The Vineyard Hotel, having been consistently recognised for its sustainable and social initiatives, is now able to add another feather to its cap – having just been awarded its Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) certification.
After a stringent auditing process, which included being assessed on their business practice and HR, community resources and cultural heritage and environmental practice, the hotel passed with flying colours and was awarded 98% in the general category and 100% in the mandatory category. Fair Trade Tourism is a non-profit organisation that promotes responsible tourism in southern Africa and beyond, by ensuring that the people who contribute their land, resources, labour and knowledge to tourism are the ones who reap the benefits.
While the hotel has been promoting sustainable practices throughout all areas of its operations since 2007, under its ‘Living Green’ banner, this FTT certification is simply another step in the hotel’s ongoing journey to be a more environmentally conscious property. Some of the initiatives currently underway include solar panels on the roof of the fitness centre, which go towards powering the conference centre, and an award-winning on-site recycling programme.
To achieve Fair Trade Tourism certification businesses need to undergo a stringent independent audit similar to that required for Fairtrade product certification. Says Chris van Zyl, Group Environmental Manager and Horticulturist, “The independent auditor conducted various site inspections and meetings with the health and safety committee and numerous workers, discussing everything from contracts and payslips to the policy around tipping.
Through this process we have learned that FTT is as much about taking care of our environment, as it is taking care of our team. The hotel is proud to have formalised their commitment to fair and responsible tourism and is now part of a select group of 21 establishments and tour operators in the Western Cape FTT family.” By selecting an FTT-certified business, travellers are not only assured that their holiday benefits local communities and economies, and that the business is operated ethically and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, but they will also have a more fulfilling holiday experience.