Our Commitments

OUR COMMITMENTS

We are mindful of the impact of our industry. Within it, at our level, we are working to make a tangible contribution to a more respectful, resilient, and fair economy, aligning with our values and beliefs.  

To further advance our positive impact on society and the environment, we are activating all available levers to take action and unite diverse audiences around our vision of ‘the hotel industry of tomorrow’. From the outset, we have gone beyond the framework of European Union regulations. 

We are committed to a sustainable CSR approach that was officially recognised in 2022. Emerald Stay then became the very first company in the sector in Europe to be certified as a B-Corp, joining a global community dedicated to systemic change in the world we live in. 

B-Lab, the non-profit organisation providing this certification, is international and independent. Based on precise criteria, it certifies companies that adopt a responsible business model and integrate the positive impact dimension into their performance. The assessment is re-validated every three years. 

Our detailed score can be found here.

We particularly acknowledge our environmental responsibilities, and voluntarily focus on local European destinations. Every year, we scrutinise our carbon footprint and strive to reduce our emissions as much as possible without compromising our development. It's a delicate balance we find essential because, without the impetus of economic players, we can rarely get things moving. Finally, we offset our incompressible emissions by making a carbon contribution; to this end, we have been supporting Sadhana Forest since 2019.

Focus on the project in Haiti with Sadhana Forest

Laure Pouchelon, Sadhana Forest

Laure Pouchelon
Sadhana Forest

Maxime Friess, Emerald Stay

Maxime Friess
Emerald Stay

@Maxime

Emerald Stay has been supporting Sadhana Forest for 4 years. What initially motivated your approach?

I’ve always been interested in CSR issues. This interest grew and was translated into action during Covid, thanks in particular to the training provided by La Fresque du Climat and Jean-Marc Jancovics online course at the École des Mines. I was determined that this entrepreneurial adventure should have a strong social and environmental responsibility component. However, being aware of the complexity of the subject, I wanted to surround myself with experts who had both theoretical and practical knowledge, which is what I found in Laure from our very first discussions.

@Laure

What is the mission of Sadhana Forest?

Founded in 2003, Sadhana Forest is an organisation that runs projects to plant forests and restore degraded ecosystems in India, Haiti, Kenya and Namibia. The aim is to combat desertification, restore native biodiversity and make a lasting contribution to local self-sufficiency in quality food. Each year, we host thousands of local and international volunteers and train them in innovative techniques and traditional know-how. We also work with many academic partners to contribute to research and scientific advances in the field of reforestation.

@Maxime

Why did you choose this association ?

My partner and I had decided to focus on direct financing of practical projects. Having previously worked for an international company specialising in the financing of carbon projects, Laure had built up a hands-on experience of several hundred project developers. This was precisely what we were looking for.

I then discovered what Aviram had been doing for 20 years with Sadhana Forest. His visionary yet pragmatic approach, anchored in the times, on the ground and over the long term, fascinated me, but also challenged me as an entrepreneur. Prestigious American universities send him students to analyse his unique method, and he is supported by the UN and the World Bank. The Sadhana Forest teams do more than "just" plant trees; they are pioneers in what is known as "natural regeneration", which recognises that the soil plays just as important a role as a carbon sink as the trees themselves, and which aims to regenerate the natural environment to increase the capture effects. Finally, the fact that the species planted are local, nourishing, help to capture carbon and also promote the population's self-sufficiency in food, finally convinced us.

@Laure

Can you tell us more about natural regeneration?

Sadhana Forest operates in arid regions, making it imperative that tree planting is combined with soil and water conservation practices. Implementing sustainable rainwater management, always adapted to the local context, mitigates erosion and recharges the water table. It increases soil moisture levels, fostering tree growth and health. Moreover, the water-efficient irrigation methods we use minimise water evaporation and soil salination.

The retention of water in the soil of these particularly arid areas attracts birds and mammals from nearby and distant locations. They carry seeds with them, which they leave to germinate in the soil. This leads to a natural regeneration of the ecosystem. As vegetation starts to flourish, other animals show up, introducing even more seeds into the environment, perpetuating the cycle. In this way, new trees emerge, extending the impact and benefits of the project far beyond the initially planted trees.

@Maxime

How does this partnership fit in with your environmental approach?

In this approach, our motto remains “measure, reduce, contribute”. That’s why we are committed to generating an accurate greenhouse gas balance sheet for all our activities. We have developed a model to calculate our emissions at three levels of scope, following the guidelines set out in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. We extend our efforts to include the carbon impact associated with the construction of the properties we manage, even if we do not directly own them.

We then aim to reduce any emissions wherever possible. For example, we work with an association that recycles soap, and we equip our adapted properties with intelligent technology to control temperature and avoid unnecessary journeys (Nuki Smart Lock). We have also chosen LEED GOLD offices for our headquarters, which are very rare in Barcelona. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a globally- recognised certification system for buildings of high environmental quality.

