Range Developments has always placed social responsibility at the heart of its culture and operations. Our CSR portfolio is primarily focused on four core areas (Children, Families, Entrepreneurs and Community) which we believe can have a positive and lasting impact on communities across the Caribbean.
In the first of this four-part series, we explore some of the initiatives Range Developments has supported under the Entrepreneurs portfolio.
The value of a company can be measured in many ways - from the strength of its balance sheet to the track record of its top executives. However, one of the most significant ways it can be measured is the impact it has on its people. Is the company helping to create sustainable communities, thriving entrepreneurs, happier children and stronger families? Over the years, these are the areas we have decided to focus our CSR efforts as a company.
In this article, I will be looking at some of the projects we have supported in the Entrepreneurs portfolio. As Range Development’s CSR Manager for the past several years, I have seen first-hand how people with immense potential and capabilities can succeed if given the chance, and often all it takes is a small intervention at the right time to achieve positive change.
Range Developments has actively committed to investing in education, training and skills development for young people – all of which are crucial for any thriving economy. Through the projects we have supported, young people have gained the skills and confidence needed to enter the world of work and contribute to their own growth as well as to that of the economy.
Moreover, we have also spearheaded other initiatives designed to contribute to entrepreneurship in the region. Some of the projects supported under our Entrepreneurs portfolio are as follows:
Free Up Farm - We are supporting a permaculture demonstration site in Dominica for Moringa Olifera cultivation, workshops, permaculture design and farm-to table dining. The sustainable organic farm business has created volunteering opportunities for those who wish to learn this labor effective technique of growing chemical-free produce for their own personal or business benefit. Our contributions included clearing the land of hurricane debris and infrastructure development which has been critical to the development of the farm.
Hospitality Training - In St. Kitts we launched a first-class hospitality training program to train promising candidates in the growing hospitality sector, regardless of whether they choose to work for hotels constructed by Range Developments. Our intention behind this is to elevate the standard of the hospitality sector on the whole of the island and not just in our own properties. With this initiative, we were able to increase the local employment rate from 50% to 93% after 8 months of training. This international training model was implemented in Dominica and we will replicate the same approach in our upcoming Six Senses La Sagesse in Grenada, so our employees are well equipped to demonstrate the highest quality of service.
New Businesses – We have guided and supported the creation of 7 new local businesses in Dominica which sub-contract goods and services to us directly (rather than us sourcing externally). A great example of this is the landscaping of the hotel in Dominica, where many of the plants used were propagated and sourced from local plant nurseries. Range invested in providing equipment and technical advice for the nurseries to enable them to produce the variety and quality of plant material needed by the hotel.
Artisan Training Program – Houses in Dominica used to be constructed using traditional techniques of stone cutting and laying, but this is a dying craft. We wanted to revive this beautiful tradition and incorporate it into the design of our Cabrits Resort Spa & Kempinski hotel. We managed to find a local artisan with knowledge of this labor-intensive technique and supported him in creating his own company for the purposes of reviving this age-old tradition. Through this initiative, he successfully trained 18 people who not only worked on constructing traditional stone walls for the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski, but who are now his employees and work on other construction projects with him.
Local Artists – We have actively supported local artists by sourcing all pieces of art for the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski from the local artist community in Dominica. For example, the walls of the hotel feature beautiful and unique photographs of Dominica taken by a local artist whose photography book was also published through the help of Range Developments.
Furthermore, striking pieces of art used for interior styling at the hotel have been created by local artists, predominantly from natural local materials such as driftwood, calabash and larouma – which is used to make hand woven baskets, bowls and other items from the Kalinago area of the island. Other pieces on display also include traditional wood carvings and pottery.
Whilst it would have been logistically easier and more cost-effective to source art from outside of Dominica, we were determined to showcase the talent of local artists at our prestigious development. This is what happens when social responsibility is high on the agenda of a company; it looks beyond simple calculations of profit and loss and considers the bigger picture.
Looking back over the years, our satisfaction stems from seeing how the projects we have supported have had a positive impact on the lives of those we have sought to improve. As a company with social responsibility at its heart, we always begin by assessing all the possible ways in which we can support the local economy. This means actively engaging with and involving as many local people as possible in our plans so that they too can benefit from our proposed developments.
Building social good will is an asset that will pay dividends for generations to come. We hope that through our CSR efforts, we will inspire other organizations, businesses and individuals to take their social and environmental responsibilities more seriously, so that together we can make a real difference in the communities in which we live, work and play.