Eco Rating Chaa Creek

Name of property The Lodge at Chaa Creek
Person completing this form Mike Green
Position Manager
Address of property P.O. Box 53
San Ignacio, Cayo District
Country Belize
Phone number including country code and area code 501-824-2037
Web site Chaa Creek
E-mail reservations@chaacreek.com
Type of property Ecolodge, Nature Reserve, Activities Center
Number of rooms or cottages 22 cottages
10 screened cabins
Maximum number of guests 95
Eco memberships The International Ecotourism Society
Belize Ecotourism Association
Green Globe 21
Eco ratings, certifications, awards 2008
“Benchmarked Bronze” –  Green Globe 21
Eco Rating at Eco Tropical Resorts – 4.6 out of 5
2007
“Benchmarked” –  Green Globe 21
“Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” – National Geographic Magazine
“Readers Choice Award” – Conde Naste Magazine
“Travel Standard Excellence Award” – Web Marketing Association
“Top Ten International Eco-Escapes” – Trip Advisor
“World Top Hotels & Resorts” – Zagat Survey
“Best Hotels in Central & South America” – Travel+Leasure Magazine
2006
“Benchmarked” – Green Globe 21
Finalist – “Tourism for Tomorrow” – World Travel & Tourism Council
2005
“Best Eco-Lodge” – Caribbean Travel & Life
2004
“Best Eco-Lodge” – Caribbean Travel & Life
2003
“Best Eco-Lodge” – Caribbean Travel & Life
2002
“World’s Best Awards” – Travel + Leisure Magazine
“Ecotourism Award” – Conde Nast Traveler
2001
“Environmental Award” – The  American Society of Travel Agents
“Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Award” – Caribbean Tourism Organization
2000
“Hotel of the Year” – The Belize Tourism Board
1998
“Green Hotel of the Year” – Caribbean Hotel Association
  • Do you have a written environmental or social sustainability policy?     YES

If yes, please attach.

  • Do you have a written environmental management system?              NO

If yes, please attach.

  • Describe the property – aim, size, facilities, amount of land owned and leased  (150 words max)

The Lodge at Chaa Creek – 22 cottages with restaurant, bar and gift shop.
The Macal River Camp – 10 raised-platform screened Casitas.
The Spa at Chaa Creek – full-service day spa.
The Conference Centre at Chaa Creek – facilitating local and international conferences.
Chaa Creek Inland Expeditions – full-service tour operations offering professionally guided tours to regional Maya archaeology sites, National Parks and Reserves and other natural attractions.
Chaa Creek Activities Centre – naturalist interpretive hikes, birding, horseback riding, mountain biking, and canoeing on the Macal River.
The Chaa Creek Nature Reserve – 365 acre private nature reserve.
The Chaa Creek Natural History Centre & Butterfly Farm – established in 1995 to become the first Natural History Centre in Belize.
The Rainforest Medicine Trail – showcases the importance and conservation of medicinal plants and their traditional uses.
Maya Farm – 30 acre organic farm provides fresh produce for our restaurant and showcases the sustainability of traditional Maya farming practices.

  • Describe the location, including distance to nearest town and size of town (100 words max)

Chaa Creek is situated along the banks of the Macal River in the Cayo District of western Belize.  We are approximately seven (7) miles west of the town of         San Ignacio and approximately seven (7) miles east of the Guatemalan border.

  • Describe WHY you made the decision to develop an eco resort (100 word max)

Chaa Creek was established as a remote bush farm in 1977 by Mick and Lucy Fleming.  The first tourism cottage was built in 1981 and established Chaa Creek as the first jungle lodge in Belize.  From the very beginning, Chaa Creek has been and continues to be developed under the guidance of our mission statement:

The goal of CHAA CREEK is to establish a model of low-impact, sustainable development.  By stimulating interest in the environment, natural history and local culture we hope to demonstrate the long term benefits of ecotourism over other environmentally damaging options for development.

Introduction to the Butterfly Club’s Eco Rating

The Butterfly Club Eco Rating has five equally-weighted categories:

  • Energy;
  • Water;
  • Recycling and waste;
  • Land and nature conservation; and
  • Community.

