Profile: Red Frog Beach

Green Globe Auditing and Certification

Red Frog Beach Island Resort and Spa in Bocas Del Toro, Panama, is more than a just a tropical paradise with pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and luxury accommodations. It now is the only resort in Panama that is Green Globe certified for sustainable tourism, making it a guilt-free destination for travelers who value environmental stewardship, cultural and historic preservation, and fair trade.

Tanuj Gulati, senior energy engineer at Energy Insight, Inc., certified that Red Frog Beach met Green Globe’s rigorous international standards for sustainable practices. He is an accredited Green Globe Auditor in North America, and Energy Insight is among a handful of organizations that can offer this accreditation service to hospitality clients.

Green Globe certification addresses not only how a tourism development treats natural resources but how it impacts the social fabric of local communities. The Energy Insight team led by Gulati had to determine whether Red Frog Beach complied with more than 340 criteria in four primary categories—sustainable management, social and economic elements, cultural heritage, and environmental practices. This required extensive onsite analysis, in-depth interviews with staff and management, and documentation of current and planned sustainability measures.

“Our comprehensive evaluation verified that Red Frog Beach met all of the certification criteria,” said Gulati. “Their onsite green team, staff, and employees are doing a wonderful job allowing the resort to achieve its sustainability standards and goals.”

Red Frog Beach’s Green Globe audit report paints a compelling picture of a tropical getaway focused on all aspects of sustainability. The resort has an overarching environmental mission to decrease its footprint by 80 percent. Owners incorporate sustainable design and construction practices into all facility projects and pay strict attention to natural amenities, green space, and locally-inspired architecture. Native vegetation is used to control erosion, and prominent signage helps protect frogs and other animal species. The resort also has been recognized for reforesting a large region of the island that was damaged due to cattle grazing.

In 2016, Red Frog Beach installed a 193 kW centralized solar power system, making it one of the largest island resort solar power plants in the world. It provides 25 percent of the property’s electricity and has brought clean, renewable energy to a nearby indigenous village. Energy Insight CEO Matt Haley served as a primary consultant for the solar development.

On the social and cultural fronts, the audit found Red Frog Beach employs local residents and purchases local and fair-trade goods and services whenever possible. It supports local conservation efforts and contributes to the protection of historical, archeological, cultural, and spiritually important properties and sites. The Red Frog Foundation, an operating nonprofit formed by the resort owners, is very active in community projects that promote self help, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and sustainable improvements in public education and health throughout the province of Bocas del Toro. It recently donated 22 computers to a local indigenous village and helped rebuild a school that had burned down.

Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries, and more and more travelers are considering sustainability as they make vacation choices.

“Green Globe certification offers many benefits to hospitality clients like Red Frog Beach,” said Gulati. “Achieving this international recognition provides a competitive advantage and helps hotels and resorts meet guests’ expectations for social and environmental responsibility.”

“We are thrilled to now be Green Globe certified and are grateful to our guests, employees, and Panama’s tourism community for understanding the importance of sustainable tourism,” said Juan Farina, resort director, Red Frog Beach. “We believe everyone who visits our island resort will have a unique experience with nature, and we are committed to ensuring that future generations have the same experience.”