‘Behind the Green’ is all about giving you more insight into the places we feature. Our interviews reveal what happens behind the scenes, tells the stories of the people on the ground, exposes the challenges they face, as well as the communities they impact; essentially the bits you don’t usually hear.

Meet Gove who is a sustainability advisor by trade. He has worked closely with Fivelements for over 12 years and has been instrumental in working with the family to bring their ‘green’ vision for the retreat to life!

Learn more about Fivelements Retreat here >

Who started Fivelements and was the vision green from the outset?

‘Chicco, the founder always had a vision of a green resort, we have worked over the past 12 years to develop this concept and define it. I was originally brought to Fivelements as a design consultant, this quickly evolved into an operational role.

When I first came to the retreat my intention was to certify Fivelements retreat with Green Globe, but this didn’t sit well with the founders. They wanted something with more depth, they knew what it would feel like to do it the right way as opposed to what global standards might suggest.’

What would you do differently if you could start again?

‘While we were developing the resort we had to talk about natural materials, we originally set out to implement a durability plan. The plan outlines each material asking: How long will it last? How much maintenance does it require? etc. In the end we didn’t finalise this plan and on reflection this would have been a great thing to do.’

What is the one thing your most proud of implementing there?

‘We installed a generator which we fuel with Bio-diesel bought from a local NGO. They recycle cooking oil waste from local hotels and restaurants and this reduces our carbon footprint. This is one initiative I am really proud of.’

Where do you see the biggest opportunity for Fivelements to be even more sustainable?

‘Waste is always one opportunity on our mind. We have a zero waste goal. Procurement is the next big focus for us in which to try to reach this goal. If we lose a supplier and replace it with another then we need to have the options to put other suppliers in place.’

What is the best eco-activity at Fivelements for guests to enjoy?

‘‘We offer healing journeys which are basically excursions with a focus on giving guests a choice between an eco-adventure, a village immersion, and a spiritual pilgrimage. One example is; we take the chartered boat out, we do snorkelling, go to a temple to meet a priest and meet an NGO environmentalist replanting trees. These healing journeys are totally unique they are not offered anywhere else in Bali.’

Can you provide a story of a local or employee who has been positively impacted at Fivelements Retreat?

‘There is a member of the team here called Ketut, he is the head of housekeeping at Fivelements Retreat. In my opinion, he is one of the pillars in the evolution and success of the place. I have personally witnessed him getting involved in creating solutions for various tasks. You won’t find him call himself an engineer but he certainly brings something to the table close to it. He also has had the opportunity to be part of a drone club more recently. He is now involved in creating professional videos, he is one of the best drone pilots I’ve ever seen, even better than some professionals!.’

Is there anywhere you have visited which is a great example of a ‘green’ place to stay?

‘For me, Bambu Indah Resort in Bali stands out. However, in my opinion, too much time is spent on figuring out who is greener than someone else, in rating and comparing places. Your approach to being ‘green’ is dependent on the situation so it is never black and white.’

What’s next for Fivelements Retreat?

‘We are shortly launching a health club style retreat in Hong Kong which is going to be really exciting. Fivelements retreat Bali is the original property and this is our next project to expand the business.’

Find out more about Fivelements Retreat & do your own green checks here.

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