How Karolin Troubetzkoy Of Jade Mountain & Anse Chastanet Is Helping to Promote Sustainability and Climate Justice

Source: Medium

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

grew up in Germany and always had a strong urge to explore and see more of our diverse world. This is why I left Germany in my early 20s to pursue a career in the Caribbean hospitality industry. Whilst conservation, sustainability, and climate change weren’t big topics in the 70’s and 80’s, I was exposed to the beginning discussions and concerns about energy and Germany’s early vision for a comprehensive energy system that was not only free from nuclear power but also focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.

Everyone has a cataclysmic moment or marker in their life which propels them to take certain actions, a “why”. What is your why?

My passion for sustainability was seeded by my husband’s instinctive practice of it, long before it became a recognized movement. We’ve been at the forefront of eco-conscious resort management since the 1980s, intuitively knowing that this was the path to a better future.

The “why”- the turning point for my deep commitment, however, came through witnessing the significant challenges that small island states face — challenges that became starkly visible during the catastrophic hurricanes of 2017. I served as President of the regional Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association at that time. Although Saint Lucia was fortunate to escape the brunt, the impact on our neighboring islands and across the region galvanized my resolve to engage more actively in promoting resilience and regenerative practices.

Today, my dedication to these issues is reflected in my volunteer leadership roles, from being a board member of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) to chairing both the local Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund and the regional Caribbean Biodiversity Fund. These positions are more than titles; they are platforms that allow me to contribute to the vital dialogue on sustainability and to effect real change both locally and across the Caribbean.

You are currently leading an organization that is making a difference for our planet. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change?

I think no matter how big or small your organisation is, we all have an opportunity to contribute towards a better tomorrow and through our actions, inspire others to do same. Whether it is through our water management system or our coral nurseries, or our efforts to reduce and prevent plastic pollution, we want to be at the forefront of these efforts.

I believe in the transformative power of collective commitment to environmental stewardship.

In the Caribbean, we are surrounded by some of the world’s most precious natural resources and diverse ecosystems. Our ‘blue economy’ relies heavily on the health of our oceans and landscapes, making sustainability not just a choice but a necessity for our survival and prosperity.

We can start by harnessing our abundant renewable energy sources, like solar, wind, and geothermal, to power our resorts and communities. Our approach must be holistic, integrating sustainable tourism practices that protect our coral reefs, reduce waste through circular economic models, and ensure that the benefits of tourism contribute to the wellbeing of our local populations.

At our resorts, we’re already implementing strategies for sustainable operation, such as reducing single-use plastics, conserving water, protecting marine life, and engaging guests in our conservation efforts.

We see the success of these initiatives not only in the preservation of our environment but also in the enriched experiences we offer our guests.

We need to support fostering a culture of sustainability that permeates every aspect of our lives, from education to economic development. It’s a comprehensive shift towards a future where our actions today create a thriving, resilient, and sustainable tomorrow for the Caribbean.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

Every day I find myself inspired by the curiosity and enthusiasm of our guests towards our sustainability initiatives. Rather than one standout story, it’s the collective moments that truly resonate with me. Guests more and more inquire about the specifics of our operations. They are keenly interested in the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of sustainable hospitality. It’s these interactions, the daily discussions, and the genuine interest shown by our guests that are the most interesting stories to me. They reflect a growing consciousness that sustainability is not just a concept, but a way of living that extends well beyond their time at our resort.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

Dr. James Fletcher is someone I look up to and who has helped me tremendously. He is perhaps best known for his work in international climate change negotiations. He led the Caribbean’s delegation to the negotiations on the Paris Agreement in 2015 and was an integral part of the region’s ‘1.5 to stay alive’ climate change civil society advocacy campaign. He was a member of a small, select group of ministers who were charged with the responsibility for achieving consensus among the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on the elements of the Paris Agreement.

Minister of Tourism, Jamaica, Hon. Edmund Bartlett is another person that I have a lot of respect for. I was honored to be part of the early discussions that eventually led to the creation of The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC). This is an international Think-Tank headquartered in Jamaica, with offices in Africa, Canada, and the Middle East. Founded in 2018 by Mr. Edmund Bartlett, GTRCMC helps tourism stakeholders worldwide prepare for, manage, and recover from a crisis. This is accomplished through providing services such as training, crisis communications, policy advice, project management, event planning, monitoring, evaluation, research, and data analytics. The thematic focus of the GTRCMC includes climate resilience, security and cybersecurity resilience, digital transformation and resilience, entrepreneurial resilience, and pandemic resilience.

Thank you for that. Let’s now move to the central part of our discussion. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms so that everyone is on the same page. What does climate justice mean to you? How do we operationalize it?

Climate justice to us means ensuring that our response to climate change is fair, inclusive, and considers the unique vulnerabilities of Caribbean communities. It’s about recognizing that while we share one atmosphere, the burdens and benefits of our actions are often experienced unevenly. It is our collective responsibility to address these disparities and work towards solutions that benefit not only the environment but also the people and economies that depend on it.

To operationalise climate justice, we start within our own operations by adopting sustainable practices that minimise our environmental footprint and contribute positively to the local ecosystem. We engage in active dialogue with our community to understand their needs and adapt our strategies to support their well-being in the face of climate change. This includes creating jobs, supporting local conservation efforts, and educating guests about the importance of preserving the natural beauty and cultural heritage of our region.

Moreover, through my volunteer leadership roles, we advocate for policies that support small island developing states in the Caribbean, ensuring that international climate agreements recognize and address the specific needs and contributions of our region. We also collaborate with local and international partners to build resilience against the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

In practice, operationalising climate justice means investing in renewable energy, preserving natural habitats, and providing equitable access to the economic benefits of tourism. It’s about creating a model of tourism that doesn’t take from the environment and community but rather contributes to a sustainable and just future for all.

Science is telling us that we have 7–10 years to make critical decisions about climate change. What are three things you or your organization are doing to help?

Understanding the urgency of the climate crisis, our organisation has embraced a multi-faceted approach to sustainability with immediate and long-term actions.

Firstly, through our local hospitality and tourism association we are advocating to bring about a change in legislation in Saint Lucia to introduce more renewable energy projects to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Secondly, we are actively restoring and protecting local ecosystems. This includes coral reef restoration projects which not only preserve marine biodiversity but also serve as natural barriers against storm surges. Our commitment extends to land conservation where we’re reforesting areas and introducing indigenous plants across our properties.

Lastly, we recognise that sustainable change involves people as much as it does technology or policy. We have implemented comprehensive training for our staff and educational programs for guests to create awareness and encourage sustainable practices within and beyond our resort. From reducing water usage to supporting local sustainable farming, we’re cultivating a community dedicated to environmental responsibility.


Read the full interview on Medium here


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