The organisational programme, meanwhile, addresses the group's policies, procedures and operations

“We started with this journey towards the end of 2013,” says Nick Dickson, Dream Hotels & Resorts (DHR) director. “Recognising that our resorts are located in eco-sensitive areas, a strategic decision was made back then to ensure we keep our impact on the environment to a minimum.”

South Africa’s official pledge is also to reduce emissions to between 398 and 614 million tons (Mt) of CO2 equivalents between 2025 and 2030, dropping to between 212Mt and 420Mt by 2050.

DHR appointed environmental expert consultants, Energy Resource Optimisers (ERO), to develop its Sustainable Environmental Management Programme (SEMP). ERO has extensive experience in the hospitality industry.

“DHR’s SEMP programme has two pillars: a facility programme and an organisational programme. The facility programme deals with everything physical such as water heaters, lighting, laundry equipment, etc. with the aim to move to the most efficient equipment over time. The organisational programme, meanwhile, addresses the group's policies, procedures and operations.”

The DHR directors explained that excellent results have been achieved, as well as behavioural changes, since the inception of the programme. “It was initially implemented at six of the 22 properties, and then extended to the rest once the results were in.”

The SEMP has also delivered cost savings for the group. “In the first two years, savings exceeded 10 percent,” they revealed. “All the resorts have energy baselines and are monitoring their consumption against occupancy on a monthly basis. Since most facilities utilise boreholes for water, we have installed water meters to get an understanding of the water consumption and costs.” The group has set a target of 200 litres per bed night sold by 2020.

Regarding waste management, DHR is currently assessing the volume and type of waste it produces, aiming to reduce water to landfill by 30 percent by 2020. Six monthly assessments are carried out at each location to an innovative scorecard to monitor progress.

“There was a need to provide recognition for the properties' efforts, and since the SEMP programme provides a score for the progress in each of the three priority areas - energy, water and waste - it was decided to give these scores a ‘face’, which is what we refer to as the ECO Statuses, which was developed and driven by the DHR team.”