Local Resort Cleans Up

No, not financially this time, but by bending over and picking up trash

BY GABRIEL ARCELEO

Anyone that has spent time in Cabo or San Jose knows we have a trash issue. The problem exists primarily on public land, like beaches and trails throughout both cities and on the corridor. Over the years there have been sporadic efforts by resorts and local organizations to clean up beaches like Santa Maria and Chillano Bay and other areas the tourists see, but most of the hiking trails and out of the way places still remain terribly littered with trash.

As with most days, I start my morning with a hike. On this day I chose to hike Camino al Cerro de las Antennas. Literally, the road on the hill to the towers. The trail head is behind Santa Carmela market if you are looking for a good hike, I recommend it. It’s not a trail exactly, but a really bad road, as it’s used to service the towers. There are unbelievable views from the top.

This road always has its fair share of trash drifting around it, but on this day I stumbled upon a bus load of Auberge resort employees that had just cleaned up the entire mountain road. I don’t know why, but I was shocked to see the amount of trash they had collected.

A team of 34 employees had gathered in the early morning to start combing the mountainside and by 8 am, the time I arrived, they had collected a truck load of trash. I soon discovered Auberge Resorts had developed a social outreach program named Planet Auberge. Once a month they clean a different location. A representative of Auberge Resorts, Mallely Cruz stated, “Planet Auberge teaches us to take care of our planet, our community, and about health and safety standards.” Auberge Resorts is improving the community’s public image while at the same time developing social patterns in its employees. These men and women, and by their extension their children, are learning what it means to have a clean Cabo. This is true leadership and social responsibility by an organization that is looking to enrich their community.

This is standard operating procedure in MBA programs around the world and referred to as organizational social responsibility, but is rare in this part of Mexico, in spite of the fact that the vast amount of money the resorts bring in each year arrives on public roads, uses public beaches, hiking trails, and community services. Some resort taxes go back into maintaining these public locations but clearly does not cover the extent of work needed. The job of keeping Cabo clean rests largely on the backs of the resorts bringing in the lion’s share of tourist revenue. Hopefully programs such as Auberge Planet will be replicated by other resorts as this is good for Cabo, good for business, and good for humanity.

Every company could be doing something that enriches our environment. For example, Home Depot could keep the lot in front of their store clean to show its social responsibility to the community while enriching the store front and creating a better environment. Social groups could be organizing to clean along the corridor as well as problem spots like Camino Del Cielo.     

It’s going to take leadership like Planet Auberge has shown to maintain a clean Baja because government isn’t going to do it: We will need every business to send out at least a few employees to bend over and pick up the trash around them.