RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIF.—Lauren Bergloff joined Terranea in 2013 and was an instrumental part of the Experience Concierge team, developing, leading and expanding its adventure offerings and educational guest programming. In 2017, Lauren was promoted to the new role of Sustainability Leader for the resort. Her dedication to promoting and expanding Terranea’s eco initiatives for guests and internal operations is evident in the program’s growth and results over the past year.
What Inspired Terranea’s ‘Green’ Disposition?
Poised above coastal bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, Terranea Resort debuted in June 2009 as the only luxury destination resort on the Los Angeles coast. Celebrated for its natural beauty, the 102-acre resort understood the importance of incorporating sustainable materials, technology and methods that could not only minimize the ecological footprint of the resort, but also plant a seed for others and provide a model for good design and development.
Terranea is dedicated to protecting the valuable coastal resources that define the Palos Verdes Peninsula and make this singular destination one of the most valued natural locations in the world. Since its inception, Terranea has remained committed to minimizing its environmental footprint by integrating transparent eco-friendly practices throughout the resort, including—but not limited to—those that protect open space, improve wildlife habitats, and enhance local water quality.
What Environmentally Friendly Programs or Practices Does Terranea Perform?
Terranea Resort continues to expand its commitment to sustainability and green practices by including food waste recycling supporting the resort’s “20/20/20” goal, a pledge to reduce energy and water usage by 20 percent and send only 20 percent of its total waste to the landfill, all by the year 2020.
The resort collaborates with Chefs to End Hunger, a nonprofit organization that redistributes prepared food that would normally go to waste in hotels, restaurants, and other foodservice operations to local food agencies serving meals to those in need. Terranea regularly donates its safely chilled and unserved surplus food to the cause. Since 2017, the resort donated more than 7,700 pounds of food through this program.
Terranea donates partially consumed, wholly usable toiletries left in guestrooms to the Midnight Mission in downtown Los Angeles. In one month alone, this can amount to over 380 pounds of toiletries diverted from the landfill and sent to those in need.
In What Ways Do You & the Rest of the Staff Participate in These Programs?
We have a Green Team made up of about 27 sustainability ambassadors that represent different departments on property. These sustainability ambassadors meet once per month to discuss new ideas and solutions for the resort’s 20/20/20 goal. Terranea aims to reduce energy and water consumption by 20 percent and send 20 percent of total waste to the landfill.
All associates are welcome to join in the monthly Kelp Forest Cleanup kayak tours. Associates are able to enjoy a free kayak tour while they assist by picking up any trash that gets caught in the kelp forest.
All associates are welcome to join in the monthly IMPACT DAYs. Associates pick up trash along the native plant trail for one hour per month.
The culinary, stewarding, and purchasing teams are instrumental in the Chefs to End Hunger program. So far this year, they have donated 7,737.4 lbs. of food, which is 3.87 tons diverted from the landfill into hungry mouths.
Sustainability ambassadors facilitate annual celebrations, including: Earth Day, World Oceans Day, and Coastal Cleanup Day.
Have There Been Any Difficulties or Obstacles to Overcome While Incorporating These Practices, Operationally or Otherwise?
Absolutely. It is estimated that it takes 21 days to break a habit. During those first 21 days of an initiative it is important to physically check in with your team and consistently encourage them.
What Has Been Your Most Rewarding Experience in Relation to These Programs?
The most rewarding experience for me happened when I was volunteering at the Midnight Mission with our Women In Lodging group. We were all waiting in the lobby when I saw someone walk up to the front desk and receive a couple of our shampoo bottles. I was able to see the full circle of our donations going into the hands of someone in need. This program of donating partially consumed toilet paper and toiletries all happened because of the revamping of the Terranea Green Team. One of our sustainability ambassadors spoke up at a Green Team meeting saying that housekeeping throws away ¼ full rolls of toilet paper and partially consumed toiletry bottles. The Green Team met with the housekeeping team and came up with a way to collect these wholly usable products to be donated to the Midnight Mission. So far in 2018, we have donated 3,675 lbs. of toiletries and toilet paper—that is 1.84 tons diverted from the landfill to those in need.
In What Ways Have Terranea’s Sustainable Practices Benefited Your Property?
