The 2023 Ecoclub Ecolodge™ Audit Report for Pousada Serra Verde was prepared by the Ecoclub.com Team based on a questionnaire completed by the proprietors and additional material provided at our request. Satisfied that Pousada Serra Verde Ecolodge, first accepted as an Ecoclub Ecolodge in 2020, continues to meet our requirements we hereby award a new Ecoclub Ecolodge™ Ecolabel, valid for 3 Years, until 5 September 2026.
This Audit Report should be read in conjunction with the 2020 Ecoclub Ecolodge™ Audit Report for Pousada Serra Verde. Photographic & video evidence already presented in the 2020 Audit Report was not included in the new report so as to keep it short.
0.1. Applicant Name & Surname: Jeff & Kemely Parfrey
0.2. Name of Property: Pousada Serra Verde Ecolodge
0.3. Official Name of Company Owning the Property: Pousada Serra Verde LTDA
0.4. Applicant's Official Role in relation to the Property being Rated: Owners
0.5. Name(s) of Person(s) or Company that is the legal owner of the Property: Kemely Parfrey
0.6. Since when has the Property been under the current ownership? 2010
0.7. Accommodation Type & Size: Rural Pousada
0.8. Property Address (actual location): Pousada Serra Verde, Morretes, Brazil
0.9. Business Contact Address: Caixa Postal 166, Morretes, Parana, Brasil, CEP 83350-000
0.11. Number of rooms: 4 chalets
0.12. Number of beds: 15
0.13. Total area of the land of the Property: 25,000 sqm
0.14. Total area of the rooms and common areas? 150 sqm
0.15. Total building footprint (i.e. the part of the land covered by buildings): 200 sqm
0.16. Property Location - Map Coordinates: Google Maps /
Latitude: S25.50592 Longitude W48.86578
0.17. Is the Property currently operating as a tourism accommodation facility with all legal tourism/tax/local permits/licences?
Yes. (Council, Fire and Sanitation Permit numbers were provided to the Auditor)
0.18. Period of Construction: From January of 2018 to December of 2018
0.19. Year of Last Major Renovation: 2018
0.20. Date of first operation as an Accommodation facility: 28 December 2018
SECTION 1 – Environmental Criteria
1.1. Property Siting - If you built the accommodation facilities, through which method did you chose the exact location? We wanted a rural location, close to nature but without causing any destruction to the forest. We found an old agricultural plantation that was abandoned and in a poor state of repair. On this site we could re-purpose a disused site without clearing any forest.
1.2. Nearest Community - Please specify the name of the nearest village or town, its population and distance in km from the property: Morretes is the nearest town, 5km away. The population of the area is 18,000.
1.3. Property Design Criteria: Simple wooden chalets built to a simple local template. We are incorporating green technologies across the site. Our breakfast area has a green roof and we have almost finished building an eco-library. This buildings walls are made from bottles and tyres. The roof is made from recycled materials.
1.3a. Photo of Green Roof of Breakfast Area:
We wrote about this on our Ecoclub blog: https://ecoclub.com/blogs/a-first-attempt-at-a-green-roof
Since building the roof we have had to modify it. The extreme conditions – 40C+ heat, droughts and torrential rains caused many headaches. We’ve adapted it to be a smaller area surrounded by roofing sheets made from recycled materials. This has, so far been successful.
1.3b. Photo of Eco-library
So far we have used 5,000 used beer bottles and 150 used car tyres. We hope to finish this labour of love over the next 3 months.
1.4. Property Construction Method: Completed by ourselves and local builders.
1.5. Property Renovation & Maintenance: Maintenance is completed by ourselves with the assistance of local builders/electricians/specialists.
1.6. Zoning Requirements: All requirements complied with during the planning phase to achieve council approval.
1.6a. Were there any zoning requirements in relation to how many trees could be felled or what percentage of the land could be built?
No. There are protected species but not real controls. We didn’t remove any native trees during building. We removed ‘scrub’ and pupunha which is a cash crop that had been planted across the property.
1.7. Biodiversity Conservation: The site was a disused plantation badly in need of repair and refuse removal. Rubbish and debris have been removed from the site, streams unblocked and the land has been managed rather than cleared. We have planted many (over 1,000) local plants across the site. Many plants, animals and birds have returned to the land now.
