Australia’s first conservation-based luxury resort, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, has now become the first hotel in the world to achieve carbon-neutral certification from an internationally accredited greenhouse gas certification scheme.
carboNZero certification was issued within just three months of the opening of Emirates’ new Dh125-million ($34-million) resort.
Tony Williams, senior vice president, resorts and projects, Emirates Hotels & Resorts, said: “Emirates has built its success upon operating at the highest level of credibility and integrity. When seeking carbon-neutral status, naturally these same standards
applied, which is why we chose a solution that was science-based, third-party verified and aligned with both international best practice and the new Australian legislation.
“We describe Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa as a luxury conservation-based tourist destination and it is essential that we make every possible effort to reflect this. This certification is proof of our commitment to guests, to the environment and to Australia.”
carboNZero certification indicates that the greenhouse gas emissions associated with Wolgan Valley’s operations have been independently measured and verified in accordance with international standards. It also recognises the resort’s commitment to continuously managing and reducing its emissions and neutralising unavoidable emissions through the purchase of a small quantity of verified carbon credits.
The carbon-neutral status for Wolgan Valley was made possible through a combination of initiatives including large-scale environmental rehabilitation programmes, removal of cattle from the property and protection of existing remnant vegetation areas. To date, more than 175,000 indigenous trees have been planted in wildlife corridors and along creek banks on site.
The overall footprint of the resort was already relatively low, due to the application of green building principles in its design and construction, including the use of solar power and heat recovery. The resort even contracted its electricity supplier, Origin Energy, to supply 35 per cent of its power from renewable energy, the maximum amount currently available. Wolgan Valley is also dedicated to sourcing regional food and supplies from within a 100-mile radius, which further reduces the emissions associated with the transportation of these materials – as well as boosting the local economy.
Williams added: “Although it was necessary to buy a small quantity of carbon credits to achieve carbon neutrality for Wolgan Valley, this will only be necessary for the first year or two of operation.
“As we implement further emissions- reduction programmes on site and as re-vegetation areas continue to grow, Wolgan Valley is likely to become completely carbon neutral.
This will occur when newly planted trees mature sufficiently to absorb more carbon dioxide, as well as through continual operational improvements.”
carboNZero certification was issued following a greenhouse gas emissions inventory assessment carried out by Landcare Research New Zealand – one of the world’s leading organisations in the assessment of carbon footprints and forest sinks.
Professor Ann Smith from Landcare Research said: “An integral part of the carboNZero certification process is independent verification and full disclosure of the certification claims. These details have been posted on our website, alongside all other organisations that we have certified. This is a major difference between our certification process and others.”
Wolgan Valley’s greenhouse gas emissions and carbon neutral certification will be assessed and reviewed annually.
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