Sourcing Renewable Energy for the Misiones Tourism Industry

iguazuBy Milagro Espinoza, Senior Communications Manager for Latin America

The Misiones region of Argentina, located in the northeastern corner of the country, bordering neighboring Paraguay and Brazil, has recently become a site of intense tourist development. Partially responsible for the recent uptick of interest in the region is its recent distinction as home to one of the new seven natural wonders of the world, Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall system on the planet. The newfound popularity of this province has prompted tourism entrepreneurs to increase their activity with little concern for safeguarding the natural and cultural beauties that characterize it. Despite the reckless abandon with which surrounding companies are developing the land, Lipsia, a forestry company located in the lush jungle of the Misiones province, has managed to achieve the perfect synergy between its corporate responsibility and its commitment to innovation.

Lipsia started its forestry operation at the end of the 1970’s, and currently manages about 5,000 hectares of forest, 82% of which is dedicated to production, while the remaining 900 hectares are designated conservation areas. By protecting a percentage of their land from harvest, they have met one of the many requirements that have earned them Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification through the Rainforest Alliance. The sustainable management of their operation, both in the plantations and in its industrial plant is also a part of Lipsia’s vision of successful business practices going hand in hand with responsible environmental practices.

During the first years of work, the company focused on cultivating conifer trees to supply manufacturers’ demands for doors, furniture, and baseboards, among other wood products. Ten years ago, however, Lipsia made a decision that perfectly combined innovation, cutting-edge technology, and their desire to sustainably manage their plantations in the most effective possible way. By incorporating the use of biomass or, more simply, the use of the company’s waste materials, such as sawdust and shavings, as well as branches and the bark of harvested trees, the company also become a renewable energy source for the Misiones tourism industry.

The supply of renewable energy, or, pellets, are a bioenergy option that has a series of advantages over other traditional fuels such as liquefied gas. Their production results in a solid product, mitigating any risk of spills or emissions that may come of vapors or gases. The pellets are a clean energy source that do not cause injuries or reactions to skin contact, and is a smart choice for the environment since emissions are reduced, and only generate 0.4% of ash which makes the work of cleaning even easier for hotel operations.

The pellets that Lipsia provided for the hotel sector have had such positive results, that about 40 hotels in the region are now using them.  Such an influx in demand for renewable energy, along with the technology that allows even the smallest twig to offer efficient use, allows other companies to join the challenge of turning the region into an example of sustainability. Among the success stories of Lipsia’s renewable energy ventures, are the Hotel Amerian Portal del Iguazú and La Selva Lodge Village. There, technicians from Lipsia have installed the equipment necessary for their boilers to supply the energy requirements of their rooms, kitchens and other facilities, allowing local accommodations to play a role in the regions’ greater sustainability operation. The adoption of many sustainability practices, in addition to this new commitment to renewable energy sources, helped these hotels meet the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, and be Rainforest Alliance Certified™ for sustainable tourism, thereby helping protect Misiones’ future.

Do you want your hotel to be a part of the sustainable tourism movement? Click here to learn more about what the Rainforest Alliance can do for your business.

To see this blog in its original Spanish, please visit our Latin American business blog.





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