Club Med is Happy To Care about its Sustainability Journey

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day, Club Med shares its progress on sowing the seeds of Responsible Tourism across East, South Asia and Pacific

Since its founding in 1950, sustainability has always been an integral part of the Club Med DNA. Being the pioneer of premium, all-inclusive vacations, Club Med has forged a strong belief that moments of happiness offered to guests cannot be experienced at the expense of others or of nature. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day on 5 June 2023, Club Med shares its role as a catalyst in promoting sustainable tourism to reduce environmental impact and increase social impact with Green Week happening in June.

This will be a week-long showcase of Club Med’s trailblazing green initiatives in various Resorts across East, South Asia and Pacific, with daily demonstrations of its efforts towards a more sustainable future based on a specific environmental topic. Examples of such topics include plastics, biodiversity, solidarity, local culture and food waste to name a few. With regards to plastics, the showcase will feature beach and mountain clean-ups across Club Med’s sun and snow resorts worldwide as well as Mini Clean-ups by young guests as part of the kids club activities. To promote biodiversity, activities unique to each resort will be unveiled, including worldwide snack initiative, local cooking demonstration class, creating bird feeders with fruit shell, coral clay workshop in Club Med Bali and marine biologist conference in Club Med Kani as well as an upcycling fashion show in Club Med Phuket.

From the creation of Club Med Foundation in 1979 and the first Sustainable Development Department in 2005, to the merger of Sustainable Development Department and Club Med Foundation to form the Sustainable Development and Philanthropy Department in 2014, the programme has since evolved into Happy to Care in 2019, reflecting Club Med’s longstanding commitment towards sustainable tourism. The programme is founded upon three key pillars: environmental stewardship to protect the exceptional natural environments its resorts reside in, to create a long-lasting and positive impact in communities that Club Med operates in, and to provide guests with meaningful and sustainable vacation experiences.

“Sustainability has always been a key strategic pillar of the Club Med brand values. We believe that we have an innate responsibility to respect the communities and natural environment in which our resorts are located in,” said Rachael Harding, Chief Executive Officer of Club Med in East, South Asia and Pacific markets. “We aim to strengthen this vision as we progress further, deepen sentiments for more socially-conscious decisions across every aspect of our business and ignite a collective spark amongst guests, employees and partners to embrace Club Med’s commitment towards global sustainable tourism.”

Expert in Dream Locations, Conscious of its Fragility In prioritising the harmonious integration of its resorts with the natural beauty of its surroundings, Club Med strives to keep these exceptional locations as untouched as possible. The built-up surfaces across all Club Med resorts cover less than 10 per cent of total site surfaces, which allow guests to enjoy their well-deserved holidays in spectacularly well-preserved destinations.

Club Med’s commitment to sustainable tourism is built on solid foundations

Club Med’s ability to drive progress within its sphere of influence is becoming a key element in the success of its environmental policy both during construction and operation, where its aim is to obtain 100% eco-certification of new resorts under construction and day-to-day operations in all resorts.

Routine incorporation of an eco-friendly approach and the implementation and adherence to strict standards in construction projects is key to Club Med’s environmental policy. The first Club Med BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) resort eco-construction standard was established in 2017 to ensure that all new-built resorts or large-scale renovations by the Group are eco-certified and comply with Club Med construction eco-standards.

In Asia Pacific, Club Med will open their first large-scale sustainably built BREEAM-certified beach resort – Club Med Borneo in Malaysia by end 2024. A premium all-inclusive Club Med resort with a Club Med Exclusive Collection space, Club Med Borneo will offer a pristine paradise where virgin jungle meets idyllic powdery white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. This resort is Club Med’s second resort in Malaysia, after Club Med Cherating Beach, also a getaway in nature located in Pahang.

