How to involve staff in sustainability efforts? The 2017 NatGeo World Legacy Awards winners share their tips


As part of our recent interview series with the National Geographic World Legacy Awards 2017 winners and finalists, we asked them:

How do you make sure your staff care about your efforts and support them?

This post gathers the key lessons learned from the winners: Cayuga Collection from Costa Rica, Slovenia Tourist Board, The North Island Seychelles, The City of Santa Fe and The Lodge at Chaa Creek.

Cayuga Collection Hans PfisterHans Pfister, Cayuga Collection: We hire the right people. It is not about skills, but about attitude. If you are a caring and responsible person, buying into the Cayuga philosophy is easy. It comes naturally. If they don’t buy into the Cayuga Way of doing sustainability, they will probably not make it too long with us. We also do a lot of training. When the staff first starts as well as ongoing on the job or in seminars. We do a lot of cross training at the different Cayuga properties but also with lodges in other parts of the world.

Chaa Creek Mick and Lucy FlemmingLucy Flemming, Chaa Creek: As with our guests, we have been heartened to see how enthusiastically staff respond to these efforts, and how eager they are to participate and contribute to them. We foster staff involvement, and reward it with recognition and support. Environmental sustainability and social inclusiveness are featured in all of our staff and managers meetings, and we communicate every award and recognition we receive.

Again, our staff members take pride in working for a business acknowledged for contributing to the environmental and social betterment of Belize, and we are all proud of being recognised by National Geographic and ITB.

Santa Fe Randy RandallRandy Randall, Tourism Santa Fe: We do not have to ensure our staff cares about our efforts because they are actively engaged partners of their city. Santa Fe has been called The City Different for over a hundred years because of its centuries of unique multiculturalism and spirited dedication to preserving all traditional elements of its culture while at the same time embracing new and progressive ideas in arts and sustainability. This is something for which essentially all Santa Feans, not only tourism staff, feel a caretaker’s obligation.

A notable characteristic of Santa Feans is their eagerness to share their treasures with visitors. The singular story of our Native and Spanish peoples, and the Anglos who followed, and the quality of the city’s artistic, spiritual and sustainable traditions is something that excites and inspires visitors deeply. One could say that the citizens of Santa Fe are the story and the storytellers.

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Slovenia Tourism Board Maja PakMaja Pak, Slovenian Tourist Board: Six years ago, STB applied for the Green Office certificate. We wanted to be green ourselves, as an organisation and to leave the minimum carbon footprint when promoting Slovenia.

Greenness is part of our organisation’s mission and the mission of the employees as individuals. We are, as an organisation, growing the culture of sustainable behaviour within the organisation and within the industry.

It was important for employees to see positive reaction of the media and our partners to our green policy.

North Island Bruce SimpsonBruce Simpson, North Island: We have ongoing educational sessions with the staff, engage them in the implementation of the projects, and most importantly we live and operate by our values and though these various initiatives to drive our concept and vision.


To see how other winning organisations involve staff in sustainability efforts, check our interviews with NatGeo World Legacy Awards winners and finalists.

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