1.7a. Photo of new plants you have planted. Also if you have a list of local plant species planted.
Too many to list, but as some of the most recent:
Various, but most recently: Baguacu, Canela, Cedrinho, Jequitiba, Jucara, Pau Alazao, Pau Oleo and Pindaiba.
1.8. Greenhouse gas emissions (monitoring, managed): We measure our Carbon Footprint and have a set of goals to reduce this. We are signatory members of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism. As such we measure and publish our carbon footprint on our website. More details can be provided if required.
Link to website page illustrating measurement of carbon footprint:
1.9. Environmentally preferable purchasing: The opportunities for this are very limited in rural Brazil. We would have to drive a round trip of 150km to find a good range of products as none are available locally. Wherever possible we purchase locally produced products, mainly directly from the producer.
1.9a. Photos relating to coffee production and packaging.
1.9b. Photos of free range chickens
1.10. Local & organic products: We promote local products and also we grow some vegetables organically at our own campus.
We grow an ever increasing amount of produce. At the moment this includes: Banana’s, Avocado, Guava, Oranges, lemons, Jabuticaba, pineapple, Star Fruit, pupunha & Papaya. We also cultivate and produce our own coffee. We have free range chickens which provide us with our own supply of eggs.
We have strong relations with several local producers (all less than 1km away). These include:
- Rosana Conservas who produces jams, conserves and fruit;
- Julio a local farmer who supplies us with Passion Fruit, vagam, peppers and ochra;
- Ze do Cachimbo grows and supplies dragon fruit, cassava, ochra and eggs.
- Bananina locally made snacks which we provide to our guests.
1.10.a. Photo of one or more local producer(s)
Rosana conservas, Sr Ze & Barbara at Bananina.
1.11. Pesticide use: We don’t use pesticides.
1.12: Environmental Management System: We have an EMS which can be found on:
1.13. Appliances/Devices Maintenance: We are a small simple business with very few appliances and no plant that requires maintenance. If we require maintenance support this is done by ourselves or sourced locally.
1.14. Lighting: We use LED lightbulbs throughout the property. Minimal lighting levels are used where ever possible.
1.15. Heating: There is no requirement for heating here.
1.16. Cooling: Our simple chalets are designed to heat up during the day and then cool down over night. We have no air conditioning units but do have ceiling fans for our guest’s comfort. (temperatures can exceed 40C in summer here).
1.17. Cleaning: The opportunities to buy organic cleaning materials are very limited in rural Brazil. We would have to drive a round trip of 150km to find a good range of products as none are available locally. Principally we use soap and re-usable cloths rather than disposable products. Unfortunately there is no available alternative to disinfectant, so we use this minimally.
1.18. Water Management: Our water processes are completely self-contained at Pousada Serra Verde. All water comes from our own well and is then gravity fed around the site. All our waste water goes into one of two septic tanks. These were built with a three-stage filtration system and inspected by the local sanitation department before being commissioned. The council engineer assures us that you can drink the water that comes out of the final filtration stage.
1.18a. Photo illustrating water management:
We have a simple system. A well, which pumps to a 5,000 litre storage tank. The whole system is then gravity fed. Waste goes into underground fossa’s (a type of septic tank). They have 3 chambers and at the end of the process clean water comes out. Most of the system is underground so it’s difficult to photograph.
1.19. Rainwater & grey water recycling: We live in the rainforest where it rains very heavily most days. The volume of water is such that our local river increases its level by 1 meter in under an hour. Therefore the focus is on channelling the volume of water rather than storing it. To this end we have dug several grass drainage channels around the site and limited the use of non-porous surfaces to help with the management of rainwater.
1.19a. Photo of a grass drainage channel
1.20. Irrigation: Irrigation is not required due to the levels of daily rainfall.
1.21. Composting: We have several compost pits for managing natural forest debris.
1.21a. Photo of compost pit:
Since having chickens the amount of things put to compost has reduced a lot.
1.22. Pool Management: Our pool is a conventional pool, fed with water from our well.
1.22a. What type of chemicals are used in pool water management if any?
We use cloro, it’s the only available option. We have started work on a natural flow pool, which won’t require chemical treatment, but it will be several months before this is completed.