Holidays at Club Med are Green Globe certified for sustainable stays. As part of its commitment towards responsible travel, 100 per cent of Club Med resorts have been awarded the Green Globe certification for sustainable tourism since 2021. This is the world’s highest and most thoroughly tested standard of responsible tourism where certified properties are reviewed twice annually based on over 350 criteria, to ensure that they possess demanding levels of sustainability across all aspects, from training and recruitment to food and energy wastage, resort construction and biodiversity preservation as well as the preservation of local cultures in nearby communities. In enhancing its water conversation efforts, 100 per cent of water at Club Med resorts are treated and mostly recycled, 90 per cent of the resorts have implemented water reducers and 47 per cent have implemented drip irrigation systems.

Game-changing Eco-Commitments

The efforts to preserve nature take place beyond the facade of their properties, Club Med has evolved and expanded its eco-commitments aimed at reducing environmental impact and promoting sustainable operations. These include:

  • Food Waste Reduction: Monitoring and combatting food waste is an important initiative in Club Med. The vast experience in buffet management coupled with the deployment of the Winnow solution, a smart bin technology enables teams to measure and limit food waste, since 2017 helps Club Med resorts to control the production of food waste per day. In addition to the actions taken to reduce food waste, a poster for raising customer awareness are placed at main restaurant entrances in Green Globe certified resort.
  • Promoting Animal Welfare: With help from specialists, Club Med has been committed for several years to developing its best practices, in accordance with its values. Almost 70 per cent of these resort surface areas are situated on or adjacent to protected areas, which has prompted Club Med to partner with local environment associations to conserve the distinct biodiversity over 20 resorts worldwide. Club Med also offers sea cetaceans observation sessions in support of the World Cetacean Alliance.
  • Cultivating environmental awareness: The exceptional sites in which the villages are located are the perfect place to draw guests’ attention to environmental issues and Club Med believes in its responsibility to raise awareness of the fragility and beauty of nature, the environmental issues faced by its destinations and also encourage guests to get involved in environmental preservation. To ensure that Club Med’s eco-initiatives are effectively championed in every resort, over 15,000 G.Os (Gentils Organisateurs) are trained annually on sustainability and how to assist in the preservation of resort environments by raising this awareness amongst guests. Additionally, there also are real experts on biodiversity and sustainability based in the resorts, including a “Green G.O” at Club Med Cherating Beach and a marine biologist at Club Med Kani to share eco-attitudes with the little ones.
  • Preserving local cultures: Club Med Resorts are steeped in local culture, as can be seen from their architecture, interior design, vegetation, cuisine and in numerous other aspects too. The programmes and activities offered also reflect local influences, frequently through lessons in dance, cooking and languages, as well as lectures on the host country. Most Resorts also organise weekly evenings, full days or events dedicated to celebrating the culture of the host country or region.

Bye Bye Plastics: A programme launched in 2018 to reduce then ban single-use plastics across Club Med’s bars, restaurants and guestrooms by 2024. This involved replacing plastic water rooms with sustainable alternatives, promoting recycling and water reduction practices.

Pioneer in Tourism, Accelerator of Local Development

The Club Med Foundation
Celebrating its 45th Anniversary this year, the Club Med Foundation is one of the very first corporate foundations ever created in 1978. The Foundation mobilises Club Med’s teams and resources to participate in solidarity actions around its resorts and offices. It works to support vulnerable children and protect the environment, with access to education and recreation for all, as well as the protection of biodiversity as its priority areas.

Enabling access to education and recreation for all
Within the resorts, the Foundation identifies key partners and supports them by mobilizing all of Club Med’s resources, including welcoming children from local community to utilise the Sports Schools on a weekly basis in the resorts under the supervision of the G.Os to learn sports. The objective is to get as many young people as possible to experience a rewarding, challenging, educational and recreational time together, while also providing a training course in the role of a G.O for the more motivated young people.

