Business With Purpose
Conserving and Connecting with Tasmania’s Unique Environment.
Saffire Freycinet was designed and built on a framework of sustainability principles that underpin every aspect of the Lodge’s architecture, daily operations, supply chain and guest experience. From the beginning, the Saffire development sought to “protect healthy sites and heal damaged sites”.
Place + Planet
“We’ve now taken that commitment to another level with our Place + Planet program, which sets ambitious goals in the areas of social and environmental responsibility. We are looking at ways to harness the goodwill of our guests to scale our impact, support local causes and create a deeper connection with our property and our local community,” says Ross Boobyer, Saffire Freycinet’s General Manager.
Previously a caravan park and backpacker accommodation, the land where Saffire Freycinet now sits had become degraded and eroded. Today, the lodge occupies just a small portion of the original cleared area and the remainder has undergone intensive rehabilitation and revegetation with over 30,000 native plants. The design aimed to restore the landscape and native ecosystems to their former natural state.
Local designers, artisans and suppliers were employed wherever possible in the construction. Designed by award-winning Tasmanian architect Robert Morris Nunn and associates Circa Architecture, the buildings are conceptually organic, reflecting the surrounding environment.
Consideration was given to bushfire management, collection and conservation of rainwater, minimal use of night lighting of landscaped areas, construction management and the long-term maintenance of the site.
“The architecture and landscaping form our guests’ first impression of Saffire, and immediately connect them to the magnificent surroundings of the Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay. That initial connection is a segue into a deeper experience of the raw beauty and character of Tasmania that we hope will inspire guests to share our ethos of ‘think globally, act locally’,” says Ross Boobyer.
“We aim to inspire guests by drawing them in to an intimate exchange with the essence of Tasmania; by providing a unique and authentic perspective of raw beauty and character and an immersive connection to the magnificent surrounding environment.”
Deep and Diverse Connection to Place
Guests are encouraged to gain a deeper understanding of Saffire’s ‘eat local’ philosophy and supply chain during their stay. Opportunities include donning a full-body apiarist suit to see, up-close, how Saffire’s home-grown honey is produced; or stepping into a pair of waders on a local oyster farm to taste prized Pacific oysters while learning about wetland and marine ecology.
Saffire’s Aboriginal guide, Mick Quilliam leads coastal strolls that uncover the history of the Oyster Bay Indigenous people and the complexity and richness of the local flora and fauna. Guests can sample bush tucker, learn about foraging tools and gain their own appreciation of connecting to the land.
The magical settings, the freshest of produce and the enjoyment of being immersed in the methods and stories of the oldest Tasmanians is compelling motivation to conserve this very special corner of the planet.
The theme of ‘connection to place’ also manifests in Saffire’s menu. Saffire Freycinet sources produce from local East Coast providers and growers such as the Fisher family at Freycinet Marine Farm and Claudio Radenti at Freycinet Vineyard, who have won national acclaim. These suppliers are key to Saffire’s goals of culinary excellence and sourcing over 85 per cent of its produce from Tasmanian suppliers.
Helping Save the Tasmanian Devil
One of Saffire’s most significant sustainability initiatives is the establishment of an on-site, one-hectare, free-range enclosure that provides sanctuary – and a ‘luxury retirement home’ – for endangered Tasmanian Devils.
Tasmanian Devils are the world’s largest marsupial carnivore and are found only in Tasmania. They are now on the IUCN Red List of endangered species due to a rare form of contagious cancer (Devil Facial Tumour Disease) that has decimated the population and resulted in devil sightings dropping by 95 per cent in the north-east of Tasmania, where Saffire Freycinet is located.
The enclosure accommodates mature devils that have been ‘retired’ from the Tasmanian Government’s captive breeding program. It provides the animals with a safe environment and frees up space for more breeding devils within government facilities.
Saffire Freycinet, together with guests, has raised over $125,000 for Tasmanian Devil Research. It is a major sponsor of Wildcare’s Devil Fund, which provides funding support for the Menzies Institute of Medical Research in Hobart. The Institute is researching a vaccine for DFTD, a disease which nearly caused the extinction of Tasmanian devils in 2014.
The funding has helped maintain a captive breeding program in Hobart; the reintroduction of over 100 healthy devils into the wild; field research and sampling; and the international publication of immunology research.
The Saffire devil enclosure also enables Saffire guests the rare opportunity to see Tasmanian devils in a natural setting, with guided tours and daily feeding. Guests are invited to ‘adopt a devil’, and to receive quarterly updates on the devil’s health, as well as news of the advances in research that will ensure their ongoing survival.
“We aim to inspire guests by drawing them in to an intimate exchange with the ‘devils’, the essence of Tasmania; by providing a unique and authentic perspective of raw beauty and character and an immersive connection to the magnificent surrounding environment.”
Other sustainability initiatives (Our Mandatories):
Under its Place+Planet program, Saffire Freycinet has implemented a reporting system which monitors the business’s impact on Community, People, Earth and Prosperity (quadruple bottom line). The program covers every facet of the Lodge’s operation from a sustainability perspective.
- Saffire has eliminated almost all single-use plastic, including plastic straws and aims to be single-use-plastic-free by 2021.
- Guest amenities, including all bathroom products, are housed in refillable containers. This saves an estimated 586L of wasted product and seven single-use plastic bottles per room, per stay.
- Plastic bottles have been replaced with reusable bottles for guest excursions and on turn-down in rooms, saving 21,000 single-use plastic bottles per year.
- Recycling and environmentally-friendly product programs are in place, including using plant-based and biodegradable cleaning products and coffee cups. Compostable coffee pods are used in suites, saving 5000 going to landfill each year, while printer cartridges are recycled locally for building roads. Kitchen waste is recycled as compost and used in the on-site vegetable garden.
- Hydro powers the entire Saffire site.
- Saffire team members support at least one not-for-profit cause each month through financial and/or skills assistance, contributing over $50,000 in-kind per annum to programs aligned with the company’s Place+Planet program.
- Efforts to minimise energy requirements include:
- Insulation and double glazing on windows
- Highly energy-efficient hot water system
- LED lighting
- Natural cycle air flow systems
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