Clean, Green Investment Pays Off for Spicers Retreats

Three new environmental goals, including 100% zero net emissions from energy

Time to coincide with World Environment Day, next Monday 5 June 2023, Spicers Retreats will release a Sustainability Management Plan with ambitious goals to radically reduce waste, energy emissions and water use.

Spicers Retreats’ environmental goals will include:

  • By 2025: 100% eradication of single-use plastics and no net waste to landfill
  • By 2030: 50% reduction in potable water consumption per guest per night
  • By 2030: 100% zero net emissions from energy

David Assef, Spicers Retreats’ Managing Director says the reason for Spicers Retreat’s sustainability ethos, “Being ‘clean and green’ is as much about good business as it is for the well-being of our environment. Our sustainability goals are about reducing waste and consumption, engaging our staff for the long-term and building up the health of the Spicers properties, which are our livelihood.”

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Guests at Spicers’ properties seek a truly special experience of relaxed luxury in a natural setting and expect that their stay won’t impact the property and environment they enjoy so much. Spicers’ investments in sustainability means they can surpass their guests’ desire for nature’s bounty to be respected and celebrated.

Assef describes how Spicers document progress towards environmental goals: “We now have quarterly reporting of energy and carbon consumption and have assigned new responsibilities to all team members, from the board of directors down.”

Investing in onsite solutions

Over the past two years, Spicers Retreats have achieved some remarkable progress in fulfilling their environmental goals. Significant investments continue to be made in solar and hydrogen power generation, water and power infrastructure, as well as their human capital.

The group’s largest single-site solar array went live at Spicers Hidden Vale in June 2021, with almost 100kw of PV capacity helping to offset the retreat’s energy consumption. The array is one part of Spicers Retreats’ $150k investment in solar panels across their sites in South-East Queensland.

In conjunction with the Queensland Government, Spicers Retreats have been working on a $2m renewable energy project to replace diesel power generators at their off-grid Scenic Rim Trail properties, with renewable hydrogen storage, which is expected to be online by the end of 2024.

Initiatives across the group are driven by Green Hornets – staff members at each site who champion green causes and operational systems. Market gardens and bee hives at many of the properties reduce food miles, Spicers’ participation in the Last Straw campaign saw all plastic straws removed from Spicers sites, and Spicers work with Scouts Australia in a can and bottle recycling partnership.

“We’re achieving our goals by building them into our daily working lives,” Assef explains. “Sustainability is a moving target, so we ensure our people can invest as much time into coordinating their efforts as the company is investing in more efficient infrastructure.”

Spicers Balfour, bee hives

Spicers Retreats have been busy upgrading infrastructure and monitoring for energy efficiency at several properties and a host of water-saving activities, including upgraded wastewater treatment to maximise rainwater use at Spicers Sangoma Retreat in the Blue Mountains; and in the Hunter Valley, irrigation changes to divert run-off to dam for re-use at Spicers Guesthouse, and a wastewater treatment plant upgrade for Spicers Vineyards Estate.

Spicers Hidden Vale - Wildlife Centre

Expanded vision for sustainability

In the past two years, Spicers Retreats have expanded the original Sustainability Management scope with new goals and strengthened reporting and governance requirements. Their new Sustainability Management Plan includes:

  • An energy road map for 2023, which documents the annual performance and expectations for investment projects to reduce Spicers’ net dependence on grid electricity.
  • A water-reduction road map to document and reduce water consumption is being developed in the coming months.
  • New social sustainability initiatives to support and enrich the sites’ local communities.
  • A commitment to introduce a paid day of ‘community service leave’ each year for every team member by the end of 2024, and run an annual charity fundraising event at each site.

Working in partnership with nature

Spicers Retreats are keenly aware of the impacts of a changing climate, and the potential risks at each of their properties, and the sustainability initiatives at each site also increase resilience to unexpected events and utility outages.

Spicers Retreats’ commitment to sustainability is from the ground up. They source seafood from sustainable fisheries, ethically farmed meats, and the produce is always seasonal and sourced locally or grown themselves.

In January 2021 Spicers updated its logo to incorporate the ‘green leaf’ element, reflecting their interdependence on the natural environment and responsibility as custodians of the magnificent Spicers properties for the benefit of future generations.

Spicers Hidden Vale, koala spotting
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