Here at Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, we take care for the environment very seriously, and environmental, social and societal considerations have been at the heart of what we do for over a decade. Luxury and sustainability have much in common, as proved daily by charters, certifications, and the actions of our staff. Here, five of those staff – all of whom play a part in these efforts – share their thoughts on our commitment to making the planet a better place.
Ask Emmanuel Taillandier, the Deputy Manager at the Monte-Carlo Beach, to sum up what he thinks ecology is, and the answer is simple: “A constant commitment to preserving the future”. For him, that means “getting teams to take concrete, measurable actions that they can see make a difference”.
Emmanuel also says it’s about making green transport available for guests to encourage active, eco-friendly travel, and mentions how he and his team work to “separate and sort 12 different categories of waste, and tackle food waste” as well. This commitment was recently recognised when the Monte-Carlo Beach won the first-ever Hôtel & Lodge Special Green Prize. “That rewarded our long-term commitment to the cause, and spurred us onwards and upwards,” smiles the Monte-Carlo Beach Deputy Manager. “Featuring in a Hôtel & Lodge list of the top 100 hotels in the world is something our teams can be exceedingly proud of.” He continues: “this award is well-deserved: not only because of the Monte-Carlo Beach’s long-standing commitment to eco-friendly action – which has been the case for over 20 years – but also because of its numerous sustainable developments,” including the construction of a biodiversity-positive reef dike to protect the beach and allow marine wildlife to flourish, and classification of the La Vigie peninsula as a bird refuge by the Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux (LPO) to promote local biodiversity.
So what will the Monte-Carlo Beach’s next steps be towards taking even better care of the planet? “We’ll be moving from thermal to electric energy at the Monte-Carlo Beach water sports centre, installing solar panels on the next building to undergo renovation works, doubling the size of the LPO bird refuge by expanding it to include the grounds of the Villa La Vigie, and getting the gardening team involved in growing the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer’s very own fruit and vegetables at our Beausoleil estate in Vallon de la Noix.” Plenty of wonderful projects in the pipeline, then!
“Respecting the environment and animals, caring for the next generation, and leaving them a wonderful world to inherit,” is how Monique Lanord, General Housekeeper at the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, sees ecology. For her, it is more than just words: “it is a contractual agreement” to use the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo’s expertise and excellence to promote sustainable, reasoned development. “For us, it’s about carrying out the various activities we commit to in the Green Globe charter – and ensuring that others do the same”.
Day to day for Monique, that means doing the little things that make a big difference, like turning off lights, switching off air conditioning when rooms are not occupied, and recycling properly. Long-term, it means providing information, support, and education for staff in the form of annual training, setting up a “Green Corner” for recycling and reusing various materials, and organising “muscle awareness” sessions for staff to help minimise the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. The hotel’s 20-strong Green Team work tirelessly behind the scenes to shape and monitor commitments, making them the best they can be. They are also the brains behind some wonderful projects, like the opening of the herb garden at Pavyllon by Yannick Alléno and the hotel’s kitchen garden, which was established up in Beausoleil in 2019: 400m2 of lush green gardens, nestled in the sun-kissed hills and growing all kinds of gorgeous things for the restaurant’s kitchens and dressing the dining room tables! The Green Team’s motto is simple: “Forever Green”!
Overseeing the delicious sweet treats at Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse à L’Hôtel de Paris *** is pastry chef Sandro Micheli, who sees ecology as “the epitome of a region’s produce!” He explains: “we are lucky to be where we are on the Riviera, surrounded by France, Italy, and a region overflowing with delicious fine ingredients. For me, ecology means actively choosing to use these natural products.” He mainly sources them from local growers, and always samples them before using them in his desserts. “I love creating desserts with citrus fruits from around the region, such as Menton lemons and citron,” he tells us. Recently, he has discovered Carla lavender, “an edible flower grown in the south, which I love for its highly pronounced flavour.” Sandro believes that respecting the environment isn’t just about how something is grown: it’s about how it’s eaten. For him, that means working with seasonal ingredients and, together with his team, using as little plastic in the kitchen as possible: “I have two children, and I think everyone should care about what kind of world we are going to leave behind for future generations.” It also means paying farmers and suppliers fairly. “They give me their finest ingredients, and I showcase them in my desserts. I have a huge amount of respect for them and their work.” For Sandro, it’s a question of reciprocity – both in terms of recognition and commitment.
A business school graduate, and once a shining star in women’s tennis...now an urban vegetable gardener. Life has taken some strange twists and turns for Jessica Sbaraglia, the founder of Terrae (formerly known as Terre de Monaco). However, given her desire for long-term, sustainable happiness, it finally makes perfect sense. “Good, common sense”, is also how the young woman views ecology. “Gardening using natural products, growing my own vegetables, using kitchen waste to feed my chickens...” This is her way of showing her commitment to the environment through her work, and also “thinking about future generations”. That commitment is what drove Jessica to bring vegetable gardens back to Monaco city centre in 2016. “It’s about going back to our roots, and cultivating both physical and mental wellbeing,” all of which she believes is hugely beneficial.
Of course, it is also a great way of making the contents of our plates much more diverse, both in school cafeterias, where her “ kitchen gardens help to educate over 2,000 children each year”, and also at the double-Michelin-starred Blue Bay by Chef Marcel Ravin. Jessica’s permaculture garden, which is located just down from the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, is a source of great inspiration for the Michelin-starred chef, who goes there to gather the delicious, seasonal produce used in his kitchen all year round. And, according to Jessica, “if we can do it in Monaco, we can do it in any major city”. As proof, she points to her new Terrae farms: “The next will open in Tubize, Belgium, in 2024, on 10,000m2 of roof space. After that, we’ll be going to Nice in 2025, where we’ll be setting up in the middle of a new eco-district with a roof space of 3,000m2”. It just goes to show how long-term this commitment really is!
“That’s a hard one – there’s so much to talk about!” exclaims Eva Elmshauser when we asked her to define ecology in just three words. For Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer’s Sustainable Development Project Manager, environmental issues span a number of spheres, and the trick is to get them all working in harmony: “coordinating economic, social and environmental considerations is important if we want to achieve long-term, sustainable results. It’s all connected!” Also important is to remember that “any environmental initiatives will also naturally have social and economic impacts”: from choosing suppliers to setting up anti-waste initiatives like the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – and even partnering with other organisations.
There’s no doubt about it: there is plenty to do. But no matter how big the task at hand, Eva is determined to remain “an engaged and positive driving force in an ever-changing world”. Her role is multifaceted to say the least: she works on monitoring and updating the Sustainable Development Charter – “the fourth is coming together as we speak” – calculating the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer carbon footprint, and gathering the various environmental data needed for the Extra-Financial Performance Statement (EPR) sent out to shareholders. She is also involved in maintaining the educational Oxygene blog, as well as preparing a Best Practice Guide for Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer staff. Last but by no means least, Eva plays a huge part in helping establishments across the Resort work towards certification, particularly with Green Globe, in the name of adding value and continual improvement. “Working towards sustainable development certification is pretty much the standard in high-end tourism nowadays.” Not only is this encouraging for clients, it also helps to structure the approach taken by teams on the ground. As the largest player in Monegasque tourism, it goes without saying that Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer is leading the way in terms of environmental responsibility and sustainable development. According to Eva, “given the involvement of our hotels, more than 88% of the Principality's hotel rooms are currently certified with responsible tourism schemes”. And that's not all! One Monte-Carlo is expected to become Green Globe-certified in June 2022, and the Casino de Monte-Carlo by 2023, with the long-term goal being “Green Globe certification for the entire Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Resort!”