“I love the fact that we have a passionate if not obsessive team when it comes to protecting our environment and doing everything they can to stay clean and green. It’s not always easy in the luxury environment that we work in, however, it has become part of the experience for many of our guests without being obtrusive. Many of the guests when I have been at property, have come up to me personally and commended on the efforts we have taken to reduce, reuse and recycle. I could not be prouder leading an organisation that has social awareness and understands the importance of being sustainable as what we do now will make the difference for others in the future. As we say at Spicers ‘our gold is green,” – David Assef, Spicers Retreats Managing Director.
The recent surge in environmental awareness has affected industries and individuals everywhere. It certainly adds a new level of pressure in business, but it has also opened up a whole new world of opportunities. At Spicers we feel as though a huge curtain has lifted, as it has brought widespread clarity of our purpose and vision throughout the organisation. The original vision of “getting more people out and into the bush”, has never felt more relevant. To be able to align our business with such a massive shift has inspired us immensely. We are certain that our efforts going forward will inspire the entire industry to become more sustainable.
Spicers Retreats have always been a meeting place for creativity, it’s in the walls as much as it is on the walls of every single uniquely styled room. We are always striving to be a little better than we were yesterday, and that is why creativity has always been a core value at Spicers. With the present environmental challenges however, we need to start tapping into that in a much more systematic and structured way. It is obvious that our reignited purpose and contribution to a better world, combined with a new set of ambitious environmental targets, have boosted creativity, innovation and engagement within the organisation. People are excited and feel as though they have been given a ”green licence” to create. It is thanks to their eagerness and persistence that we have managed to achieve so much in so little time. At Spicers we are fortunate to have such passionate people driving these green initiatives, people who have put their hands up out of their own genuine interest. To think like an entrepreneur is something we strongly encourage, and it has proven to be a very efficient way to implement change. Is not easy to find the balance between saving the planet and running a profitable business, especially when we’re talking luxury, but because of the greater purpose and urgency to act, overcoming our challenges have proven greatly fulfilling for our team.
Ghandi once said that happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony. We certainly feel like this is happening at Spicers. We are making great progress on our 2030 sustainability vision of zero nett emission and zero nett waste, by focusing on one small step at a time. Since joining The Last Straw campaign, we have stopped 40,000 straws from entering landfill in just one year. We donated our beds during a refurbishment of Spicers Balfour to an organisation called ’RizeUp’ which not only gives our beds a second life, but offers victims of domestic violence a safe place to sleep. We are also close to closing the loop on bed linen, towels and uniforms through exciting collaborations with members of the local community. There is a fair amount of ’greenwashing’ out there, but at Spicers we are very pleased to see that the progress that is taking place at our retreats and offices, are inspired by the changes our people are living.
In our modern society we often talk about all the things we need, never do we contemplate what our Earth asks of us in return. We have created a growth and consumption driven economy, in which the practise of contentment has become a rebellious act. At Spicers, we have for the past decade been asking ourselves what our responsibility is to the Earth, and what gifts we can offer in return. How can we as an organisation better play by the rules that govern our eco systems, and get accustomed to replenishing what we take? Aligning our business goals with ecological restoration and conservation efforts is an act of reciprocity, to heal the damage we are all responsible for. It is only with great care, respect and stewardship for the land and all living things, that we will be able to replenish and sustain our planets precious eco systems now and for future generations.
The intention behind every Spicers Retreat has always been to connect people back to nature, in hope of restoring not just the human spirit, but also the land and our long lost relationship with the land. We feel incredibly inspired by our mission to create opportunities for such important connections to take place. This is not only something we know we do well; it is our way of giving back. It would be highly ignorant if we were to jeopardise what we have built our entire lives around. It should be common sense by now that no business in the world can thrive on a dying planet, so it is our responsibility to do our best to protect it.
We are excited to share that this year we have started offering culinary experiences with zero food mileage at many of our retreats. At Spicers Balfour, we have built a roof top garden and installed beehives overlooking the iconic Story Bridge. To be able to enjoy a straw free drink while watching your next meal grow is truly fulfilling. Our experiences and events are now all planned towards zero waste. We may not be at 100% yet, but this year we replaced our bins with waste stations, with the intention of involving and educating people on how to reduce, recycle and dispose their waste more consciously. Initially, we thought creating experiences more sustainably was going to be difficult, especially luxurious ones. Now we know that feeling cared for responsibly is the ultimate luxury. Now we know that feeling cared for responsibly is the ultimate luxury.