Here at SAVU South Alor, sustainability and conservation are at the heart of all our operations. We are committed to marginalising our environmental impact in everything we do; from the way we construct our accommodation through to harnessing solar power and being as self-sufficient as possible with our large organic farm that follows permaculture principles. In this article we take a look at our initiatives, projects and methods that ensure we are walking the sustainability walk and not just talking the talk!
What Sustainability Means to Us
Sustainability means a lot more to us than saying no to plastic drinking straws and shopping bags (although we do that too). Sustainability means that we are not only trying to minimise our footprint on the natural environment but on a community level too.
Being as sustainable as possible is a never-ending task – a job that is never done. We try to stay on top of the latest developments in technology and look for additional methods that we can employ to further reduce our impact on the environment (both marine and terrestrial). We work alongside our local communities and regional stakeholders with the intention of raising awareness about environmental issues and economically viable solutions.
Our Commitment to Sustainability
From the moment we found our little patch of paradise in Alor we were determined to look after it to the best of our abilities and encourage it to flourish. Here are some of the steps that we have taken to minimise the resorts’ impact on the environment.
Sustainability in Alor
Our commitment to sustainability began a long time before we welcomed our first guests to SAVU South Alor. When it came to the initial construction of the resort, sustainability was at the forefront of our minds. We wanted to create a luxury resort that had minimal impact on the environment and which blended harmoniously into the surroundings. We researched extensively until we had formulated a blueprint that met all of our criteria in terms of comfort, luxury, sustainability and useability.
Our pool decks are made from reclaimed wood and the interiors of each accommodation is decorated with thoughtful touches from nature (many are from around the resort and our beach) that remind our guests of the natural beauty that surrounds them.
Our accommodations all include complimentary refillable dispensers of biodegradable shampoo and soap.
Given that Alor is one of the most arid islands in Indonesia with among the most hours of sunlight, the decision to harness solar power was an easy one. Although transporting fragile glass panels by sea to a remote Indonesian island was never going to be easy, we knew it was a must. How could we possibly call ourselves sustainable if we were running gensets throughout the day, or having electricity towers and cabling dotting the landscape?
We are extremely proud of the fact that we are fully reliant on solar power and when the resort is full to capacity (and the weather is playing on our team) we are able to maintain ourselves 100% on solar! To ensure a constant supply of electricity, we maintain a genset on site so we can recharge our batteries, if necessary, on cloudy days.
Organic Food Farm
Our ‘off-the-beaten-track’ vibes come from the fact that we are off-the-beaten-track! Our beautiful resort is located in a remote area away from the town and its bustling markets. Our aim has always been to be not only sustainable but also self-sufficient and our organic food farm plays a big part in this. We grow our fresh produce following permaculture principles and we do not use any chemical pesticides or fertilizers. We compost our organic waste and use home-made, natural mixes to deter any insects.
Our farm is spread throughout the resort with the main vegetable and fruit production surrounding our solar panels, you will also find herbs and spices growing in guest areas too.
If you would like to know more about our farm and the produce we grow here, one of our team can give you a guided tour to learn about the local fruits, vegetables and spices grown on site for use in our meals and beverages. When we talk about farm to table dining and fresh produce – we really mean it!
Saying No to Plastic
Indonesia is still one of the highest consuming countries of single use plastic. We refuse to be a part of this and we do not use single use plastic in our resort. We work with our suppliers to address issues around packaging – how to reduce packaging as well as looking for more sustainable options including cassava and banana leaf alternatives.
We do not use plastic straws, bags, bottles or cups and we encourage our staff to try to follow this principle when at home and be role models in their local communities. When staff visit the local market to purchase produce, they take cotton shopping bags with them. It is common practice in Indonesia that when shopping at a market, each item is wrapped before being placed in another plastic bag! Not only does this reduce our single use plastic consumption but we hope that we can lead by example in our local communities too.
Self Sufficiency: Water
Water is one of the most basic commodities on the planet but when you are located on one of the driest islands in the Indonesian archipelago, it can be one of the most challenging to source.
We knew that if we wanted to be self-sufficient and uphold our sustainability principles, we would need to find a solution other than relying on water delivery tankers.
After significant investigation and careful excavation, we now have our own deep wells that ensure a constant supply of water to the resort. On site, we produce our own drinking water from the deep well water via our filtration system that pairs with UV.
Opportunities for Communities
We believe that people are one of our biggest and most significant resources. All of our staff are paid fair salaries, have annual leave allowances, receive professional training (including English language lessons), and are given opportunities to progress.
Our employee demographic consists of around one third of employees coming from local villages, one third from elsewhere on Alor and the final third coming from wider Indonesia.
The local people on Alor have very little knowledge of luxury accommodation and the service standards that are expected. We are constantly capacity building to develop and strengthen our teams’ abilities, our resources and processes.
We work together with our teams to train them to the highest level – which is an opportunity they would not otherwise have. With SAVU South Alor training behind them, doors begin to open and they may decide to relocate to Bali or to explore other areas of Indonesia or even overseas. We understand this and we are proud to have been part of their journey. Mostly, however, we see this as an opportunity for the planet too. Our staff have learned about sustainability and sustainable practices since day 1. We hope that they will take this knowledge and awareness with them and spread the word far and wide!
Marine Research and Conservation
A large part of our commitment to the environment and sustainability comes from our passion for the ocean. Our lands and seas are interconnected and it’s impossible to care for one without caring for the other. One of our co-founders has a long standing involvement with Planet Deep Foundation, a non-profit organisation who focus on the conservation of oceanic whales and dolphins, and the protective management of their deep-sea habitats.
We are extremely proud to be able to assist and support Planet Deep Foundation’s scientific research, monitoring and data recording while conducting our responsible whale watching and dolphin spotting activities.
Experience Our Sustainable Resort in Alor
Are you like-minded with a love for our oceans, adventure, conservation and sustainability? If so, we are ready to welcome you at SAVU South Alor! Explore our incredible coral reefs, kick back and unwind on our white sand beach, and enjoy our barefoot luxury approach. Our commitment to sustainability and marine conservation is borne out of our passion for the ocean – something we look forward to sharing with you!