Global Sustainability Director of Iberostar.
Initially launched in 2017, the Iberostar Wave of Change movement aims to promote a circular economy, encourage responsible seafood consumption and improve coastal health. The group’s 2030 goals therefore include eliminating waste by 2025, being carbon neutral by 2030, offering fully sustainable seafood at all its resorts by 2025 and creating coral farms at all its reef locations by 2030.
To achieve our goals, we had to review our hotel processes. When we installed water fountains at our Caribbean resorts to replace plastic water bottles, we had to determine the right steps to take to get this message across to our guests, says Dr. Morikawa. After removing all disposable plastic items from our rooms, we had to learn new cleaning and maintenance procedures. In all these changes, Iberostar and its staff have shown an incredible ability to adapt to new situations.
Earlier this month, Iberostar opened its fourth coral nursery. More than 1,000 fragments of elkhorn coral will be grown at the Montego Bay coral farm in Jamaica, which will then be transplanted to local reefs.
Since more than 80% of Iberostar’s properties are beachfront, we are aware of the enormous responsibility we have to preserve these beautiful places. As coral reefs continue to fade at an alarming rate, we decided to launch a research program to find a solution. We currently have a coral reef laboratory on land and four coral nurseries to help solve the problems with coral reefs in the Caribbean. We also know that corals are not the only problem in the Caribbean, mangrove populations are declining. Mangroves are very effective at sequestering carbon. So we started planting mangrove trees to offset our carbon footprint, says Dr. Morikawa.
So what can you do, at home and abroad, to reduce your negative impact on the ocean? Dr. Morikawa emphasizes that research is essential: Where does the seafood you eat come from? How often can you reuse the product, if at all?
The second key point is to actively participate in eco-friendly practices, whether it’s joining in a beach cleanup or simply throwing away trash instead of creating litter. Finally, start supporting organizations that help protect the oceans and other natural ecosystems, either financially or simply by signing up for their newsletters.
For more information on Iberostar’s sustainability initiatives and Wave of Change program, click here.The Iberostar Group of hotels is known as a pioneer in sustainable operations, as well as being one of the largest companies in the industry to install solar panels on its resorts. These range from the four solar panels installed on the Cala Rosa hotel in Tenerife , to the 700-plus solar panels that will be installed on the Pansion Iberostar Los Cabos, at the end of this year.. Read more about sustainability and let us know what you think.