Given the importance of beaches to tourism and by extension our economy and prosperity as a nation, you would expect Jamaica to be very protective of its coastline. This couldn’t be further than the truth. A few years ago, I shot an amateur PSA on the south coast of Jamaica about protecting our beaches and just the sheer amount of garbage physically on our coastline was astounding.
Images like these serve only to underscore the necessity of environmental responsibility from local players to save our island paradise. On a more positive note, I’ve compiled a short list of three (3) local brands that are major players in Jamaica’s corporate response to local and international environmental concerns. These brands not only take their corporate responsibility seriously but understand the power of green money how they can leverage green for good business.
Digicel is first on this list simply because HAVE YOU SEEN THE DIGICEL BUILDING?! Back in 2011 when announcements were being made about Digicel HQs relocation to Downtown Kingston, their new planned home was being touted as the “Greenest Building in the Caribbean”. With environmentally friendly features like solar power, solar cooling and wind power, there is no denying the possibility that this may very well be true. Oh, and by the way, for those of us still suffering from the wrath of NWC “[the building’s] water use is reduced by use of low-consumption sanitary fittings and by capturing and storing rain water, which [is] used in the toilets.”
Sandals Resorts International has an Earth Guard Policy which reads “The Sandals Group is committed to providing quality vacation experiences for our guests while we work to minimize the environmental and social impacts associated with our operations” and while you might think this is the typical run of the mill “promote yourself as environmentally friendly marketing ploy” trust me it’s far from it. Sandals Earth Guard is enforced by an international body known as EarthCheck, “the world’s leading scientific bench-marking certification and advisory group for travel and tourism… [helping] businesses, communities and governments to deliver clean, safe, prosperous and healthy destinations for travelers to visit, live, work and play.”
The Earth Guard environmental practices include staff awareness of environmentally safe practices, policy for controlled use of hazardous substances, and water conservation, waste management and energy management programmes. So the next time you get your feet wet and relax on a Sandals vacation rest assured that none of that is at a cost to the environment.
Yes, I confess, I was among the skeptics when Island Grill first announced its earth-friendly packaging on its Facebook page earlier in 2015 . Yes, I’ve long since been wallowing in my shame at what my initial thoughts were and now continue to be a loyal customer of these trendsetters. The boxes are not only easily bio degradable , but are have received the stamp of approval from Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Green Restaurant Association which calls the boxes the highest “green point value” on the market. These boxes put Island Grill in league with international brands Whole Foods and Disney who use identical food packaging.