01. July 2021


The sustainable mountain resort in Zermatt

CERVO - the sustainable mountain resort in Zermatt

For my second blog post, I interviewed Madeleine Dias de Rezende, who is responsible for sustainability at the CERVO Mountain Resort.


The CERVO is the first Valais hotel to be awarded the ibex fairstay sustainability label. And not only that: the level GOLD was reached straight away. Congratulations!


I found out from Madeleine why CERVO decided on sustainability certification. And we talked about why hotels might shy away from certification. It was also interesting to find out whether sustainable hotels might get through crises, like the current Corona crisis, better.


Of course, I would have loved to have gone to Zermatt myself and experienced this trendy and innovative mountain resort in person. Unfortunately, this was not possible due to Corona and so we talked extensively on the phone.

Madeleine, what are your tasks as the person responsible for sustainability at CERVO?

Madeleine Dias de Rezende

Madeleine: The largest and most comprehensive project was definitely the certification of the hotel with the eco label IBEX fairstay.Otherwise, my tasks include checking the value chain, i.e. taking a close look at how food is grown and products are created. If a product no longer meets our requirements, I research alternatives. The website has a very detailed sustainability area, which is constantly being optimized, with me providing a lot of input and being responsible for the content. Employee training and sustainability interviews are also not uncommon. If there is still time, I am always on the lookout for new ideas and am in constant contact with our partners, such as MyClimate, SlowFood and MitMänsch. My big project for this spring is to create the first sustainability report for CERVO.

Why did you decide to get certified at ibex fairstay?

Certification at ibex fairstay

Madeleine: CERVO chose IBEX because it is a Swiss eco-label that is on par with international certifications. We strive for regionality and authenticity, so it seemed only logical to us to choose a national label. Personal contact with the IBEX employees was also very important to us.

In your opinion, how important is the certification of hotels?

Madeleine: By certifying hotels, guests have the opportunity to compare. If conscious travel is important to you, you can easily see which hotel is investing in a future suitable for our kids and grandkids. Even if sustainability is currently en vogue, which is certainly being reinforced by Covid-19, there are many differences in commitment. And a holistic management that has been neutrally tested differs overall from a company that e.g. does not use plastic straws. However, the basis for living sustainability is and remains the sensitization of everyone - and certification is a valuable tool for this, too.


Why do you think hotels still shy away from certification?


Madeleine: I think the first obstacle is the label jungle, which makes a lot of things confusing and often unsettling. In addition, there are certainly the costs associated with certification and the resulting measures. But also the fear of being restricted in one's freedom of choice.

Do sustainably managed hotels get through crises better, like the current Corona crisis?

Madeleine: This question is difficult for me to answer because the sustainable component in the CERVO is only really being communicated now, i.e. after the certification, and we can therefore not yet draw a comparison between before and after. The fact that many international guests are currently unable to travel to Switzerland is a problem that all hoteliers have in equal measure and also affects CERVO very much. But of course a somewhat smaller family-run hotel is more stable than the large grand hotels, which depend on tour groups. On the other hand, a family business eventually reaches its limits and has no major shareholders behind it.

What is one of the most creative solutions you have encountered in a hotel?

hotel room at CERVO

Madeleine: I find it fascinating when companies, households or other systems manage to close cycles. More and more hotels are trying to do this. A great example is the Gaia Hotel in Basel, which is trying to go in the direction of "zero waste" through various measures. One of the measures there is e.g. donating coffee grounds to an urban farming project, which in turn cultivates noble mushrooms on the coffee grounds.

What's next in the CERVO? What plans for the future are being made?

Madeleine: There is still so much to do. For example, we are constantly checking our suppliers and seeing which products we can replace or add to. Communication with employees, suppliers and guests is also an ongoing process. Our big project for this spring is planting the outdoor areas according to permaculture principles, especially the spa area. And in the long term, we want to move towards "zero waste" step by step at CERVO.


In the conversation with Madeleine, it became clear to me that sustainable management, especially in the hotel industry, is not always easy. But it is definitely worth taking the sustainable path and being there when sustainability becomes the new "normal" in the hotel and catering industry.


Would you also like to develop your hotel sustainably? DAS HELDEN-ATELIER will be happy to support you on your way. Take a look around the website and get in touch with me. I look forward to you and your company!


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