Millbrook Resort officially opened its doors to the public in 1993. The Ishii family, who still own the resort today, set out to create a resort of international standing built in harmony with the land. Since then, the resort has been on a sustainability journey – working to reduce its carbon footprint and create a better and healthier environment with its Greener Stay programme.
Introduced in 2022, Millbrook’s Greener Stay programme works to reduce energy consumption and water usage by removing daily room servicing. The biggest challenge, they’ve found, is balancing environmental responsibility with maintaining the high standards of luxury their guests expect.
Guests receive a credit for use at resort outlets for each night of room servicing ‘saved’ – a thank you for supporting their mission. Encouragingly, the Greener Stay programme has received overwhelming support from guests who embrace and endorse the concept. Many even choose to donate their credit to the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust to help plant native trees throughout our region.
Since launching the programme, Millbrook Resort has reduced its carbon emissions by more than 28,000kgCO2e – that’s equivalent to flying the entire circumference of the world almost five times.
Millbrook’s Marketing Manager and Sustainability Lead, Amanda Youell explains that identifying and quantifying the main sources of emissions within the resort has been an important part of their journey, “By measuring our carbon footprint, we have taken a crucial first step towards understanding our impact on the environment.”
She’s quick to point out that the initiative’s success is only possible with Millbrook's team of enthusiastic staff. An unexpected benefit of becoming more sustainable has been an increase in employee motivation and engagement. “The team are incredibly proud of the enormous progress that has been achieved during our resort’s sustainability journey to date,” she says.
And Millbrook’s regenerative journey certainly doesn’t end here. Brian Howie, Director of Operations, hints that there are more environmental and community-focused projects in the pipeline, “Millbrook is committed to a sustainable agenda that reduces our environmental impact. We will look to introduce innovative sustainable practices and projects which not only benefit the wider Millbrook community but also preserve the natural surroundings of the resort.”
Along with the Greener Stay programme, Millbrook implements a host of other resort-wide initiatives to reduce water usage and waste and decrease their carbon footprint. Their onsite Kitchen Garden supplies their restaurants with organic produce, electric golf carts and hybrid mowers reduce fuel consumption, and a regular shuttle service replaces vehicles on the road.
Earlier this year, Millbrook forged a partnership with local compost expert, Michael Sly. He collects Millbrook’s food waste from each of the four restaurants and staff canteen, weekly and converts it to nutrient-rich compost. In spring, this compost will be used across the resort grounds. This initiative alone diverts more than 36 tonnes of food waste from landfill each year.
Millbrook actively tries to educate its guests and inspire other businesses to make small steps for change as they continue along their regenerative journey.
"Reduce, reuse and recycle is a good place to start," suggests Amanda, "And consider donating, volunteering or supporting a local programme that resonates with your values. Small steps soon add up to a bigger journey."
Get inspired and learn from Millbrook’s sustainability journey, detailed on their website here, or watch their video below: