BANGKOK—The sustainability leaders at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas celebrated their successes and made plans for 2019 as they met in Bali for their annual sustainability conference. This year’s theme was titled: A Little Dirt Never Hurt.
Twenty-two sustainability managers, community liaisons, spa leaders and gardeners joined Six Senses Vice President of Sustainability Jeff Smith for three interactive and educational days at The Kul Kul Farm in Ubud where they studied permaculture design, agroforestry, composting, biodynamic farming, essential oil distillation, natural soaps, bamboo building, plant nursery, seed collection and enjoyed a whole lot of tree hugging and team building.
The attendees learned about permaculture principles and how to apply them to every aspect of biodynamic farming. They prepared seedlings in the nursery, harvested 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of sweet potatoes, planted cherry tomatoes and banana trees, said hello to the chickens and pigs, explored the art of agroforestry, and learned the perfect layering technique for a steaming compost.
Herbalism & Natural Remedies
One of The Kul Kul Farm directors, Maria Hardy, guided the group through a basic, but thorough, understanding of herbalism and natural remedies. The one-day workshop used herbs, leaves, fruit and spices found within the region to concoct fragrant, therapeutic, and, in some instances, medicinal elixirs, tinctures, salves and teas. Six Senses host Marta Cardoso even workshopped a quick and easy DIY tutorial on homemade toothpaste. With pockets full of goodies and heads full of new ideas, attendees left with many ideas for their properties.
On the last day of the conference, conference members revitalized the playground of a kindergarten located .6 miles (1 kilometer) from Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali. Joachim Nababan, the resort’s Sustainability Manager arranged for the team to repaint old, rusted playground frames. The team also applied their newly acquired gardening methods, planting guava trees, papaya trees, flower bushes and aloe vera plants in the playground’s garden.
The gathering was topped off by a final night stay and team dinner at Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali. During their visit, the group toured the resort’s organic gardens and Earth Lab. Each Six Senses location features an Earth Lab where workshops are hosted that empower guests and community members to connect more closely with the environment, nature and sustainable living practices.
Operating More ‘Efficiently and Productively’
President Bernhard Bohnenberger joined the gathering and said, “It was a pleasure to be part of this dynamic group of thinkers and doers. I was amazed by the accomplishments achieved by the group and their property teams, and I’m very proud of all that has been achieved at Six Senses in the last 12 months. At each Six Senses location, development begins with sustainable building, design practices and ecosystem protection. And when we open our focus moves to water and energy conservation, recycling and waste management, plus community involvement. This meeting confirmed that our practices resound with our guests and that the time and effort we take in measuring and recording results is proving that we are operating more efficiently and productively.”
Six years ago, each property started to monitor and measure their environmental efforts. All data is gathered and contributes to Cornell University’s Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking program. This compares the performance of Six Senses against a global dataset of peers.
Jeff Smith, Vice President of Sustainability said, “Our gathering was a major success and allowed everyone driving sustainability at the unit level to brainstorm and collaborate on what’s next for the group. In 2016, we eliminated plastic straws throughout the company and now we’re taking on a mammoth initiative which we call Plastic Free 2022. We discussed this effort in great detail. We also reviewed our Sustainability Fund projects and planned how to better track our regenerative impacts. Sponsored projects in 2017 totaled $507,631. We’re excited to forge ahead and continue to make a difference with our guests, hosts and the people in the communities where we operate.”