Holiday Resort i Sandsjö AB dedicates its attention on sustainability from a holistic perspective. As a tourism company, this includes a detailed view on and respect for the nature, more the ecosystem in which we live and work. Further, sustainability is also about the people, be it the employee in our company, our dear guest/tourist, who stays at beautiful lake Sandsjön, or neighbours, suppliers, partners and of course ourselves. We live and work in Europe’s last wilderness and the UNESCO biosphere reserve Vindelälven-Juhtatdahka. To actively keep our footprint as little as possible is a natural conclusion. This is our claim for our guests, for ourselves and for the future generations, so that many more can visit and experience our beautiful and varied region Västerbotten Sweden in Swedish Lapland.
Living and Working
Living and working in these vast areas is a particular challenge. On one hand the climate of our geographic position in the sub arctic region has an impact on life and work. On the other hand, the municipalities of Northern Sweden’s inlands are still affected by a rural depopulation.
Large distances, thin population, few work openings and those mostly not for fulltime employments, force the municipalities to reduce costs within supply, service and even in the social departments. Schools and medical care are cut down, centralized or closed.
The young local often knows already during his/her schooltime and education, that there are few perspectives to build an independent life and a solid base for a future family.
Many would love to stay. They are deeply rooted with their home area. Still, they leave knowing that chances for a good job increase by e.g. moving to a coastal city or else to the areas of high population density in the south of Sweden. Since many years the municipalities of the northern inlands are fighting for survival.
In an effort to be able to create new job openings for the longterm future, entrepreneurship is highly supported. Longstanding and well-established small- and mid-cap companies are essential for survival. The unfortunate reality though, shows, that the largest part of the companies are micro companies, most often even one person firms. Succeeding in surviving on the long run and even achieving to further develop the company in order to create new employment is an enormous challenge.
Holiday Resort i Sandsjö AB, like every company in the tourism sector is highly impacted by varying with the season. Thus, our main focus is set on the peak season in summer. During this period the company can, in cooperation with the local employment service, offer a platform for seasonal employments, which we preferably provide for locals. Especially for young locals, who are in training within the gastronomy and hospitality sector we try to provide a platform, where they can work under real conditions and gain experience for their future career.
The longterm goal of Holiday Resort i Sandsjö AB is, by following a gradual and sustainable development plan, to provide permanent appointments and to provide a perspective, especially for the young locals, for a training within the tourism sector and connected to this to create a solid base for them to stay.
General Energy Efficiency
Sandsjögården has been in business already since many years before we took over in 2011. Thus, a lot of infrastructure was/is “End of Life” or at least in due need of a renovation.
Since Holiday Resort i Sandsjö AB has been running the place a lot of effort has been taken to constantly renew and optimize or extinguish unnecessary and/or silent energy wasters.
A good example is the lighting. When we took over Sandsjögården every single lamp was powered with 60 – 100W light bulbs. We upgraded the entire lighting to energy optimizing LED solutions. In all the public areas for our guests we built in automatic light sensors.
Fridges and heating elements are replaced with more energy efficient models on an ongoing base. The subject reaches all the way to the lodge kitchen, where we e.g. focus already during food planning, that the necessary electric powered kitchen equipment for preparing the food is used in the most energy efficient way.
Holiday Resort i Sandsjö AB wants to preserve the resort’s authentic charm and it’s manageable size. This is about maintaining and optimizing the resort with its available resources to the present day. It’s also about keeping the holistic focus on a sustainable development. Sandsjögården shall remain a naturally integrated and environmentally compatible element at lake Sandsjön, who offers its guests, travelers, and employees a unique platform to live, work and eat, and from where the vast space and pristine beauty of Europe’s last wilderness can be explored.
Water and Waste Water
Although the resort is located by the inland’s north-south route E45, the hamlet Sandsjön is sparsely populated, i.e. we completely lack municipal water and waste water access. More, there are strict laws for water pollution prevention and beach protection. All these factors require mostly self-sustaining, yet environmental-friendly solutions.
For this reason to the day, we have standard, water flushed toilets in the main building, only. Our lodge houses are equipped with ecological dry-toilet systems where liquids are separated into an environmental conform tree-chamber septic tank, that is emptied several times per year. The excrement is composted.
