Our Four Pillars

of Conscious Luxury

 

Four Pillars to benefit the planet, people and prosperity

Pillar I:
Environmental
Stewardship

Pillar II
Community &
Cultural Heritage

Pillar III:
Ethical Business
Practices

Pillar IV:
Guests Well-Being & Experiences

You likely have implemented the obvious practices such as zero single-use plastic, supported a local charity or created mindful guest experiences as part of your journey to become a conscious luxury rental brand.

The QALIA framework then becomes your guideline with its 100 criteria spread over our Four Pillars and three levels of recognition to help your brand contribute to a positive impact on all stakeholders and progress over time.

Our bespoke coaching service, supported by an in-depth Knowledge Base and the purpose-built certification management system, is designed to encourage members to improve their performance scores consistently and at their own pace over the three levels of recognition. Members can also fast-track their progress with ready-to-use downloadable templates when useful.

We have used our 20 years of experience in operating and marketing stand-alone luxury properties to precisely tailor the framework and make it rewarding and achievable. As such, the QALIA sustainability label considers all aspects of a property infrastructure, operations and the guest experience.

Our commitment is for EVERY villa rental brand that becomes a member to achieve the ESSENTIALS level. After that, you will continue to receive ongoing coaching and be rewarded with the next two levels of the sustainability label, ADVANCED and EXCELLENCE.

We recognize that differences exist in certain geographical areas. Local conditions and structural factors may present challenges in meeting some criteria and would simply not be achievable. Therefore, on a case-by-case basis, our policy allows for these and ensures that the endorsement focuses on the property’s best ability to meet the criteria.

Discover our Four Pillars

Pillar I: Environmental Stewardship

The Environmental Stewardship pillar comprises 33 criteria and focuses on preserving nature and conserving resources within the luxury villa management operations.

Bioversity

Under this topic, properties must comply with local and global wildlife protection laws, promote green circularity by using garden refuse as compost, nurture native plant species, avoid chemical pesticides, and engage in local biodiversity and wildlife preservation initiatives.

Energy

In the Energy topic, properties are encouraged to offer electric car charging stations and contract with energy suppliers using renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Energy efficiency is emphasized through smart technologies, energy-saving appliances, lighting systems, and insulation materials. The use of heat pumps, swimming pool covers, LED lighting, eco-friendly email marketing software, and sustainable web hosting complements these efforts.

Waste

Waste reduction is a key focus. Properties should consider greywater recycling where available, use refillable bathroom amenities, and provide reusable drinkware. Effective recycling plans encompass various waste types, and efforts to reduce or eliminate single-use packaging are essential. Clear waste separation instructions in multiple languages aid employees and service providers.

Water

In the Water category, water-efficient fixtures, smart garden irrigation, rainwater harvesting, towel reuse programs, and less frequent linen changes support water conservation.

The Environmental Stewardship pillar is designed to guide luxury villa managers and owners to adopt sustainable practices, minimizing their environmental impact while enhancing guest experiences. Read more on the 33 criteria.

Pillar II: Community and Cultural Heritage

The Community and Cultural Heritage pillar, encompassing 28 criteria, is an emphasis on the luxury villas’ role in benefiting their surrounding community, respecting cultural heritage, and fostering social well-being.

Contribution

Under this topic, properties are incentivised to maintain a list of volunteering opportunities in the destination for guests and/or staff. They are encouraged to offer purpose-led programs, such as towel and linen reuse initiatives where guest savings can be donated to a charity of their choice. Additionally, properties can compensate for their carbon emissions by purchasing certified offsets and allocating a share of their revenue back to the community or sustainability projects.

Destination

For Destination, the promotion of eco-friendly activities is highlighted and shall exclude the promotion of tours involving wild animals. Properties should also support locally owned and operated businesses, provide information on visitor etiquette and local customs, and offer insights into local culture and artisans. Monitoring guest satisfaction, including one’s sustainable practices, is essential.

Social

In the Social category, properties should assign an impact leader responsible for measuring and reporting performance and progress. Accessibility for Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRM) is encouraged.

Ecosystem

Ecosystem considerations include sustainable decoration using real plants, cooperation with local businesses, and the use of 100% natural or eco-friendly cleaning products. Other main practices would include sourcing fair trade or local coffee, tea, and chocolate, using non-polluting laundry products, promoting transparency in food sourcing, implementing food waste policies, and offering marine life-friendly sun protection. Serving seasonal fruits and vegetables, supporting local artists, using chemical-free swimming pool filters, preserving local design styles, and utilizing a minimum of 50% local building materials round out the pillar’s focus.

