With a strong dedication to local communities and a business plan of refurbishing existing buildings to create unique lodgings, Selina stands out among a tourism industry where hotel chains appear the same in every country. Furthermore, Selina has various impact programs in order to be truly integrated into the community as opposed to simply an outsider imposing on locals. They cultivate a community of learning and doing better. Nonetheless, they still have quite a few aspects of their business that are not yet sustainable and need to be improved. Despite the work they have yet to do, they have some amazing initiatives and offer affordable rates for visitors. I am confident they will continue to fulfill their mission and become more sustainable.
As a company, Selina aims to meet the UN’s Sustainability Goals. In addition, Selina performs self-assessments on factors from environmental sustainability to working conditions. The most recent report I found was from 2019. The self-assessments were overseen by the general managers of 31 Selina locations in 7 countries. Some positive results from the self assessment were that the average score for compliance with food procedures and requirements across these locations was 95%. The working conditions in Selina hotels also received an average score of 95% for meeting goals and standards. They met 85% of their goals for energy consumption as well. However, the average score for meeting air quality goals across locations was only 57%. Their definition of air quality includes greenhouse gas emissions, proper ventilation, and measures to reduce dangerous chemicals and odors in the air. They also received a low score of 66% for goals met to preserve and protect biodiversity. This includes efforts to protect local flowers and plants from dangers such as illegal trade and improper visits to sights with this wildlife. Finally, they received a score of 66% for meeting goals of generated waste, such as proper disposal, classification of waste, and measures of how much waste was produced. Other areas of interest such as hazardous product use, social and environmental awareness, supply policy, and supplier selection all received scores in the 70 percent range. Health, safety, hygiene, waste consumption, waste management, and contribution to community and culture all received scores above 78%. Overall, these results suggest an earnest effort, and Selina put forth numerous goals to improve the areas that are lacking in the future. These results may be somewhat biased as there is no third party confirmation or assessment. Nonetheless, they do seem have a genuine desire to be transparent and to improve. Furthermore, their willingness to reflect on themselves and highlight the areas they need to improve on suggests a refreshing transparency and genuine desire to be the best they can be.
They are implementing initiatives to increase the areas where they are lacking. They are training staff to know what processes they use that cause greenhouse gases. They are also training staff to create compost out of organic waste and how to properly dispose of waste. Move to digital check in to avoid paper waste, and move away from single use plastics. Additionally, they are aiming to train and educate guests and staff on how to engage with flowers and wildlife without harming the ecosystem and its biodiversity. Therefore, I believe they will continue to become more sustainable and reach their goals.
Selina takes existing buildings and transforms them into their hotels using recycled and up cycled materials. Furthermore, Selina rooms are decorated with locally sourced artwork. This demonstrates the company’s dedication to local communities and cultures. Many Selina hotels are located in relatively rural areas. This brings economic opportunity and jobs to places challenged in this area. In addition, they serve organic dishes with locally sourced produce which, once again, supports the community and avoids transportation emissions. Selina’s mission is to create economic opportunity for everyone, create positive relationships with the communities they operate in, and cultivate environmental preservation. They engage in many initiatives to make these goals happen. Their Selina Gives Back Hospitality Program offers free job training for people in the community. So far, 570 people trained have been trained and 65% of these people have since been employed. They host events with community members to get their input on how Selina is doing and what they can do to better serve the community. They have hosted over 500 beach cleanups. They educate their community on various important topics. Examples include: hosting over 30 lectures on climate change, 90 recycling workshops, and 50 animal protection workshops. Through these actions they foster a culture of awareness within the Selina community. In a world where tourism often entails harmful actions and inconsiderate actions toward the surrounding community, their efforts to enrich the surrounding communities and create a positive culture stands out.
Selina was founded Rafael Museri and Daniel Rudasevski in Panama with the goal of creating a travel space the cultivated community and meaningful connections. As mentioned above, they incorporate locals and the community into every aspect of their work, affirming that they truly stand by this goal of community and local appreciation. Additionally, they have demonstrated a strong commitment to bring economic opportunity to Latin America. Recently, they received an investment from the development bank, IDB, which invests in companies that are socially and environmentally responsible, specifically those devoted to economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. This investment suggests a strong faith from investors in the mission of Selina. I found Selina’s effort to exist as part of the local community rather than infiltrate it and impose on the local culture very refreshing and unique. Their focus on being authentic to the communities they are in offers a rare opportunity to visit a place and experience local life rather than a cookie cutter hotel chain that looks the same location to location. I’m certain they will continue to advance what they have created and become more sustainable.