Business With Purpose
Supporting sustainability on a World Heritage island.
Capella Lodge's location on World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island means adhering to a range of stringent operational regulations that inform the licence to operate and reside on the island. This regulatory framework is designed to conserve the island’s spectacular natural beauty and unique ecology. While they add another layer of complexity to balancing environmental stewardship and providing an exceptional guest experience, they also reflect a community-wide commitment to protecting the very things that attract visitors.
“We integrate the World Heritage approach to sustainability with our creation of an exceptional and personal guest experience, through connection with the landscape, wildlife and local community.” James Baillie, Co-Founder of Baillie Lodges.
“We collaborate with the Lord Howe Island Board to inform and implement environmental management policies and programs that sustain the island’s conservation values, as well as following our own additional sustainability guidelines,” explains Baillie Lodges Founder James Baillie.
Sustainability and an exceptional guest experience
“David Attenborough wasn’t exaggerating when he described Lord Howe as ‘so extraordinary, it is almost unbelievable’,” said James Baillie.
“It is such a precious and fragile ecosystem and we’re proud to be able to directly support ongoing sustainability programs and to provide our guests with the reward-ing and rare opportunity to be involved in world-class conservation efforts aimed at preserving this remote paradise.”
Boasting one of Australia’s best and most challenging day hikes (the Mt Gower climb), the world’s southernmost – and pristine – coral reef, huge colonies of rare and migratory nesting birds and with 75 per cent of the island protected as national park, the focus of a visit to Lord Howe is on the natural environment, and Capella Lodge provides a multiple means of access.
Guests are encouraged to join Lord Howe’s resident naturalist and author, Ian Hut-ton to learn about island ecology and the huge flocks of rare and migratory seabirds that visit the island annually.
There are also opportunities to learn about Lord Howe’s marine environment and its conservation through glass bottom boat, snorkelling and scuba diving tours, guided by local experts.
Capella guests can also become directly involved in leading conservation programs on the island through the Lord Howe Island Conservation Volunteers program. Alongside experts from around the world, guests help monitor the island’s unique plant and animal species (including marine species such as the endemic McCul-loch’s anemone fish, found only within the Lord Howe Island Marine Park) and participate directly in efforts to protect the island’s natural environment through weed eradication, surveys and collecting beach debris.
The sustainability focus carries through to the kitchen. Capella’s menu showcases the bounty of the pristine seas surrounding the island, with fresh, line-caught king-fish and tuna delivered to the lodge door by island anglers. Island-grown organic greens and foraged sea herbs complement the seafood and boutique-farmed meats, along with lodge-made specialties. All ingredients not grown or sourced on Lord Howe are sourced from the island’s state of New South Wales.
Design and function
Lord Howe Island has a limit of 400 visitors at one time, designed to minimise impact on the island’s environment and natural resources. Capella has just nine suites, catering to a maximum of 20 guests.
The lodge’s design takes maximum advantage of the island’s mild sub-tropical cli-mate. Shade from endemic kentia palms, shuttered doors, ceiling fans and generous verandahs designed to channel cool breezes mean that the lodge doesn’t require air conditioning. Glazing is angled to capture warmth and light in winter, while keeping the lodge cool in warmer months.
Forty solar panels are positioned discreetly across the roof of the lodge as part of Capella’s - and the island’s - commitment to generate 80 per cent of its power from renewable sources. The system reduces the lodge’s draw on the island’s energy supply (which is wholly generated on the island) and feeds back into the island grid during periods of low energy use. Capella Lodge’s ‘The Sunny Tripower’ system generates 14,100kwh of power each year.
In an ongoing re-vegetation program, the area surrounding the lodge is being planted to prevent erosion, using rare and endemic species such as kentia palms, hopwood, sallywood, melaleuca, juniper, bulli bush, tea tree, berry wood and goat wood.
Supporting the arts community is a key tenet across the Baillie Lodges portfolio. Capella hosted an artist-in-residence program with celebrated Australian artist Joshua Yeldham, who created several artworks as a result of his stay. He pledged the proceeds of the principal work to Cool Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that produced a series of educational modules for primary and secondary school students dedicated to the environment on Lord Howe Island and the visual arts.
Other sustainability initiatives (Our mandatories):
- Capella Lodge uses green energy ethanol to fuel contemporary EcoSmart fires which heat both public areas and in-suite fireplaces. The lodge uses electric buggies to transfer guests around the island, and maintains a fleet of mountain bikes, which are the main source of transport on Lord Howe.
- As part of the 2018 refurbishment, all lights at Capella – in both guest and back of house areas - were fitted with energy saving LED globes.
- Capella captures around 75 per cent of all its water needs in rainwater tanks, with a total storage of 290,000 litres, harvested from the lodge roof.
- An environmentally sensitive onsite sewage treatment plant manages wastewater in line with Lord Howe Island’s strict regulations. Wastewater is captured and treated to a standard that prevents negative impact on the island’s ground water and sensitive marine environment. A new-generation Kubotato system provided by TrueWater Australia provides an even higher standard of treatment.
- The Lord Howe Island Board operates a waste management facility on the island. As there is no landfill capability, all waste that cannot be composted must be transported to the mainland by barge, at significant cost to the small island community. All residents and businesses are responsible for the sorting and delivery of waste to the WMF. There is a strong island culture of re-use, reduce and recycle that sees 86 per cent of the island’s waste diverted from landfill to recycling. Capella places a high priority on recycling, and all organic and recyclable waste is transported to the Board’s world-class Vertical Compost Unit for recycling. The compost generated by the unit is used for island land regeneration and environmental projects.
- Refillable water bottles are provided for guest use on outdoor adventures and there are no single-use drinking straws at the lodge. Guest amenities (shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap and hand cream) in guest suites are presented in refillable vessels.
- Collateral detailing Baillie Lodges initiatives at each lodge as an education piece, highlights to guests they are making a positive contribution to the local environment and community as part of their stay.
To learn more about the Baillie Lodges Sustainable Management Policy, please visit.
To view the Baillie Lodges Company Values, please visit.