Ethos on Sustainability
"Life-long memories come from a sensory, emotional charge between people in a single, surprising moment. Travel is emotional, and Kalukanda House is a beautiful nurturing space that creates cultural exchanges and emotional connections."
—Dee Gibson, Founder
We are all in a symbiotic relationship — you, our guests, our staff, and our local communities. Nurturing healthy relationships which help each other, and supporting a circular economy, is what we strive for through Kalukanda House. Your holiday with us is an opportunity to have a bigger social impact — and this is how.
A stay at Kalukanda House delights and excites guests who want to travel and embrace new cultures, explore through adventure and see the world in a way beyond what is prescribed by generic guidebooks.
At the same time, we care about how we run our business. Our sustainability ethos considers the whole ecosystem around Kalukanda House – and people are an integral part of that. You, our staff, the local communities and how we operate in an ethical and mutually beneficial way, are dear to our hearts. We hope to set an example as a luxury destination that enriches the lives of everybody and to be a business that is a force for good in Sri Lanka. The creation of our villa has created employment, contributes to a local charity and combines travel with learning.
1. Environmental sustainability
“The Earth is what we all have in common.”
Designed by a British-Sri Lankan interior designer based in London and created by Sri Lankan builders from our immediate community. Our original caretaker, who was forced to retire after losing his arm in a fishing accident, is a charismatic local grandfather who we retained as a permanent member of our team. All of our staff are Sri Lankans from the hospitality industry.
The chef always uses fresh, seasonal and local ingredients, and we are continually striving to become 100% reliant on food sourced from the immediate area.
Our trusted tuk-tuk drivers are from the village and are self-employed. Proud to be part of our fleet, our loyal and longstanding relationships that they will come out for our guests and us at all hours of the day, at short notice.
Experiences can be arranged through our cherished Sri Lankan network – surf lessons, cookery classes, tea plantation tours, massages – you name it. We have tried and tested every activity which comes recommended.
Our industry partners are operators with the same value and who we have personally met and appointed. Whether business owners themselves or key managers, anyone who works with us, from all over the world, has a deep understanding of what we are about. Our ecosystem is built on human contacts and mutual respect and understanding.
2. Socio-economic sustainability
“It is good people who make good places”
Our team has been with us from the beginning in 2018, and we know you’ll love them. Our caretaker, had to retire from a fishing accident and is a local grandfather who we insisted on retaining as a permanent staff member. Our house team is well trained and are all Sri Lankans from the hospitality industry.
They are paid above the living wage, and we budget so that they will receive a share of our profits.
Training is ongoing, and we show our appreciation of their efforts when we have a team meal at the villa, and we serve them dinner and drinks. They are part of our family, and we were honoured to have been involved in our manager’s wedding last year.
We are committed to developing their skills in hospitality and our reward is that our guests rave about their demeanour and service. Our team is a great advertisement for Sri Lanka’s heart and soul, and they love engaging with guests in conversation and storytelling.
3. Our partner charity
"Caring has the gift of making the ordinary special" —George Bach
Their Future Today is the charity we are so very proud to support. They work tirelessly to reunite families separated due to poverty, to educate children and young girls who would otherwise end up on the streets, and they are changing government policy.
TFT was set up in 2005 by Lynn Stanier MBE after the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004. The charity works tirelessly to reunite families separated due to poverty, finds foster homes for homeless children and educates abused, abandoned girls who would otherwise end up vulnerable and on the streets. TFT is setting standards in Sri Lanka and internationally. Recently, government policy around foster care was changed due to the lobbying and education provided by TFT to the judiciary.
Changing mindsets and raising these vulnerable young people will fundamentally change the future of these poorer communities. They will grow to become empowered, self-sufficient and able to contribute to society.
We now sit on the Board of Trustees and help with fundraising and raising awareness around their extraordinary work. Thanks to contributions made from the revenue from guest stays and fund raising through charity events we were able to donate £10k in the first two years.
4. Sustainability and you
“Don’t listen to what they say, go see”
Our guests are adventurers with a conscious, curious mindset. You want to travel like we did when the world was still an undiscovered place. Human, all-sensory experiences are the key to this, and it is important to us that guests understand what Kalukanda House stands for and support us in our charitable and sustainability efforts.
We ask everybody who stays with us to participate in at least one of our local experiences and to take the time to read about our local causes. Leaving behind a positive influence when flying home is one of the greatest gifts you can give, as well as taking away precious memories. Our reviews are a testament to the enrichment that guests experience with us when they engage the way we ask.