Business With Purpose
Ultimate Luxury Underpinned by Environmental Sustainability
“Each pavilion is situated to capture the most idyllic views of the ocean, and the colours and textures of the natural landscape are echoed in the lodge’s design,” explains Scott Ratcliffe, General Manager of qualia.
qualia sits at the northernmost tip of Hamilton Island, the largest inhabited island in the Whitsunday Islands, surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Protecting the island’s natural environment and the Reef itself is fundamental to the island’s operations.
“The best way to truly understand why the Barrier Reef needs protecting is to experience it first-hand. We offer our guests exclusive and unforgettable experiences designed to inspire curiosity and an understanding of how precious the Reef really is.”
First-hand Experience of the Reef’s Wonders
“The best way to truly understand why the Barrier Reef needs protecting is to experience it first-hand. Guests have numerous opportunities to explore the island, nearby beaches such as Whitehaven – dubbed the world’s most beautiful beach – and some of the 3000 coral reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef” says Scott Ratcliffe, General Manager of qualia.
There are over a dozen marked walking trails on the island and a variety of snorkelling, glass bottom boat and SCUBA diving trips are on offer, where guests can learn from expert guides about the area’s extraordinary biodiversity and the challenges it faces environmentally.
Various marine operators in the area operate a program known as Eye on the Reef. This is a program that incorporates surveys and monitoring by everyday people including Hamilton Island and qualia guests. Daily information gathered through this program, informs the conservation efforts of GBRMPA (the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority).
On-going Investment in Sustainability
“We are committed to achieving the highest standards of environmental sustainability across the island’s operations, and we are continually working to reduce our environmental footprint,” says Andy Trigg, General Manager of Engineering and Services.
“In early 2020, we were fortunate to be a part-recipient of the Great Barrier Reef Islands Resort Rejuvenation Fund. These funds were dedicated to a substantial upgrade of our sewerage and water treatment plants. Improvements to our water production process will dramatically reduce our overall energy consumption and allow us to be self-sufficient and resilient in extreme weather events. In addition we were able to complete the purchase and install of seven liquid composters designed to compost the majority of the island’s organic food waste.”
The island’s sewerage facility treats approximately one million litres per day, producing ‘A’ class grey water. The liquid composters also convert food waste to grey water. With the 7 composters, up to 657 ton of organic food waste will be diverted from landfill each year which equates to 2,844t Co2 saved per year. The grey water is used for irrigation of the island’s parks and gardens.
There are also island-wide Erosion and Sediment Control Measures in place such as rocky reed bed swale drains, silt traps, GPTs and promotion of natural vegetation around water courses to minimise run off stop organic matter draining into local marine habitats.
Other Sustainability Initiatives (Our Mandatories):
Energy efficiency is crucial, with many island-wide energy saving measures in place. This was the major driving force behind moving to electric buggies and electric transport vehicles some years ago. Low wattage lighting and energy saving devices are installed in all hotels and most private residences.
Recycling has seen an overall, year on year reduction of 25 per cent of general waste. In a normal year, staff on the island collect and bale over one tonne of separated recyclables every day, which results in diverting over 400 tonnes of cardboard from landfill every year.
Any items that have reached their end of life are recovered for recycling such as TV’s and computer equipment, household and buggy batteries. Even old mattresses are stripped into their component parts for recycling by a local social enterprise company based in Mackay.
“By continuing to engage all areas of the business and island community we have seen significant gains in our resource recovery rate, leading to our 25% reduction of general waste per year, since 2017” says Andy Trigg
Single use plastic cutlery, straws, food storage containers were removed from the resort pre-COVID. Over the last year, the resort has had to re-introduce some of these, but this will be phased out again as soon as is practicable and safe to do so.
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