There is an increasing concern around the world about environmental awareness, particularly with hot topics such as global warming and plastic waste and hotels are increasingly doing their bit to save the planet. The disposal of plastic water bottles and the abolition of plastic straws are just the tip of the iceberg. Here is a hotel in Vietnam that does much more in terms of respect for the environment without encroaching on style and comfort. And it does it well.
Small lodge on the top of a beautiful hill in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park, just 45 minutes from the city of Sapa in northern Vietnam, Topas Ecolodge proposes cool bungalows with a private balcony offering a magnificent view of the huge peaks and endless valleys dotted with ethnic minority villages.
At Topas Ecolodge, they think that the environment and the local community should benefit first from their activity and instead of making a symbolic donation or planting a few trees here and there, they are committed to producing real lasting benefits. While collaborating with DANIDA, the Danish Development Cooperation, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and becoming member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, the hotel works closely with the local communities and employ more than 100 people. Two large buildings were built to accommodate their employees with spaces to grow and cook their own vegetables and each of their employee get also a full social security coverage in plus of their salary.
Almost all of the hotel’s purchases come from local farmers or from their own farm and vegetable garden. Food leftovers are given to local farmers to feed the animals and cans and boxes are given to the local population for reuse. To resolve the glass problem, they bought a glass grinding machine which grinds the bottles into reusable fine sand for construction and maintenance work and for electricity they use energy efficient light bulbs to limit their electricity consumption. Recently, Topas Ecolodge has even opened a wetland built to treat wastewater and thanks of the plants and sand, the waters are purified by a biological process. By using this system, non-natural growth of algae is avoided in the local ecosystem. In addition, wastewater is also treated and purified by an organic filtration system in septic tanks.
The hotel also provides access to education and training to the local population, is the main sponsor of the village school, and provide it with books and writing material. They also share their knowledge and experience with other organizations and schools such as the United Nations International School in Hanoi. Finally, when they organize major events, such as for example the Vietnam Mountain Marathon (VMM), they use the revenue to help the population in needs. Last year, the money was used to provide 200 kg of warm clothing to villagers.
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