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Wilderness Safaris wins water conservation award

Wilderness Safaris wins water conservation award
June 20
06:45 2018



Wilderness Safaris has won the prestigious National Energy Globe Award Botswana for its pioneering innovation in waste-water management and water conservation through the reduction of plastic water bottles – a project which was launched in the company’s Botswana region in 2012, and has subsequently been rolled out to all other countries of operation. 


“As we celebrate our 35th year of changing lives, we could not be more proud to have received this esteemed recognition from the Energy Globe Awards for our on-going dedication to water conservation and initiatives that mitigate any negative impacts our operations may have on the environment. Since the start of the project, we have managed to bring down the total number of the plastic 500 ml water bottles used in our Botswana camps from 128 870 in 2012 to 42 966 in 2018,” said Segametsi Monnamorwa, Wilderness Safaris Botswana Environmental Manager.


In 2012, Wilderness Safaris Botswana identified plastic water bottle usage as a challenge that needed to be urgently addressed. This was due to the production and disposal of plastic bottles, as well as the associated logistics, carbon emissions and cost of distributing the water into and out of camps, which are located in remote wilderness areas.


An initial five-year water conservation strategy was launched that year, with a key target to reduce the Group’s bottled water usage per guest bed night to a Group average of 0.8 litres by the end of the 2017 financial year.


Wilderness then installed on-site water purification systems at all of its Botswana camps, as well as at the majority of its camps across all regions. Each guest is given a reusable water bottle at the start of their safari, which they can fill up whenever they need to.


A description of the policy and why it was implemented is placed on the bottle to raise further awareness about the importance of water conservation. This is coupled with informative talks by guides and managers with an opportunity for guests to do a back-of-house tour to witness the filtration process, as well as other sustainable practices in place, including solar plants, waste treatment and waste separation.


“Not only were we delighted to hit our first target at the end of 2017, we have since achieved a total reduction of 76% across the Wilderness Group, with an average of 0.5 litres per bed night as of 2018. As the leaders in authentic and sustainable ecotourism we are constantly thinking of ways in which we can minimise impact produced by waste. In addition to our Bottled Water Strategy, we have also renewed our efforts on effective waste separation at all our camps, going to great lengths to ensure that recyclable materials, including plastic, are recycled and not placed in a landfill. We have also just launched an active campaign in Botswana to reduce the use of packaging and plastic wrap across all camps, sourcing locally-produced fresh produce wherever possible and setting up agreements with suppliers to recycle and reuse packaging material; and most recently banning the use of plastic straws,” said Segametsi.


The Energy Globe Awards were founded in 1999 by Austrian energy pioneer Wolfgang Neumann and are today considered one of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards. The programme is under the patronage of UNESCO and is conducted in cooperation with UNEP. This year, more than 2 000 entries were received from 182 countries, each of which was evaluated by high-profile experts from the Energy Globe evaluation committee.


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