The Community and Cultural Heritage pillar guides luxury villa managers and owners in contributing positively to their communities, supporting locally owned businesses and raising awareness about cultural heritage. See all 28 specific criteria.

Pillar III: Ethical Business Practices

The Ethical Business Practices pillar and its 13 criteria focus on fostering responsible and transparent business conduct.

Social

In the Social domain, properties are encouraged to practice wage parity and offer competitive salaries and benefits to their employees. Recording and reporting resources/energy consumption is required at the Excellence level, either through provided templates or a carbon footprint calculator. Clear policies, communication, or awareness programs on sex trade and human trafficking should be in place.

Transparent communication is emphasized, ensuring that all promotional materials accurately reflect the property’s sustainable capabilities and offerings. Properties are advised to create and share a responsible plan, demonstrating their commitment to sustainable practices. Adherence to local labor legislation, compliance with local tax requirements with audited accounts, and the practice of employee inclusion considering factors like age, race, religion, gender equality, and LGBTQ+ when possible in the destination, are vital. Finally, offering yearly training on environmental and sustainability issues for staff members is encouraged, either in-house or with external service providers.

Communication & Supply Chain

Regarding the supply chain, properties should check the green credentials of partners/suppliers when applicable. Openly informing suppliers about sustainability commitments and encouraging them to follow the same commitments is also required. Regularly communicating sustainability practices, actions, and impacts to all stakeholders is part of ethical business practices.

A visible sustainability chart criterion featuring the label helps raise awareness among guests and visitors, demonstrating a commitment to ethical business practices.

Ethical business practices are the governing drive for villa brands that aim at demonstrating leadership. Read more about the 13 criteria.

Pillar IV: Guests well-being and experiences

The Guest Well-being and Experience pillar is made of 26 criteria and is centred on enhancing guests satisfaction and promoting conscious luxury.

Events

Under Events, properties are encouraged to prioritize organic and locally sourced food products and sustainable table decorations. The exclusion of animal entertainment during events, the use of reusable cutlery, dishes, and glasses/mugs, and the avoidance of single-use plastic bottles are also highlighted. Offering seasonal and local fruits & vegetables and opting for à la carte meals to minimize food waste contribute to guest well-being.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity criteria emphasize connecting guests to wildlife and local animal preservation efforts, enhancing guests’ natural surroundings experiences.

Contribution

Contribution includes providing guests with the option to match donations from the towel reuse and linen change programs which are already part of the other pillars.

Waste

Waste considerations entail offering a complete digital experience, and eliminating printed materials whenever possible. Properties should exclusively provide reusable straws and stirrers, reusable laundry bags as well as shopping and grocery bags, and eco-friendly coffee pods. Water should be provided in glass bottles, via a drinking water dispenser, or using tap filters, to eliminate single-use plastic bottles. A minimum of three eco-friendly toiletries in guest bedrooms and bathrooms is encouraged. Finally, to avoid food waste, properties opt for “À La Carte” meals instead of buffets during normal occupancy and when cooking services are provided.

Ecosystem

The ecosystem criteria promote plant-based meals and culinary experiences based on local and seasonal products prepared by local chefs.

Well-being & mindfulness

In terms of well-being, properties should offer wellness and mindfulness activities such as meditation, yoga, QI Qong, massages, or beauty treatments. Providing yoga mats, meditation cushions/areas, and/or fitness equipment is ideal and the use of organic and locally sourced oils and products is recommended. Dietary inclusion options, accommodating specific dietary requirements for an entire stay, or sharing a list of local restaurants catering to these needs, are also essential. To reach excellence, and when available in the destination, properties should offer in-house or outsourced professionally-led health retreat programs, including detox, mindfulness, yoga, and fitness retreats, enhancing guest well-being and experience.

Our Four Pillars are aimed at elevating the guests’ experience and the inclusion of inner betterment practices that epitomise the concept of conscious luxury. Read more about the 26 criteria.

Get in touch!

It all starts with a conversation when we will be happy to share our views and how our partnership with your property will work.

Email Us
  • Marc Ribail (CEO):
    marc@qalia.org
  • Sander van de Riet (Asia office):
    sander@qalia.org
Call Us

WhatsApp contacts

  • Marc Ribail:
    +33 (0) 7 50 02 11 03
  • Sander van de Riet:
    +852 6011 1081
Meet with Us

Please see our Contact page to meet with us during the 2023 & 2024 conferences