Like everyone else we are increasingly aware of the effects that our lives are having on our planet. At Casal dei Fichi we have always tried to apply best environmental practices from encouraging 0Km home grown fruit and vegetables to running an all electric car and sourcing unlimited solar heated water for invigorating showers. We hope that we demonstrate that positive steps and leading a less environmentally impactful life does not necessarily mean compromising on comfort or pleasure. Some of our guests have had their environmental efforts reinforced, maybe we’ve even encouraged some new ideas.

Every year we meet hundreds of people at Casal dei Fichi and it is reassuring to discover that the overwhelming majority share our concerns about the damage  being done to the environment. What if we could somehow harness their concern and enable them to contribute to some worthwhile project while they were here, without preaching to them or interfering with their holiday.

So we decided to ask our guests to simply do what we all love already, enjoy a delicious meal at one of our fantastic local restaurants.

And for this we won an award!

The annual Vacation Rental World Summit, in a different country each year, brings together owners, managers, suppliers and other professionals from this $100 billion holiday rental industry. This year Bob was invited to speak at the event in Como. The theme of the session was not about how the industry can lead from an environmental perspective (though maybe it should be on the agenda) but about providing an “Excellent Guest Experience.” Instead of dwelling on the traditional elements of welcome, facilities and comfort which we strive to provide, Bob chose instead to speak about our Treedom scheme.

A great meal, a great cause.

Treedom is an Italian not for profit organisation which raises funds from individuals to huge corporations to plant trees in developing countries, this provides an income to the communities that raise them. Yes, it plants trees! which are overwhelming regarded by the scientific community as the most effective way of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

How we engage is very simple. Over the years we have built up a collection of some fantastic restaurants in the Marche region, often involving dedicated research on our part, many of these are firm favourites with our guests. We approached a selection of these restaurants and asked if they would be prepared to make a donation, typically 10% of the bill, to Treedom. In return the restaurant is highlighted in our guide as contributing to the project. By just eating in a simple trattoria, an elegant converted palazzo or on the finest seafood in a stunning location, our guests just present a card on payment, the restaurant makes a deduction which is placed into an envelope. We then add our contribution and simply log onto the Casal dei Fichi area of the Treedom site, allocate trees to the participating restaurants so that they can see their contribution. The trees are geotagged so each contributor can individually follow their trees’ progress and publicise their generous contributions.

And the Guest Experience? Well apart from great dining our guests are rewarded by helping to contribute to a project which will help to make the world just a little bit better. Isn’t that a Great Experience?