Fond Doux Holiday Plantation in Soufriere has taken the practice of sustainable tourism on its property a step further by becoming a certified member of Green Globe International.
This prestigious position gives the plantation, and by extension St. Lucia, greater visibility on the international market place, and makes it a recognized leader in environmental conservation in the island that businesses in tourism and other sectors can follow.
Green Globe is based upon the Agenda 21 plan which was originally endorsed by 182 heads of state at the Rio Summit of 1992 and provided a set of environmentally sustainable principles for the travel and tourism industry.
“We are pleased to achieve Green Globe certification, and this will certainly help us in continuing the conservation work we have been doing,” Said Eroline Lamontagne of the Fond Doux Holiday Plantation.
Some Green Globe Certification areas the plantation will be implementing are – the re-use, recycling and minimization of waste; energy efficiency, conservation, and management; waste water management; land use and management plans; involvement of staff members, customers and the community in environmental conservation programs; partnerships for sustainable development and corporate social responsibility.
Located amid the lush, tropical foliage in the heart of St Lucia’s World Heritage Site, Fond Doux is one of the oldest working plantations in the Caribbean. It is one of three original estates established in 1742 by three Devaux brothers, who came from Martinique to work a 2000 acre area of Soufriere lands granted to their father, Guillaume Devaux, by King Louis XIV in 1713 in honor of service to crown and country.
The Fond Doux plantation went through periods of inactivity and several changes of ownership. It was in a state of dereliction for 40 years before it was purchased in the late 1970’s by Kirby Lamontagne, the deceased father of Lyton Lamontagne, the present owner.
Lyton and his wife Eroline, who are natives of Soufriere, moved in about 19 years ago and began remodeling and refurbishing the plantation buildings. They also attempted to purge the soil of powerful chemicals used in the cultivation of bananas in the 80’s, by using organic farming methods in the systematic planting of cocoa which is now the main crop, as well as a vast variety of fruits and flowers.
Sustainable tourism activities at Fond Doux are guided by an environmental policy which was drafted when the plantation joined HERITAS, and the policy is also consistent with the Green Globe Certification requirements.
The Lamontagnes are also on a mission of preserving St Lucia’s architectural heritage: they purchase abandoned colonial buildings throughout the island and rebuild and restore them in the gardens of Fond Doux as holiday accommodations.
Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, two of many celebrities who have visited the plantation, gave their nod of approval to the Lamontagnes for the conservation work they have been doing, particularly in the practice of organic farming and the restoration of St Lucia’s colonial buildings.