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Sustainability at Monestevole

· Sustainability,Renewable Energy

Since we developed the concept of Tribewanted back in 2007, we wanted to measure our impact using different metrics than simply revenues, profits, growth and bed nights. We wanted to support the local culture and protect the environment, showing how eco-tourism could be a tool to promote local food, local energy, provide local employment, and much more.
So, over the course of our first two projects in Fiji and Sierra Leone, we developed our 10 sustainable metrics.
One is economic: FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY, so that we can cover all our costs and provide a benefit for our community in the long run. All revenues are re-invested in our communities, and we pride ourselves in being a “for-loss company”.
Each year, we measure these metrics to try to constantly improve ourselves: what is the health of our workers, the education of their children? What positive impact are we making in the local community? How are we improving their livelihood and their happiness?
We measure the things we can control: How much food do we produce on site? How much of it is local, seasonal and organic? Where does our energy and our water come from, how much of it is renewable? How much of it do we use per capita and how can we decrease this? How much waste do we produce, how can we reduce this and how much do we recycle on site and off?
Our guests calculate their carbon footprint, just like we do, and then together we plant trees accordingly to offset it. In 20 years, twenty oaks will have captured the same amount of Co2 emitted by one round trip intercontinental flight. Yikes! The more specific our parameters, the more we can improve them year after year.
We adopted these parameters at Monetevole. You can read more about them here.
50% of our electricity comes from our own PV production, we can improve this with a home made wind turbine, and by stocking energy, (waiting for the Tesla Powerwall batteries to arrive to Europe!) Our heat is all produced on site, thermal solar for hot water, biomass stove for heating, using our 25 hectares of woodland. Our food is 70% produced on site or locally sourced, this too can be improved with greenhouses; our water is 100% from our well, we harvest rainwater and recently wrote about our newly completed gray-black water living system, but we still use 150+ liters of water per person per day, too many!
Obviously, the impact we had in education and healthcare was a lot more significant in developing countries, but the questionnaire we use for happiness from the UN Human Development Index, can be applied anywhere:
From 1 (very bad) to 5 (very good), it asks 9 questions:

  1. How do you feel physically?
  2. How do you feel mentally?
  3. How do you feel about your income?
  4. How do you feel about your job?
  5. How do you feel about your family?
  6. How do you feel about your social life?
  7. How do you feel about your natural environment?
  8. How do you feel about your government?
  9. How do you feel about your community? 

Try it out yourself, add up the results of the 9 questions, a score of 30 or more makes you a pretty happy person! Then come visit us, plant a tree, and do it again!

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