The extra service building still offers the classical “Utedass” – outhouse toilet. Given our location this is by means still the most effective and sustainable way in providing toilets within our resort. More, we highly support and recommend this typical Swedish tradition and thus put a lot of effort in ensuring clean and cozy outhouse toilets.
We are proud to say that over the years our guests often mentioned our outhouse toilets to be among the cleanest they have experienced combined with the world’s best view on beautiful lake Sandsjön.
At the same time, we sadly state, that the “Utedass” has become more and more of a historical decoration and curiosity of our resort and thus is used less and less.
Our holiday resort has its own groundwater well, from where we access our fresh water. The well is controlled regularly to ensure clean, germfree drinking water.
Of course, a groundwater well doesn’t provide infinite water access.
The challenge is to maintain a sustainable approach in accessing and using the water capacity, especially during the strongly frequented peak season in summer, where dry periods can influence the amount of water even more.
We do not have coin-operated water regulators. Instead, we installed automatic-stop faucets, which regulate the amount of water while using and after a pre-defined interval automatically interrupt the water flow. This is an easy, yet effective measure to minimize an unnecessary waste of water.
The entire waste water of the holiday resort is drained into two three-chamber systems, which are emptied several times a year.
Waste Separation, Recycling
Holiday Resort i Sandsjö AB asks its guests to actively help with waste separation.
At our waste station we have 2 bins for the general waste. Beside that we have several crates for e.g. glas, PET, cans, and carton.
Compostable waste can be handed in at the main building in a separate container.
The company separates its waste and disposes it at the municipal recycling center.
We constantly remind our guests to avoid keeping their waste bags outside. Our resort is frequented by wild animals and birds, who love to tear up the waste bags and scatter its content all over the place.
In Sweden PET bottles and beverage cans have a refundable deposit. It is important to keep in mind not to squash the bottles and cans before disposal. Sandsjögården recommends its guests to collect and return their PET-bottles/cans at the respective disposal machine when shopping for groceries at ICA or Coop. The deposit is printed as a receipt, which can be cashed in or deducted from the purchase bill at the cash desk.
Minimization of Food Waste
In our lodge gastronomy we live the approach to have very little to no food waste.
From this background we e.g. choose to work with a very slim selection of easily perishable foods, such as salad and vegetables, but which can be combined and varied in many ways.
We focus primarily on produce that naturally grow in these lines of latitude or stem from local producers. This also because we like to know where our food comes from, to ensure an uninterrupted cold chain and to avoid unnecessary shipping kilometers, when possible and reasonable.
The Northern Swedish food culture is also influenced by the term “spara och bevara” i.e. to naturally preserve and keep food from the very short growing period and make it available throughout the long months of winter, where one can easily lack a nutrient rich diet. Preserving is mostly done by curing, pickling, fermenting, drying, smoking, or boiling down. These techniques are also used in our lodge gastronomy, without adding artificial preservatives, taste enhancers and color intensifiers.
Right of Public Access
In Sweden we still have the Right of Public Access (Allemannsrätten), which gives you the right to roam the nature, explore and enjoy its fruits.
It doesn’t mean, though, that you can do as you please. With rights naturally come responsibilities!
Thus, you are expected to respect the rights of people, animals, and plants. E.g. you must keep a minimum distance of 70 meters to a private residence, cultivated ground, house or similar, even if you don’t see any fences or prohibition signs. This rule applies at lake Sandsjön, too!
Even though we have a Right of Public Access, in our region it is an obligation to purchase a fishing or hunting license.
The vast space of our northern wilderness is covered richly with naturally growing berries and mushrooms. You have the right to collect berries and mushrooms, but you are responsible to avoid damages to the plants or a disturbing of nature, especially when this can lead to a disadvantage of the property’s owner.
It is also prohibited to enter reforested grounds to protect the young plants. If you come to such a spot, move alongside the outer tree edge.
National parks, Nature reserves and Historical locations often have their own protection rules that you must respect at any time. In many places e.g. wild camping is prohibited. Ask at the nearest tourist information to learn the area’s respective rules before accessing the area.
You are allowed to make a fire when the surrounding conditions ensure a safe handling. You need to know that you will be taken to responsibility should you e.g. by mistake cause a bushfire.
You must always respect fire bans and warnings from the municipal firefighting stations. Especially in dry periods or times of high fire risks always inform yourself before making a fire.
>> Read also Destination Gold of Laplands's Sustainability Guide