1.23. Species used in outdoor planting: We use only plants local to the area and sourced from local farmers and neighbours. We are also part of the ‘Unendangered Forest’ program which is a local program to replant the Atlantic Rainforest with native species. Link: https://serraverdesite.wordpress.com/2022/05/31/the-un-endangered-forest-program/
1.24. Paper products: We don’t use disposable paper products at the Pousada. We avoid printing unless necessary.
1.25. Durable goods: Durable goods are either built on site or sourced locally. In Brazil it is possible to repair most durable goods and we follow this practice, only replacing when absolutely necessary. Energy ratings are considered where possible in electrical purchases.
1.26. Beverages provision: All our chalets have traditional clay water filters to help reduce guests need to use plastic bottled water. We make fresh juice for breakfast using whichever fruits are available on the day.
1.27. Detergents & Toiletries: We don’t give travel toiletries to our guests. Bio/eco-friendly detergents aren’t available locally. We would have to drive a round trip of 150km to find these products which would seem to defeat the objective.
1.27a. Would you consider asking travellers to bring eco-friendly detergents and other hard to get eco products with them?
No, this is not a viable option in the Brazilian market.
1.28. Used Textiles & furniture: Our furniture is from 3 main sources: 1) made onsite from repurposed pallets, 2) bamboo furniture, 3) Second hand furniture bought locally which we have restored. Our textiles and bedding are bought to tailored and adjusted by a local seamstress.
1.28a. Photos of furniture made from repurposed pallet:
Frame for chicken coup
Fridge housing and water filter stand:
1.29. Cooking: We use locally produced and grown produce where ever possible.
1.30. Waste Prevention: We don’t use disposable items. Food is prepared carefully with a limited offer so that waste is not an issue. If any food is left over this is either fed to the chickens or composted.
1.31. Waste sorting & recycling: We ask our guest to separate glass, cans and compostable waste. We give the cans to local people who can receive money for recycling them. We use bottles from neighbours and local bars in the construction of eco-buildings. We also collect used car tyres for onsite building projects. We are signatory members of The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative and so measure and publish our plastic consumption on our website. We have completely removed single use plastics from our guest chalets.
1.31a. Links to website pages on plastic consumption:
1.32. Insect, pest control: We have an abundance of frogs and geckos that provide a natural balance in our environment. All our chalets have nets across the windows to prevent pests entering.
1.33. Noise Protection: We operate a ‘Quiet Time’ policy between 9pm and 8am. We also don’t allow music in communal areas.
1.34. Smoking Policy: We don’t allow smoking in the chalets or communal areas.
1.35. Environmental Transport Use and/or Promotion: The nearest public transport is 5km away from the Pousada. We encourage guests to bring bikes, provide routemaps for walks and bike rides. We work closely with local tour operators for bikehire.
1.36. Is the Property accessible by public transport (such as bus, train, boat)? No. The nearest public transport is 5km away from the Pousada.
1.37. Energy Consumption: In 2022 we installed solar panels across the pousada and produce over 80% of our own energy. The system feeds into the grid, so there are no issues with batteries. We have also installed and are testing a solar powered water heater to use for the chalet showers.
1.37.a. Photo illustrating the solar panels and system feeding into grid.
We have 8 panels. There is no way to show them feeding into the grid.
1.37.b. Photo of solar powered water heater:
1.38. Staff Training: Staff are trained to be aware of the EMS and to cover all aspects of their role.
1.39. Information for Guests: We check in guests personally to give a full brief. We also have a guest book in each chalet. This contains information on the Pousada, local places to visit and environmental information.
1.39a. Photo of guest book first page:
1.40. Animal Rights Policy: We don’t have a formal Animal Rights Policy. We live in the forest surrounded by nature. We don’t accept cruelty towards animals from our guests or employee. We currently have dogs, cats and chickens. The Pousada is pet friendly.
1.41 Anything else you would like to mention in this section? Attitudes in Brazil regarding the environment are generally a long way behind those in Europe. Accessing ‘Green’ technologies is difficult and there is a real lack of ‘green’ products compared to my experiences in the UK. We work hard to minimise our impact on the environment and actively try to help forest regeneration. We also try to share this information with our guests and local community. Please also see our EMS Policy and our Carbon Footprint Measurement.
