Our Commitment to Sustainable Tourism
The below are just some of the initiatives that we at Fiordland Eco-Retreat are voluntarily adhering to, in order to improve and showcase our business sustainability.
– NZ Sustainable Tourism Initiative
We are voluntarily committed to the New Zealand Sustainable Tourism Initiative, which aims to see every New Zealand tourism business committed to sustainability by 2025.
We are fully on-board with all of its 12 Sustainability Commitments, including the aspiration that all Aotearoa New Zealand businesses will one day fully embrace our nation’s Māori culture and heritage, to deliver an authentic and unique visitor experience. Should guests be interested, they’ll find information regarding local Māori stories, culture and history in our Eco-Retreat’s physical Guest Information Book.
We also support the Tiaki Promise: a commitment to care for New Zealand’s people, place and culture – for now and for future generations. Our Reforestation Project, ongoing involvement in local conservation projects (details are further down the page) and our on-site predator trapping are just a few of our initiatives in this area.
– Qualmark Award: Gold | 5*
Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance organisation, providing a trusted guide to iconic travel experiences. It looks into every aspect of the business, including ‘Economic‘, ‘Social & People‘, ‘Environment and Culture‘ and ‘Health, Safety and Wellness‘.
Qualmark has awarded Fiordland Eco-Retreat with a Gold 5* classification.
Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award
Qualmark has awarded Fiordland Eco-Retreat with the Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award.
“A Gold Award recognises the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand, with the delivery of exceptional customer experiences an integral part of everything they do. A Gold Sustainable Tourism Award identifies those businesses leading the way in making the New Zealand tourism industry a world class sustainable visitor destination.” – taken from the Qualmark website.
Qualmark’s Sustainable Tourism Business Criteria, which lead to the above award, is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) as being equivalent to the GSTC Industry Criteria.
Qualmark has also classified Fiordland Eco-Retreat as 5* accommodation, under the ‘Holiday House’ category.
As is recognised the world over, a 5* accommodation rating signifies that the quality of the accommodation and the facilities on offer are exceptional, and among the best available in New Zealand.
– Measuring our Carbon Footprint
We’re voluntarily joining the ‘Tourism Carbon Challenge’, which urges every tourism business to measure its carbon footprint, to take action to significantly reduce carbon emissions by 2030, and contribute to a tourism industry that is net zero carbon ahead of New Zealand’s 2050 goal.
The Eco-Retreat’s estimated Energy Footprint for the year June 2021- May 2022 was 1.478 tonnes of CO². To put this into perspective, the global annual average “is around 4.7 tonnes of CO² per person” – source: International Energy Agency.
Steps to Reducing our own Carbon Emissions
We try very hard to “walk the ‘eco’ talk”, and to be responsible for as few carbon emissions as possible, but we know that there’s always room for improvement.
As finances permit, we intend to:
- Upgrade our business vehicle to an eVehicle, and install an eCharging station.
- Purchase additional solar panels, and possibly an additional Tesla battery.
- We will, of course, continue to plant native trees through our Reforestation Project.
– Local Environmental / Conservation Projects
We’re incredibly fortunate here in Fiordland that our local community truly embraces its role as kaitiakitanga (guardian) of Fiordland National Park. There is a true understanding that protecting and enhancing our natural resources not only helps our environment, but also our economy. Here in Fiordland, our natural environment is intertwined with the long term success of the many tourism businesses.
As passionate conservationists ourselves, we have worked with many of our local conservation groups, both in our personal and working lives. If you’re interested, you can find out more about our backgrounds in the About Us section of the website.
Glen has been part of the Department of Conservation’s Takahē Team in Te Anau since 2005. The takahē is a native flightless bird, thought to be extinct up until its rediscovery in Te Puhi a Noa (the Murchison Mountains) in 1948. Glen has been an integral part of the team involved in bringing it back from the brink of extinction.
Our German Wirehaired Pointer, Yuki, was also part of the Takahē Team – as a takahē conservation dog, right up until her retirement in 2020. She and Glen would often head into the mountains together, in search of takahē.
Other local conservation groups that we’ve been involved with include:
- Kids Restore the Kepler – Our two children are actively involved in this through the local Enviro-Kindergarten and Primary School.
- Punanga Manu o Te Anau / Te Anau Bird Sanctuary – Glen often works with the takahē here.
- Kākāpō Recovery Programme – We have both spent time out on the pest-free islands helping out during kākāpō breeding seasons. Glen is fundamentally involved in the behind-the-scenes operations of this programme.
- Takahē Recovery Programme – Glen is heavily involved with this Recovery programme through his work in the Takahē Team at Department of Conservation.
- The Kepler Challenge trapping programme – Susanna volunteered on the Kepler Challenge Organising Committee for 3 years, during which time she gathered and correlated the results from this dedicated group of trapping volunteers.
- Mohua Charitable Trust
- Our native plants often come from the Northern Southland Reforestation Trust, based down the road in Lumsden.
Details of Fiordland’s many conservation projects that guests may wish to become involved with (whether in person or financially) are included in the ‘Local Conservation Groups: Volunteering & Donations’ section of our Guest Information Guide, which can be viewed in hard copy while a guest at the Eco-Retreat.
– Local Community / Social Projects
In addition to helping out with local conservation projects, we also enjoy getting involved with our amazing Te Anau community’s social projects. It’s certainly difficult to find time for this at the moment with a young family, but we do look forward to becoming more involved again in years to come!
- Fiordland Dark Sky Community Outreach Group – Glen is a founding member of this small voluntary group, which seeks to assimilate information out to the local community, regarding the ‘Fiordland Dark Sky Sanctuary‘ application.
- Fiordland Trails Trust – Glen has assisted with bike track building and maintainence.
- Kepler Challenge Organising Committee – Susanna volunteered on the organising committee of this world-renowned mountain run for 3 years.
– Internal Business Policies
We have robust business policies in place to ensure that we always conduct businesses practices that are as sustainable as possible. These include a ‘Code of Ethics Policy’, a ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Policy’, and a ‘Sustainable Procurement Policy’.