MUMBAI, INDIA—As Green Travel begins to set its foot in the Indian hospitality sector, eco-conscious, urban travelers looking to escape from city lights can now holiday at India’s first carbon-neutral resort—The Machan, Lonavala.
Known for its exclusive line of treehouses, surrounded by lush green forests, also home to many endemic species, the company is setting new standards for sustainable stays and aims to put India on the global green map.
Talking about the importance of being a Carbon Neutral organization, Varun Hooja, Partner at The Machan said, “Green travel is not just a disruptive trend but a reality for our planet. The ill-effects of climate change are known to everyone. This is why the world is setting targets for itself and so has India. India wants to be a $5 trillion economy by 2025 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2070. Balancing economic interests sustainably is going to be important. Attaining either won’t be a possibility if the tourism & hospitality sector, which today nearly contributes to more than 7 percent of GDP, won’t start adapting sustainable business practices. We should not have to wait for 50 years; the first movers have to act now. Change has to be bottom-up rather than top-down.”
‘Return Outweighs the Investment’
The complex process of making The Machan carbon neutral was managed by NettZero Environmental Advisory Technologies Pvt. Ltd, whose founder, Gautam Shiknis, elaborated: “Adopting green practices, making changes to processes, people and products may seem like an expensive business endeavor, especially post-pandemic, but I can assure you, the return outweighs the investment. By being an early adopter, The Machan doesn’t just have the competitive advantage that comes with being a carbon neutral business but also sets a learning curve for customers, stakeholders, and the entire sector. This is our way of making today count a little more than yesterday, for a greener tomorrow.”
At The Machan, sustainability with style hasn’t just been one of the selling propositions, but a core principle on which the entire resort was designed. Years were spent finding a serene, peaceful location. When the location was finally discovered in Lonavala, the land was degraded due to slash and burn cultivation. Over two decades, using solar, wind systems, water harvesting and intense reforestation efforts, the resort’s carbon capture sink consists of more than 25,000 indigenous trees, making a perfect escape for urban travelers looking to connect with nature. Furthermore, since electricity consumption is the main source of carbon emissions at The Machan, the unit is increasingly turning to renewable sources of energy to be self-sufficient. It is these sustainable practices that enable the resort to offset 120 tons of CO2 emission organically, every year.
Thus, attaining carbon neutrality is a mere formalization of The Machan’s Environment First ethos. With this, the resort in Lonavala, Maharashtra, is one amongst less than 50 resorts across the world to be fully carbon neutral.
The Carbon-Neutral Equation
Being a carbon-neutral entity means that the venture emits the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which will be offset (made up for) by continuing sustainable business practices and purchasing carbon credits.
NettZero’s roadmap to make The Machan achieve carbon neutrality status was audited and certified by MITCON, a renowned testing, inspection auditor that follows the US EPA (United States Environmental Protection) methodology, GHG Protocol and ISO 14064 framework for the data collection, quantification, monitoring and reporting of the GHG emissions. ISO 14064 specifies principles and requirements at the organization level for quantification and reporting of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals. The GHG Protocol convened by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and World Resources Institute (WRI) represents a voluntary international standard for accounting and reporting greenhouse gas emissions.
To attain neutrality, the company has purchased carbon credits from UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), and government certified RECs (Renewable Energy Certifications).
To learn more about carbon neutrality click on the following link to UNFCC’s site.