SECTION 2 – Political Criteria
2.1. Compliance with local health and safety regulations: We operate above the level of local H&S regulations.
2.1a. Photo of certificate of compliance:
2.2. Accessibility: All chalets have ramped access and we have one fully accessible chalet designed for wheelchair users.
2.2.a. Photos of fully accessible chalet:
2.3. Communal and Indigenous Rights: We treat all people with respect to their heritage.
2.4. Labour Rights: We treat our employee and those who come to do temporary works for us with respect. We provide good work conditions and on average a rate of pay 20% above the local average. This has helped cement relations with local people.
2.5. Equal opportunity: We work with people on their ability to complete the role or job in hand. All people are treated equally.
2.6. Prevention of employee harassment: We only have one employee, but treat all people with fairness and respect.
2.7. Equal employment opportunities to local residents? We have always felt it’s important to be part of the community and to this end we only employ local residents.
2.8. Health insurance and Pension: We only have one part-time worker. He is self employed as a small business, which was his choice. We pay around 20% higher than the average rate of pay locally.
2.8a. Video of employee saying anything they like:
Seen by Auditor, hidden upon request.
2.9. Paid Leave: We adhere to local employment law regarding paid leave.
2.10. Maternity Leave: We adhere to local employment law regarding maternity leave.
2.11. Paternity Leave: We adhere to local employment law regarding paternity leave.
2.12. Wage Levels: We pay R$100 per day. The ‘normal’ local rate is R$70-80 per day. Pro-rata this is R$2,166 per month against the minimum wage of R$1,300 per month.
2.12a. Photo of some type of evidence such as a receipt from your employee, either daily, monthly or annual:
Our employee does not provide receipts, so there is no physical evidence of this.
2.13. What was the total amount paid for wages last year? [Amount provided to the Auditor, hidden on request].
2.14. What is the average wage, the highest wage, and the lowest wage?
As above (see 2.12.)
2.15. Average and maximum working day, and work hours per week: 7.5 hours per day. 2 days per week.
2.16. Do you employ your staff all year round? Yes.
2.17. Do you employ immigrants? Are they permanent or temporary employees? Are they offered the same remuneration & benefits? We don’t at the moment but if we did then they’d be offered the same remuneration and benefits.
2.18. Do you employ trainees? Please explain what type of tasks they perform, how much they are paid, how many hours do they work and how do you source them? No – we only have one part-time employee at the moment.
2.19. Do you use volunteers? Please explain what tasks they are given?No we don’t. We prefer to support the local community and employ local people where possible. Furthermore there isn’t really a ‘volunteer’ culture here.
2.20. Do you offer concessions to elderly visitors, students, young visitors, or nationals? No. Though our rates are amongst the lowest in the local area. We believe in accessible tourism for all rather than targeting specific groups.
2.21. What measures are in place to protect the local (or the indigenous) population from some adverse impacts of tourism? We have a very small footprint. We only have 4 chalets and there are no other hotels nearby. We enforce a quiet time between 9pm and 8am and explain to the guests which locals are happy to receive visitors and which ones prefer to be left alone.
2.22. Do you undertake any injustice reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to injustice reduction? No
2.23. What is the minimum, maximum and average age of your current employees (excluding yourself and members of the family)? (Provided, and hidden as there is just one employee)
2.24. How many employees do you have (excluding yourself and members of the family)? 1 part time employee (though he is self-employed).
2.25. Is everyone accepted as a guest or are there any regulations / restrictions? Yes we accept everyone.
2.26. If owned by a person or family, since when has the person or the family been residing in the area, and for how many months each year? We have lived onsite since December 2017. We live here all year round.
2.27. How are decisions taken and by whom? As owners my wife and I make the decisions. We usually canvass advice and opinion from our neighbours and other locals. We then use this information to arrive at our decision.
2.28. Who has access to the Property’s facilities and its land and for what uses? Our guests have full access. Neighbours and local people have access to our Rainforest Reserve and our reading room.
2.29. Do your employees belong to a labour/trade union? No
2.30. Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy? Not really needed with 1 part-time employee. If we expand then a policy would be put in place.
