Little Cayman's Southern Cross Club Recognized for Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship03 July 2013, 8:00 AM
The Southern Cross Club, Little Cayman's original resort, is a proud recipient of the inaugural Cayman Islands Environmental Project for the Tourism Sector (CEPTS) Award handed out at the prestigious 10th annual Cayman Tourism Stingray Awards on Tuesday, June 26, 2013 at the Ritz-Carton Grand Cayman. This award recognizes the resort's good stewardship of the environment and honors its ongoing commitment to preserving it. Hosted by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA), the evening celebrates excellence in Cayman's tourism industry. The Stingray Award is the highest honor bestowed by CITA on organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Cayman tourism. Southern Cross Club General Manger Jennifer Mills was among the nominees for Accommodation Manager of the Year and club manager Neil van Neikerk was nominated for the Long Service Award.
"We are all thrilled at Southern Cross to receive our Stingray Award - this is the highest honor any Individual or operator can aspire towards in the Cayman Islands, within tourism," says Jennifer Mills. "The introduction of the CEPTS award this year is an innovative addition and a symbol of commitment to developing sustainability, so we are very proud to be recognized by CITA."
The CEPTS project is a groundbreaking joint venture between the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and Department of Environment that encourages local businesses to develop sustainability policies and become Green Globe certified. Green Globe is the global certification for sustainable tourism, and the organization provides a framework for sustainable tourism and improved community interactions. Members adopt practices that save energy and water resources, reduce operational costs, and positively contribute to local communities and environment.
In 2008 when the Department of Tourism first approached the Southern Cross Club about participating in the project, management jumped on board because conservation has always been part of the resort's culture. Owner Pete Hillenbrand is an avid conservationist who realizes the important role the resort has in protecting and enhancing Little Cayman's environment. Solar panels were installed in 2004, and energy-efficient toilets and air conditioners in the guest units followed. The resort's current "best practices" include closely monitoring water use, electricity use, and waste. Staff members are also careful to turn fans off when not needed, reuse printer paper and use energy efficient light bulbs. Mills says they are all aware that these seemingly small things actually make a huge different on a small island.
"Little Cayman is a unique blend of elegance and rusticity that is rich in biodiversity, a very special place that all of us at Southern Cross Club, and Pete himself, are proud to call home," she says. "It is vital to all of us to ensure the preservation and enhancement of the marine and terrestrial environments for the use of our guests, residents of the island and future generations."
The Southern Cross Club is the only resort in the Sister Islands that is Green Globe certified.
It also shows an unwavering commitment to the island community by contributing and participating in local fundraisers, and supporting organizations such as Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) and the Cayman Islands National Trust. Both organizations work to preserve the unique environment of Little Cayman.
CITA Executive Director Jane van der Bol says three awards were handed out to CITA members who participate in the CEPTS program and show great strides in promoting, acting and involving green initiatives in their every workplace on property. "This award brings a new dimension to the Cayman Stingray Tourism Awards as it reaches beyond any one employee or manager, but to the entire staff and owners who have dedicated themselves to preserving Cayman's future," she said.