Vol.19 No.4 April/May 2011
In it for the Long Run
Wolwedans first to pave the green way
Paving the way to a greener and more environmentally friendly Namibia, Wolwedans is the first and currently only Namibian establishment to be chosen as one of ten Long Run Destinations around the world.
In line with the worldwide trend to move tourism into the green lane, Jochen Zeitz, founder of the Zeitz Foundation, chairman and CEO of PUMA, and chief sustainability officer of PPR – the Luxury, Sport and Lifestyle holding company – launched the Long Run Initiative as the Zeitz Foundation’s guide to assist the world in working towards a better future.
The Long Run Initiative is based on three interlinked but distinct elements: Long Run Supporters; Long Run Alliance Members; and Long Run Destinations, such as Wolwedans. Long Run Destinations are institutions that directly manage or significantly influence the management of a natural area of conservation value which has defined geographical boundaries, and which have demonstrated their ability and commitment to achieve sustainability through the four Cs – community, culture, commerce and conservation.
Stephan Brückner, managing director of Wolwedans, stresses: “You can have the best-quality marble in the bathrooms, the softest silk linen in the bedrooms, the greatest interior design and the best chefs in
the kitchen, but what’s the use if you don’t also have the green button?” The green button, of course, refers to the sustainable tourism aspect, which, globally, is fast becoming the most important factor when choosing a holiday destination.
The Zeitz Foundation’s Global Ecosphere Retreat® (GER) Certification system, which Wolwedans is currently undergoing, is setting a new standard in sustainability, and is a driving force in promoting and developing sustainable thinking around the globe. It ensures that best practices in sustainability are adhered to and innovative approaches experimented with and researched to develop sustainable solutions.
Put Namibia on the ‘green’ map globally
“It is of little use if each country has its own eco-accreditation system, but it’s not recognised on a global level,” says Stephan. Following a presentation on global standards for sustainable tourism in January, eco awards Namibia will align its criteria with standards approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), further putting Namibia on the green map.
The NamibRand Nature Reserve, where Wolwedans is located, is governed by a strict code of eth- ics and the number of guests it can accommodate is restricted. Visitor park fees are channelled directly into the conservation of NamibRand Nature Reserve. The Wolwedans Foundation, whose key objectives are education, conservation and social development, was also a determining factor for being chosen as a Long Run Destination. The Foundation funds the Desert Academy, which teaches young Namibians all aspects of the hospitality industry and is aimed at raising skills levels and the overall quality of Namibian hospitality. The Foundation also supports the Namibian Institute of Culinary Education, a commercial restaurant, a bar and a chef-training school.
Wolwedans was named one of the world’s 50 best eco-lodges in the National Geographic Traveller magazine of 2010/2011. The Wolwedans Collection consists of the Dune Camp, Dunes Lodge, Private Camp and Boulders Camp. (MvR)