2.31. Anything else you would like to mention in this section? We are only a small business with one part-time employee but we do respect human rights, labour rights and animal rights. Furthermore we communicate these beliefs in our dealings with guests, suppliers and partners. There is a strong local culture for rural workers to be self-employed and they actively resist being tied to an employment contract. So though we give regular work – 2 days per week, to the same man throughout the year he is not technically our employee, through his own choice. The government has created a MEI system for this type of self employed worker, which provides a pension.
SECTION 3 – Economic Criteria
3.1. Who took the initiative to build this Property? My wife and I.
3.2. Do you undertake or support any Poverty reduction initiatives? As outlined in the sections above we source products and labour locally. We do this through our small English School in the local town. Our normal rates are a third of the ‘normal’ school rate which makes us accessible for many who could not otherwise afford to study English. Our English is a great tool for reaching out into the community. We are now in the second year of The Rodrigo Borhausen Scholarship Program. The program gives 4 fully funded English Scholarships to local people, we set it up in memory of Rodrigo, student who died during the Covid Pandemic. We are also support a local Taekwondo Project which offers free classes to children and young people, regardless of their background.
3.2a. Photo of English School, Photo of Materials relating to the English Scholarships, Photo of Taekwondo Project:
3.3. Do you undertake or support any Injustice reduction initiatives?
3.4. Please explain your policies towards local suppliers of all types (services and products, including cooking supplies, cleaning products, furniture, bedding, fittings, bath items, and appliances): We purchase locally where possible. Where available we buy direct from the supplier and if not we use local markets.
3.5. Number of employees (excluding yourself and members of the family)?
total: 1 of which, full-time: 0 part-time: 1 interns: 0 volunteers:0 immigrants:0
3.6. Number of employees from the local community
3.7. Do your employees or the community own any shares or share part of the revenue?
3.8. Total turnover (total sales) in 2021 and in 2022? (please state in your local currency)
(hidden upon request)
3.9. Total profits in 2021 and in 2022?
(hidden upon request)
3.10. How are profits distributed, and who decides about it?
There are no profits!
3.11. Are there any national and/or local (municipal) taxes to be paid or are you exempt?
We pay taxes locally and nationally
3.12. What was the total amount of income taxes paid in 2021 and 2022 (or an estimate if not yet paid)?
2021: Hidden upon request (7.8% of total sales) 2022: Hidden upon request (7.65% of total sales)
3.13. What percentage of consumables are locally sourced, how many are nationally sourced, and how many are imported?
We don’t import anything. Approximately 70% are sourced locally and 30% within the state.
3.14. Do you cultivate food for the guests?
Yes – as per section 1.10. We grow an ever increasing amount of produce. At the moment this includes: Banana’s, Avocado, Guava, Oranges, lemons, Jabuticaba, pineapple, Star Fruit, pupunha & Papaya. We also cultivate and produce our own coffee. We have free range chickens which provide us with our own supply of eggs.
3.15. Do you have any specific, fixed agreements with local food producers?
Yes as per section 1.10. We have strong relations with several local producers (all less than 1km away). These include:
· Rosana Conservas who produces jams, conserves and fruit;
· Julio a local farmer who supplies us with Passion Fruit, vagam, peppers and ochra;
· Ze do Cachimbo grows and supplies dragon fruit, cassava, ochra and eggs.
· Bananina locally made snacks which we provide to our guests.
3.16. Have ever you received any funding, state, national, private or international and for what purposes?
3.17. What is the minimum (low season) double room rate (including breakfast) per room per night?
3.18. What is the maximum (high season) double room rate (including breakfast) per room per night?
R$399 (New Year)
3.19. Are you planning to sell the property within the foreseeable future, and if so why?
3.20. Have you explored and would you consider involving the employees and/or the local community as co-owners?
3.21. Is the Property open all year round? If not, please provide relevant dates.
3.22. Which is the nearest local community (village or town) and how far is it from the lodge (in Km)?
3.23. Did the (nearest) local community participate in the decision-making process concerning the founding and creation of this Lodge and how?
3.24. Does the (nearest) local community participate in the running of the lodge and how?
We are active members of several local groups that aim to improve sustainable tourism in the area: The Grande Reserva Mata Atlantica ADETUR and Turismo Morretes.
3.25. Anything else you would like to mention in this section?
We helped to write and implement procedures for the towns tourism business’ to deal with COVID-19 and the responsible re-introduction of tourism. The last few years have been incredibly difficult here.
