Guide to green stays, eats, play

Di­rec­tory of eco-friendly busi­nesses is catch­ing on fast, says young mother from Plett

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS - JOHN HAR­VEY

AN INI­TIA­TIVE aimed at point­ing peo­ple to­wards restau­rants, ac­com­mo­da­tion es­tab­lish­ments and other ser­vices that es­pouse eco-friendly prac­tices is be­gin­ning to find favour among busi­nesses.

Eco At­las seeks to be an “all-in­clu­sive eth­i­cal di­rec­tory” to em­power both lo­cals and tourists to make in­formed choices.

Eco At­las di­rects peo­ple to places where, for ex­am­ple, they might en­joy free-range eggs for break­fast, or sup­port man­age­ments that prac­tise re­cy­cling.

Us­ing the 30 “Eco Choice” icons, peo­ple are able to see at a glance who is achiev­ing sus­tain­able goals,.

The search func­tion on the web­site, www. ecoat­las. co. za, in­spires visi­tors to source lo­cally pro­duced and “Earth­friendly” pro­duce and prod­ucts.

The con­cept is the brain­child of Plettenberg Bay en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Rhian Bern­ing.

“I be­gan Eco At­las a year ago, very much be­cause on a per­sonal level I wanted to know what I was eat­ing, and whether it was eth­i­cal,” Bern­ing said.

“I am a mother of two, and wanted to en­sure my kids were liv­ing a good, healthy and eth­i­cal life.”

Bern­ing has the sup­port of Fair­trade South Africa, as well as the Sus­tain­able Tour Part­ner­ship Pro­gramme.

“I be­lieve the con­cept is the only one of its kind in Africa. Be­cause I am from Plett, most of the busi­nesses that have signed on are from the Gar­den Route, but I am also get­ting in­ter­est from Cape Town, Mpumalanga and Jo­han­nes­burg.

“The point is that any­one can sign on. If you are a lawyer who re­cy­cles, then Eco At­las is also avail­able to you. South Africa is still catch­ing up in terms of en­vi­ron­men­tal and eth­i­cal con­scious­ness, but I can see the pas­sion is grow­ing.

“Con­sumers can write a re­view on the web­site, and this will as­sist oth­ers in mak­ing their choices..”

Since its in­cep­tion, sub­scrip­tion to Eco At­las has been free, but from next year Bern­ing will be ask­ing a R60 monthly fee to cover ad­min­is­tra­tion costs.

MAK­ING A MARK: Ex­am­ples of the the var­i­ous Eco Choice icons is­sued to busi­nesses by Eco At­las.

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