Each category has five levels, designated by one to five butterflies.  Through self assessment, resort operators completing this rating will determine their own levels within each category based on their responses to items listed below.

Two categories – energy and water – have similar rating systems with Levels 1 and 2 addressing conservation of existing resources, and Levels 3, 4 and 5 addressing creation of renewable energy or capturing water.

Level five in every category also requires written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record consumption; (2) test and apply additional conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific targets.   We require a copy of your policies if you achieve level 5 in any category.

Eco Rating Chaa Creek Energy

Levels 1 and 2 – conservation: Check all that apply:

  • use natural air circulation and fans, not air conditioners
  • use natural light during the day
  • minimize use of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines and equipment
  • use “on demand” or solar heating for hot water

___  air dry clothes/linens

  • wash dishes by hand
  • use energy efficient appliances and electronics
  • use low wattage fluorescent light bulbs
  • change linens, tablecloths, napkins upon request
  • switch off lights when not used

Other energy conservation activities? Please list:

Level 1 = four or fewer energy conservation activities

Level 2 = five or more energy conservation activities

 

Levels 3, 4 and 5 – renewable energy: Indicate proportion (%) of energy from each source:

1%  solar
___  wind
___  hydro
99%  generator
___  public utility
Other energy sources? Please list:

100% TOTAL
How were these proportions developed?

Level 3 = renewable energy is employed and is less than 1/3 of all energy

Level 4 = renewable energy constitutes 1/3 – 2/3 of all energy

Level 5 = renewable energy constitutes 2/3 or more of all energy.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record energy consumption; (2) test and apply additional energy conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific energy targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Energy Level 5 (required).

Your Energy Level (select 1 – 5) =   3

Eco Rating Chaa Creek Water

Levels 1 and 2 – conservation: Check all that apply:

  •   low flow faucets and showerheads
  •   low water use toilets
  •   change linens, towels, tablecloths, and napkins upon request

___use table mats that can be wiped and not laundered

  • use biodegradable laundry detergent, dish soap and hand soap

__  treat swimming pool with chlorine-free processes
Other water conservation activities?  Please list.

Level 1 = three or fewer water conservation activities

Level 2 = four or more water conservation activities

Levels 3, 4 and 5 – capture and treat fresh water and manage waste water. Capture water: Indicate proportion (%) of water from each source:

___  spring
90%  river
10%  rain
___  reuse gray
___  public utility
Other water sources? Please list.
100% TOTAL

Fresh water treatment: how is captured fresh water treated?

  • naturally.  Indicate method: charcoal, ultraviolet light, other? List:

First Treatment:

Culligan Model CSM 201D-NC Commercial Filtration System
Culligan Model CSM 300-2 Commercial Softener System
Culligan Model CSM-242R-NC Commercial Carbon Filtration System
Aquafine Model MP-2 SL Ultraviolet Disinfecting System

This water is pumped into the reservoir tanks and utilized throughout the property for non-human consumption.

Second Treatment:

Hydro Tech model T2540-600 Reverse Osmosis System with two (1) one (1) micron filters.

This water is used for all human consumption needs.

___  chemically.  List chemicals used:

Waste water management:

  • septic tanks

___  cesspools

  • other? List methods:

Septic tanks are treated with digestive bacterium that produces enzymes to        help break down and digest contaminants.

Level 3: Water is captured (from springs, rivers, rain or prior use) and constitutes less than 1/3 of water from all sources.  Water is treated chemically.  Water disposal does not minimize damage to coral reefs and rain forests

Level 4:  Captured water constitutes 1/3 to 2/3 of all water.  Water is treated naturally. Water disposal minimizes damage to coral reefs and rain forests

Level 5:  Captured water constitutes more than 2/3 of all water.  Water is treated naturally. Water disposal minimizes damage to coral reefs and rain forests.   In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record water consumption; (2) test and apply additional water conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific water targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Water Level 5 (required).

Your Water Level (select 1 – 5): 5

Eco Rating Chaa Creek Recycling and waste

Check all that apply:

  • use durable service items, e.g. cups, glasses, dishes, tableware, storage items
  • buy fresh and local to reduce packaging and emissions from transportation
  • purchase in bulk to reduce packaging
  • recycle paper, glass, plastic, aluminum
  • minimize emissions from fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines & equipment
  • zero waste in the kitchen
  • serve local water, not bottled water
  • cleaning products are biodegradable
  • compost organic matter

Other methods to recycle waste? Please list.

  • Metal cans & glass are crushed and reused as fill material in concrete building          foundations.
  • Cardboard is reused as ground cover at our organic farm.
  • Food scraps from the kitchen and restaurant are given to a local farm to supplement feeding of his pigs.

Level 1 = four or fewer recycling activities

Level 2 = five recycling activities

Level 3 = six recycling activities

Level 4 = seven recycling activities

Level 5 = eight or more recycling activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record recycling and waste; (2) test and apply additional recycling and waste conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific recycling and waste targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Recycling and Waste Level 5 (required).

Your Recycling and Waste Level (select 1 – 5): 5 

Eco Rating Chaa Creek Land and nature conservation

Check all that apply:

  • minimize tree removal when building
  • use only botanical (plant-based) herbicides & pesticides in garden & grounds
  • maintain organic gardens as food source for resort
  • use biodegradable cleaning products
  • minimize external illumination
  • take additional specific actions to preserve the local habitat.  Please list actions and projects:
  • 365 acres private nature reserve
  • Bay leaf palm reforestation project
  • Planting of native bamboo along river banks to control erosion
  • Participation and monitoring of a Black Howler Monkey Reintroduction Project
  • Participation and facilitation of the “Birds Without Borders” research project studying neo-tropical migratory birds.

Level 1: one or two land and nature conservation activities

Level 2: three land and nature conservation activities

Level 3: four land and nature conservation activities

Level 4: five land and nature conservation activities

Level 5: six or more land and nature conservation activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record land and nature conservation activities; (2) test and apply additional land and nature conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific land and nature conservation targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Land and Nature Conservation Level 5 (required).

Your Land and Nature Conservation Level (select 1 – 5): 5

Eco Rating Chaa Creek Community

This category addresses policies and activities regarding staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the community.

Check all activities that apply:

  • hire staff residing near the resort          100% local nationals
  • use local suppliers                                  90% purchased goods produced locally
  • re-invest resort income locally            100%  income re-invested locally
  • pay above local prevailing wage
  • pay into local social security

___  provide health insurance or coverage

  • use regular staff meetings to educate staff about sustainable processes throughout the resort, in the garden, with waste disposal, etc
  • provide educational awareness programs for staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the local community
  • provide sustainable transport to work for staff
  • take additional specific actions to support the local community. Please list actions and projects.
  • Provide 12 educational scholarships to the children of our staff
  • Provide financial and material support to the Octavia Waight Centre for the Elderly
  • Provide financial and physical support to local sports teams and activities (Western Spirits Cycle Team, La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, several soccer teams)
  • Provide financial and physical support to local community improvement projects (Cristo Rey Village and San Antonio Village schools)
  • Provide financial and physical support to local environmental and conservation groups.
  • Provide on-the-job work experience for many local student education programs.
  • Provide summer camp activities for local youth
  • Provide financial and physical support of local youth organizations (Boy Scouts)
  • Provide financial and physical support to local people experiencing medical and other emergency situations
  • Provide financial and physical assistance to the Belize Police Department and local Neighborhood Watch Crime Prevention Programs

Level 1: one or two community activities

Level 2: three to five community activities

Level 3: six to seven community activities

Level 4: eight to nine community activities

Level 5: ten or more community activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record community activities; (2) test and apply additional methods to support the community; and (3) work towards specific community targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Community Level 5 (required).

Your Community Level (select 1 – 5): 5

YOUR OVERALL ECO SCORE (add your level for each category and divide by 5 and enter the result with the decimal point, e.g. 3.6): 4.6

We have three final questions which are not part of the eco rating: 

  • Please describe your single most important eco achievement:

Becoming the first Green Globe 21 Benchmark tourism business in Belize.

  • Indicate additional sustainable practices that you plan to institute within the next 6 months.

Recycling of plastics

  • Is there anything else you would like to add to this eco rating?