3.25a. Photo or Link to any materials relating to responsible re-introduction of tourism:
This was several years ago now and things have moved on.
1) We provided written guidance/checklists for all pousadas and hotels on how to safely work in a Covid environment.
2) Collated and published a short report showing the impact of tourism on the town.
3) Were part of the working group that agreed measures to help the responsible reintroduction of tourism to the town. These included a best practices poster campaign, distributed and discussed on a 1:1 basis and the implementation of a QR Code entry system for the first month to restrict and educate the numbers of people entering the town.
SECTION 4 – Educational Criteria
4.1. Information and interpretation: We show our guests around the grounds, explaining about the native plants and animals.
4.1.a. Photos of guests being shown around the grounds:
4.2. Cultural interactions? We have information on local producers and some sample products in the chalets to stimulate guest interest and we then cultivate this interest through conversation and encourage guests to visit local producers.
4.3. Cultural Heritage Conservation? We support a local charity ‘Freguesia do Livro’. Our ‘reading station’ in the heart of the Atlantic Rainforest is the perfect setting to enjoy a good read!
Freguesia do Livro is an organization based in Curitiba who’s goal is to ‘encourage reading through free literary circulation’. The initiative encourages reading for everyone everywhere. Since 2011 they have been collecting books and creating ‘reading stations, as well as assisting in the creation and maintenance of community libraries. This year we also opened a community library at our English school, which is in the middle of the local town.
4.3a. Photo of Community library
4.4. Natural Heritage Conservation?
We have our own small Rainforest Reserve, the Reserva Serra Verde. This one acre area of primary rainforest is accessible for guests and locals to enjoy. Through our involvement with the unendangered forest program we have been replanting areas around the pousada with native species. Our goal is to increase the size of the reserve over the coming years.
4.4.a. Photo from the Reserva Serra Verde:
4.5. Do you encourage guests to interact with the local community and in what ways? Yes. We discuss walks they can do which include local producers. The guests enjoy the local experience and the locals enjoy the interaction and trade.
4.6. Type of information is available to guests at the Property:
1) Guest book in chalet contains lots of information on what to do, the environment and so on.
2) We talk to our guests at Check-in and breakfast as a minimum. We share knowledge about plants, animals, birds, things to do locally and so on.
4.7. Type of activities are available to guests at the Property: We have several trails to walk on site and provide guidance for longer ‘loop’ trails offsite ranging from 2 -10km. We have a pool and our river offers great swimming opportunities. We also have BBQ areas at each chalet and a games room and library. People come here to relax and get closer to nature.
4.7.a. Photo of typical trail:
4.8. Local guided tours for guests organised by you? We offer a range of self guided trails to our guests which start and finish at the property. We also arrange visits to local artisanal producers. These are all provided free of charge for our guests.
4.9. Events/presentations held at the Property so far? None so far.
4.9a. Have you organised/would you consider organising events at the Ecolodge with local artists, for example a live music evening for your guests?
We only have 4 chalets and a maximum occupancy of 15 people so the numbers are very low to work with. We have tried over the years to run small events with limited success due to the numbers involved. We’ve had more success running get togethers for the local community which we typically do a couple times a year.
4.10. Is there a specific programme for children (young guests)?
We have designed and built a ‘Fairy Trail’ for children. This is to engage them and get them to enjoy exploring nature.
4.11. Academic Research and Academic Publications produced or assisted by the property so far? None.
4.12. Are there any local educational or cultural initiatives or facilities that you support and in which way?
Being part of the community has been a key objective since living here. It forms part of all our decision-making processes. Our English is a great tool for reaching out into the community. We are now in the second year of The Rodrigo Borhausen Scholarship Program. The program gives 4 fully funded English Scholarships to local people, we set it up in memory of Rodrigo, student who died during the Covid Pandemic. We are also support a local Taekwondo Project which offers free classes to children and young people, regardless of their background.
4.13. Do you support any progressive political initiatives and in which way?
Brasilian politics brings corruption to another level – both left and right are mired in corruption scandals of such vast proportions that the average European would struggle to comprehend. In reality, despite what the western media says, there aren’t any ‘clean’ progressive political initiatives here.
4.14. Anything else you would like to mention in this section?
Nothing more to add.
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