Finally, our final footprint is translated into a 'carbon contribution' budget that we pay to Sadhana Forest at the end of each year. 

@Laure

What are the best practices for maximising the impact of a reforestation project?

In addition to the criteria mentioned above, such as the proportion of indigenous trees planted in the forest area, the diversity of tree species, and soil and water conservation practices, the impact will be greatest if the project has been designed with local people, through a participatory process that includes the exchange of technical and indigenous knowledge.

Furthermore, plant protection, monitoring, and long-term maintenance work are essential. Our on-site teams consistently ensure the protection, growth and upkeep of the trees. The impact of a reforestation project will also be maximised if most of the budget is spent on planting trees and restoring forest ecosystems. In our view, it is key that management and overheads only account for a minority of expenditure, so that the majority of funds can be used to implement actions on the ground.

@Maxime

What specific project have you decided to finance and why?

I have a personal history with Haiti, I am well acquainted with the reality of the country, I've been there several times. I particularly admire the association's long-term vision and resilience – being the only one that has consistently stayed and worked tirelessly for years, despite facing natural disasters and political challenges. When Sadhana Forest suggested that I fund this project, which holds both environmental and social significance, the decision was an obvious choice. 

@Laure

Can you tell us more about the objectives of this project and its impact?

Haiti is among the countries most severely affected by deforestation and contends  chronic instability. The population faces challenges with an often inadequate and poor-quality nutritional diet.  

Our project is based in the town of Anse-à-Pitres, in the south-east of the country. Since 2010, Sadhana Forest Haiti has been working to help local people become food self-sufficient while simultaneously restoring forest ecosystems for the long term. We involve local people in planting indigenous, nutritious trees that are particularly well-suited to the region's fine, degraded soils and difficult climatic conditions.

With the aim of sharing knowledge with as many people as possible, our association also offers free courses tailored to the specific needs of communities. For instance, we have provided training to many local farmers for teaching permaculture, and they, in turn, have trained 7,000 people already!

@Maxime

What visibility do you have of the project development?

Laure and the team regularly update us on the progress of the project's progress, and we are delighted to see it grow from year to year, as does Sadhana Forest in the broadest sense. We remain impressed and sensitive to what they are achieving for the benefit of our planet and many human beings.

@Laure

In conclusion...

We believe that transparency and openness are crucial for the development and sustainability of our projects. Sadhana Forest plantation sites are freely accessible to both our partners and the general public.

We invite anyone interested in learning more about the challenges of reforestation to come and witness our practices and Nature-Based Solutions firsthand.

Sadhana Forest - Plantation in Haiti

Our other 4 levers, directly linked to the business

Quality of life at work

Within the company, we pay particular attention to the working conditions of each and every employee, whether on a permanent or seasonal contract, at the head office or in our destinations. While the hotel industry is heavily affected by the phenomenon of undeclared work, at Emerald Stay everyone is declared and benefits from social protection. The company was awarded the Great Place to Work label at the end of 2022 - employee perception being the 1st award criterion - and the HappyAtWork (ChooseMyCompany®) accreditation.

Sadhana Forest - Plantation in Haiti

Amenities and recycling

We offer our guests environmentally friendly hygiene and beauty products. Containing ingredients of natural and artisanal origin, they are mostly proposed in solid form and packaged in recycled cardboard (DAMANA®, etc.).

To avoid waste and contribute to a more circular economy, we are a partner of UNISOAP, the 1st French association based in Lyon, which recycles hotel soaps in an ESAT before distributing them to people in need.

Cyclura cornuta, a reptile species in Haiti

Technology at the service of decarbonation

Most of our properties are now equipped with a connected lock. In the world of smart   homes, Nuki smart lock stands out as a safe bet. The device turns a smartphone into a key. There's no more physical hand-delivery, the front door can be locked and unlocked remotely, which eliminates the need for frequent car journeys by local teams.

We also recommend to our owner-partners that they consider installing a home automation system if their villa allows it, enabling better control of indoor temperature or automated shutdown of the air conditioning. In addition, guests are also encouraged in written communication to take care of resources (such as lighting and towel usage).  

Sadhana Forest in Haiti -
Maya walnut (Brosimum alicastrum)
seedlings

Socio-economic roots and direct impact in our destinations

We maintain a continuous physical presence in our destinations and, in all our operations,  exclusively collaborate with professionals already on site. They don't need to travel and possess an authentic knowledge of the area that they convey to clients. At times, we even invest in the local community life, such as in Morzine, our historic birthplace, where we sponsor the SCMVA football club. 

Escape

Flourish

Each Emerald Stay property—a slopeside Alpine chalet, beachfront Mallorcan villa, historic Catalan finca, or secluded Marrakech riad—has its own sense of place and connection with the locals.

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