Terranea’s commitment to conservation and sustainability has also shaped programming at the resort, offering guests a number of events and activities highlighting sustainability practices, including annual Earth Day and World Oceans Day celebrations, among other unique offerings. Terranea encourages guests and its associates to explore its unique ecology and embrace environmentally friendly practices through a variety of conservation programs and educational activities. With 75 acres of natural landscape surrounding the resort, it is easy to witness the local fauna at Terranea. The resort offers many opportunities to view a range of wildlife in their natural habitats and encourage positive interactions with the surrounding environment. Guests can enjoy sights of everything from whale migrations to spotting the endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly. Naturalist-led tours guide visitors along the resort’s extensive walking, hiking, and bird watching footpaths along the scenic Discovery Trail, part of the Palos Verdes Peninsula trail system. The tours help further the awareness of the land’s ecology, educating guests on the resort’s coastal flora and fauna, such as the California crabapple, a rare species that grows only on the Peninsula and Catalina Island. Terranea is also proud of its Farm-to-Terranea culinary philosophy that focuses on utilizing local and sustainable ingredients. Terranea’s bountiful land boasts herb and vegetable gardens, lemon groves, bee hives, a chicken coop, a Sea Salt Conservatory and more. Additionally, the resort’s innovative Experience Center lets guests discover and explore Terranea’s rich terrain with miles of scenic coastal trails, secluded beach cove and ocean environment. Fun, enriching programs and activities such as habitat photography, falconry, archery, kayaking, and paddle boarding also abound.
Have You Received Any Feedback from Guests or Employees Regarding Terranea’s ‘Green” Programs?
“While reading the January/February edition of California Lodging News, I came upon the CHLA Stars of the Industry Awards and was delighted to see that Ms. Lauren Bergloff was recognized for her sustainability efforts and contributions on behalf of your beautiful resort. Thanks to her and others like her, we hope to continue to see positive changes in our industry surrounding sustainability.” —Larry Eells, the Hyatt
“Thank you so much for leading a most informative and fun walk around Terranea on Monday. I love when I have a good time and learn all at once! Your passion for what you do is infectious. You have the dream job! Thanks again for your hospitality.”—Paula Hogan, guest
“We dined at Nelson’s Restaurant today. Thank you, thank you, thank you for using straws sparingly! And thank you, thank you, thank you for when a straw is requested, using paper straws! I will be back to Nelson’s, because I was actually uplifted during my dining experience due to your extra effort and care for the environment.”—Sara McKwon, guest
“We wanted to send our most heartfelt thank you for hosting us to what was an incredibly successful Kindness Ambassador event! We have so much gratitude for all of you and treasured our time shared together. It was heaven to spend time there and to see so many whales, dolphins and bunnies in one magical day. We were so impressed by all your wonderful sustainability initiatives in place—thank you for sharing them with us! Also, a huge congrats on your NatGeo story!! Wow—such excellent news! I loved seeing the pasta straws throughout the property. Terranea is truly leading the way for innovative initiatives towards sustainability. We loved being able to see some of your initiatives first-hand and look forward to helping your share your many stories. As the posts (social media/blog/press) roll out from our ambassadors, we will collect everything and present a recap to you to measure our metrics. I can’t express my gratefulness enough, thank you again.” —Jessica Blotter, CEO Kind Traveler
What Awards has Terranea Won for Its Commitment to Sustainability?
Terranea Resort was awarded the 2018 Platinum Adrian Award for Leader in Sustainable Tourism by HSMAI and National Geographic; named a Top Eco-Friendly Hotel in Los Angeles in 2016 by Haute Living; Best Eco-Friendly Getaway in 2015 by CBS-LA; Stars of the Industry Community Service Award winner in 2014 by California Hotel & Lodging Association; South Bay Business Environmental Coalition—SoCal Environmental Excellence Development (SEED) Awards for Environmental Leadership in 2013 and Pollution Prevention Award in 2012; Terranea Resort was also the recipient of California Hotel & Lodging Association’s Stars of the Industry Good Earthkeeping Award in 2012 and 2018.
Do You Have Any Advice for Other Hoteliers as Our Industry Shifts to More Environmentally Friendly Practices?
Never give up and persistence is key. Make sure you have at least one representative in each department that is passionate about sustainability and can hold their team accountable. Keep checking in and keep your door open for suggestions.