Green Heroes: Eleni Andreadis, Sani Resort’s Sustainability Specialist
With their first carbon neutral year last year, Eleni Andreadis of Sani Resort is still on a mission to reduce their environmental impact further to make a green Grecian holiday an easy choice
When was your green lightbulb moment?
I was campaigning for environmental issues from when I was in high school, but I think the real lightbulb moment for me was taking a Sustainable Business class at university 20 years ago. I was reading books such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Capra’s Web of Life, and Korten’s When Corporations Rule the World. They really opened my eyes to how sustainability issues are deeply interconnected and made me aware of the need to approach everything with sustainability as a starting point if we want to live well on this planet.
What green business practices are you most proud of?
I am proud of the Sani Green programme. 2020 was our first carbon-neutral year and as part of our Zero Carbon Footprint initiative, we’re greatly increasing our renewable local energy capacity, while cutting down on carbon emissions. We’re also working towards becoming zero plastic within four years. We’ve reduced single-use plastic by over 80 per cent in the last eight years, switched to 100 per cent green-powered electricity, reduced water use by 48 per cent per guest since 2016, and annually recycle more than 300 tonnes of waste. Over 60 per cent of our produce is from within 100 miles of the resort and we support various biodiversity projects, such as the local Sani Wetlands Project and tree-planting, as well as over 40 organisations, like schools and hospitals, as part of our programme.
What makes you feel positive about a sustainable future?
The mobilisation of youth across the world, commitments and action by an increasing number of companies on these issues, and initiatives such as the EU Green Deal that are finally making the finance world prioritise sustainability. The challenges are huge, but when I need some inspiration, those are the sort of things I look to.
And what are the facts that make you fearful?
The urgency and magnitude of the issues can be overwhelming, especially with regards to the climate crisis. We have a few months until the next UN Climate Change Conference that will define our future on this planet and very little time to get the necessary consensus going. We’ve procrastinated for a very long time and we now find ourselves pretty much out of time. We can do it, but it’s going to be hard and there are no second chances anymore.
Who is your own green hero?
There are so many people that I admire. From grassroots activists that put their lives on the line and organisers like Bill McKibben of 350.org, to the older legends like Jane Goodall and David Attenborough. Relentless perseverance in the face of adversity is probably what defines them all and a fight against all odds. I greatly admire the courage needed for that.
What are the biggest challenges in running a sustainable business?
Probably making long-term plans and goals when life throws things like a global pandemic your way! Globally, a large issue – as Bill Gates called it in his latest book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster – is the ‘Green Premium’, defined as the difference in cost between a product that involves emitting carbon and an alternative that doesn’t. Often, companies need to make that big leap of investment in areas where those Green Premiums are high, and in an uncertain business environment, this can be particularly challenging.
What advice can you give to other businesses who are wanting to do better?
Placing sustainability at the heart of everyday business, as well as a starting point for longer-term targets and plans is critical. Joining a credible sustainability initiative or certification can also be very helpful in setting out a road map, as well as providing knowledge on what other companies are doing that one can learn from.
Three things we should all, as individuals, be doing to help in the climate change fight?
- Eat less meat.
- Switch to a green energy provider.
- Demand change from our representatives and the companies we choose to buy from.
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