Responsible and Sustainable Tourism

Because we care about the planet

Here at El Septimo Responsible and Sustainable Tourism is our way of doing business. We are firm believers that well managed conservation and business together can provide a good deal for everyone. Our business includes conservation, community work and joint ventures, job opportunities, ecology and respect for the cloud forest.

Our Mission
To continue with sustainable and responsible tourism practices, to enhance our community – private joint ventures, to offer our guests the best services and experiences possible and to promote conservation as a viable business.

Community
El Septimo has several community projects and ventures: 

Conservation
Biodiversity Mindo EcuadorSince our creation conservation has been our main aim, we have reforested more than 80 hectares of old pastures and reconverted them into Cloud Forest.  El Septimo has 420 hectares of cloud forest at present and we still have 6 more hectares to reforest.

Some of our project and programs are listed below:

Rainforest Alliance
We have been working with RA since 2004  in their Good Management Practices Program. They have helped us catalogue all our processes and check lists. We continue to work with them in this program and we help each other with ideas and information sharing.

ASEC (Asociación Ecuatoriana de Ecoturismo)
We worked with ASEC for two years (from 2004 until 2006), they audited Rainforest Alliance’s Good Management Practices and we received a total of 91.53%. 

Bird Banding
Bird Banding Mindo EcuadorIn 2008  we opened the Bird Banding Project at Septimo Paraiso. Mark Blazis arranged for several experienced bird-bander volunteers from Massachusetts to come to El Septimo for a week to help band and catalogue local bird species. We also opened this experience to four local birding guides and one trainee. We began this project and are waiting for more quialified banders to apply to continue.

Reforestation program
Giant Daisies are initially planted within the pasture sections. They grow fast and create ample shade, killing unwanted grasses and inhibiting the growth of the old pastures. After three years the land is ready for regeneration with local endemic plants.

Hummingbird counting project Mindo Ecuador

Less packaging program
Our logistics department is in charge all food purchasing. They have a program to reduce plastic and packaging. When all food is purchased recycled boxes are reused to transport it to the lodge and minimize the amount of plastic bag use. Once it arrives to the lodge all boxes are taken to the recycling plant and the bags are reused within the lodge and workshops. The program extends to all purchased required by the lodge and offices.

Promotion of recycled materials
We implemented a program to use only recycled office paper and toilet paper. We emphasise the need to reusing all plastic containers and we offer glass reusable water bottles for guests; this enables us to minimize the consumption of plastic bottles. Several areas of recycling bins have been set up at the lodge. All remains and waste office paper is saved to later be sent to the recycling paper section of the lodge. We also collect waste paper from our office in Quito for the same purpose.

Office internship program
Each year, Quito has openings for one or two students who can gain valuable experience by completing an internship in the business of tourism and conservation issues. They also take the position of assistants to our senior staff in the areas of logistics, project creation and accounting.

Employees
All our employees are affiliated to the IESS (Social Security), they are paid competitive salaries and have all the legal right for work required by Law. They have flexible work hours. We offer employment to single mothers and comply with legislation prodding containing employment for pregnant women; we offer part time and seasonal work, a special manual job opportunity was created for handicapped people.