Another initiative by the Foundation is the Worldwide Snack, which invites children from the neighbouring associations and schools to each resort for specially organised bazaars, sporting and artistic activities and banquet buffets for unforgettable joyful moment.
Protection of biodiversity

Club Med implements practices that preserve biodiversity and engages with partners that prioritise environmental conservation in their operations. These include:

  • The Green Farmers Programme: As part of Club Med’s commitment to support viable and sustainable agriculture of locally and ethically sourced products, Club Med has partnered with AGRISUD for more than a decade and with more than 400 ecological farms under the Green Farmers program worldwide. This programme is aimed at supporting the creation of viable and sustainable micro agricultural businesses near Club Med resorts, where close to 500 small farms are trained in the principles of environmentally friendly agriculture and supported in the economic management of their production.
  • Bleu Marine: Club Med pledges to combat plastic pollution in the Mediterranean Sea with Expédition MED, where all Club Med GOs are given the opportunity to take a week of solidarity leave to voluntarily participate in scientific research missions aboard the expedition boat and protect cetaceans with World Cetacean Alliance through its participation and funding of drafting the first international guidelines for “the supervision of cetacean-watching and interaction activities in the wild” in 2018-2019.
  • Green Keepers: Club Med has formed partnerships with local biodiversity protection associations in over 20 resorts, where the G.Ms can actively support the actions by simply making a donation which are entirely distributed to the selected projects and NGOs. Some of these projects include Oceans for All at Club Med Phuket for guests to learn about marine wildlife conservation and support the Bamboo Shark nursery and breeding programme, Turtle Conservation Society at Club Med Cherating dedicated to the conservation of freshwater turtles in Malaysia and Expédition MED in the Mediterranean Sea.

Contributing actively to local development

The presence of a Club Med resort has economic and social impacts on the host region. Club Med is committed to not contenting itself with observing the positive impacts, but rather to maximising and developing them through local employment; developing the employability of local workers; local responsible purchasing; the prevention of counterfeiting; and the transfer of know-how and innovation.

A Responsible Employer, Committed to Offering Life-Changing Experiences

Club Med prioritises the wellbeing and growth of its employees. Much more than just a job, every Club Med G.Os and G.Es get to enjoy enriching experiences from a rich and varied career path, and professional and geographic mobility.

Developing skill and employability is essential at Club Med because it is one of the key pillars of its attractiveness as an employer. The University of Talents by Club Med was set up in 2006 and its role goes far beyond training as it is designed to nurture and enhance the skills, knowledge and potential of every Club Med G.O. The university offers a range of education initiatives and programs related to the life experience offered by Club Med spanning from hospitality, customer service, leadership to sales, marketing and specialised industry expertise. In doing so, it cultivates a supportive and inclusive work environment that promotes professional development and personal fulfilment by enabling diversity and equal opportunities.

The international success of Club Med and the mobility of the G.Os allow teams to be formed with members who live and work together from varying backgrounds and cultures. As such, the hiring diversity for G.Os and G.Es reflected today, for example, by the number of different nationalities represented in each village: 109 nationalities represented; 90% of Club Med villages have 9 or more nationalities among their employees; 1/3 of villages have 10 or more nationalities among employees.

Club Med also reiterates its commitment to integrating people with disabilities into its workforce. Since 2007, Club Med hired more than 400 individuals with disabilities, making over 300 adjustments to our working environments, and ran 1800 hours of training sessions to raise awareness on disability since 2014. By investing in the continuous development of its workforce, Club Med aims to cultivate a harmonious ecosystem where individuals thrive, foster a culture of excellence and reinforce its commitment towards providing life-changing experiences both guest and employee alike.

Club Med’s responsible vision extends far beyond Green Week, encompassing every facet of its operations and as a testament to an enduring dedication towards our planet’s preservation. Over the years, Club Med has assumed the accountability for the natural beauty and cultural heritage its over 70 resorts are surrounded in and it has strived for a harmonious coexistence between tourism and the environment. Club Med’s commitment not only ensures the long-term viability of the dreamy locations its resorts reside in, it also fosters a positive social-economic impact in empowering and supporting local communities that call these places home.

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