One of the world’s finest wildlife reserves is a One Planet Community, working to improve the lives of local people while conserving one of the earth’s most amazing wildlife sites
Every year I visit Singita Serengeti in Tanzania to assess its progress in delivering its One Planet Action Plan, and to support staff training and engagement. This wildlife reserve supports its conservation and community outreach efforts with environmentally conscious hospitality. It’s been using One Planet Living® since 2012 to support these sustainability efforts.
One of Singita Serengeti’s biggest achievements is engaging its 750 staff (the majority of whom are locals to the area) in this work – both professionally and personally. Three of them shared their experiences of One Planet Living with me.
"One Planet Living is a great message."
Cletus Nyagita runs the waste and recycling area at Singita Serengeti, as well as having his own pig farm.
When did you hear about One Planet Living?
I learned about One Planet Living when I started working at Singita. It is a great message because it is easy to understand, and I can take the message back to the local village and explain. I can tell people about the environment and why they should look after it.
How have you been implementing One Planet Living?
I ensure that all waste is sorted and then see how it can be reused or recycled. Glass bottles are sent to a company that makes it into glassware and crockery, and broken glass is crushed and used by the locals as sand for construction. I’m always looking at how to reuse – any plastic bags that are in good condition I save for shopkeepers. I wash out fruit plastic containers for selling popcorn – we try not to have any waste here!
What are you most proud about?
We now have schoolchildren and sometimes even Singita guests visiting the recycling centre. And the food waste is really benefitting the local economy – I take some of it to feed my pigs. Some of these are sold to my friend with a restaurant to see food for the local community!
"I’m trying to go plastic free – and I’m reaching the last few items."
Alice Wilhelm is the chef at Faru Faru lodge, but will soon have the exciting post of head chef at Singita’s newest lodge, Singita Kwitonda in Rwanda.
When did you hear about One Planet Living?
When I first started working at Singita Krugar National Park. At first, I found it a little overwhelming as it seemed to cover so much, and it was a challenge to get staff onboard.
But as I became more familiar with the framework and understood all the principles better, I found it a great way of understanding my own impact and communicating with others about sustainability.
How do you implement One Planet Living in your own life?
I’m trying to go plastic free – and I’m reaching the last few items. I’ve shifted to soap rather than shower gel so that there’s no waste, and try to buy items that have no plastic packaging. I’m still struggling on toothpaste though!
What other ideas do you have for moving towards One Planet Living?
I’m already thinking about Rwanda. There will be a huge array of local fruit and vegetables, so I think there is a real opportunity to create guest menus that are vegetarian and vegan. This would match with the wellness tourism we want to promote as well as supporting the local economy and reflecting the local culture – so would be a big win all round. It will be an interesting challenge and I’m really excited about starting on that.
"One Planet Living seemed really advanced and forward-thinking compared to what other companies were doing."
Hermann Naude has worked at a number of Singita’s properties, including at Sabora Plains. He’s been the interim One Planet Living Integrator at Singita Serengeti for the past 3 months and will shortly be starting as the Sasakwa Lodge manger.
When did you first hear about One Planet Living?
During my induction to become Lodge Manager at Sabora in December 2015. There was so much to learn and understand but it was great to hear about what the company was doing in terms of sustainability and One Planet Living provided a clear way of explaining it.
Initially I thought I’d just need to encourage staff to participate in One Planet Living initiatives, such as the health and happiness runs, but it soon became clear that there was much more... In my first few months managing Sabora, the camp switched over from generators to solar PV panels, which was exciting. It was fantastic to see the fuel savings and experience the real noises of the bush.
Have you worked with any other sustainability frameworks?
No, I’d previously been working in South Africa and One Planet Living seemed really advanced and forward-thinking compared to what other companies were doing. It was encouraging and inspiring to see your colleagues making a real effort.
How have you been using One Planet Living elsewhere in your life?
Having worked at Sabora, I then ran a property in Kenya and noticed the difference between there and Singita, and was determined to start making change.
One area I had real success was with water use. There was a greywater treatment system that wasn’t working effectively, but I managed to get it fixed. The water was then used in irrigation saving about 6000l of water a day! I also put in place procedures around washing of equipment that led to further savings.
One Planet Living is a great tool for helping you constantly review and reassess what you are doing in your own life and how you can improve.
Would you recommend One Planet Living framework to other people?
Definitely – it provides a clear structure and helps in awareness raising.
Learn more about Singita Serengeti's One Planet Living achievements with its One Planet Living Annual Review 2018.