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Why the Millbrook Resort is so 5ustainable

Globally, luxury and sporty car brand BMW is heavily involved in sustainability, from manufacture, through components, materials and of course emissions, it’s a brand that’s certainly on a mission. Which is why, when it came to the venue for its NZ launch of the all-new i5 M60, it chose Millbrook resort in Queenstown. 

Millbrook resort with BMW i5

Located near quaint and very photogenic Arrowtown and framed by the Remarkables, Millbrook resort is just that, a luxury resort set on 650 acres that offers a premium experience to all that visit. From a challenging round of golf to a relaxing Spa (and everything in between) it really is a place to escape to. However, while you’re happily doing whatever you’re there to do, behind the scenes, Millbrook Resort is working hard at their ongoing commitment to the environment, reducing their waste, water usage and carbon footprint.

Millbrook resort with BMW i5

They say that as a result of our Greener Stay programme launch in 2022 they have successfully eliminated more than 50,000kg of CO2e from going into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to flying the entire circumference of the world almost ten times.

Adding, “To further contribute to the protection and restoration of New Zealand’s natural environment and biodiversity, we are proud to partner with the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust with a goal to plant 5,000 new trees throughout our region.”

Millbrook resort with BMW i5

To add some history, Millbrook was initially settled as a farm back in the 1860s and a lot of the buildings that you see dotted around the expansive facility are the original buildings that they’ve restored. A Japanese family called the Ishii family bought the resort about 32 years ago and developed it into the glorious resort you see today. 

Millbrook resort with BMW i5

Anyway, the sustainability goal for Millbrook has always been environmental, social, cultural, and financial and trying to harmonise all those different areas. One of the initial areas that they focused on was their stream. They understood that when it came to such a large piece of land, the waterways almost always end up as the garbage disposal, so ensuring that their waterways were (and are) as clean as possible was a key focus. 

Millbrook resort with BMW i5

They then redirected some of the stream, building ponds throughout different areas, not only just to create wildlife, but also as silt traps for when there’s heavy rain. So a lot of these ponds catch the silt and then they dredge them every five or ten years. 

These ponds also promote healthy living space and as a result, Millbrook have planted over the last two years about 50,000 natives throughout the stream, and these act as a natural filter. 

Being a world class golfing resort, means that Millbrook gets its share of bad press, particularly when it comes to using chemicals and fertilisers, however, they say that their team is really focusing on minimising these as much as possible. 

“We do need to use some to keep the course looking in great condition, however, we minimise anything towards the waterways and we really try and use organic stuff where possible,” says Ross McLean Operations Manager. 

Millbrook resort with BMW i5

Adding, “The course itself uses about one and a half million litres of water every single night through our irrigation and most of which comes from our own reservoir which is up on our coronet course, and it’s gravity fed down to the other areas. So we try and minimise the impact that we have on the local water supply around the Arrowtown area.”

With regard to the operation, their focus over the last five years has been on the lower hanging fruit and initially it’s around waste reduction. Also removing all single use plastic. 

Millbrook resort with BMW i5

“Now we’re not quite there, it can be quite hard to get our producers to change over to a sustainable packaging,” says Ross. “But we’ve also managed to move to our composting system. So all the food that comes out of our outlets and gets composted, actually ends up in our garden. And our garden produces about 70% of our vegetable produce for our outlets. 

Ross says that this is quite an easy story to tell to their guests. “It’s a circular economy in that perspective. We’ve also got 110 chickens out there, which has been quite helpful over the last little while actually being able to get our hands on eggs as they’ve definitely been scarce.”

But it would appear that they haven’t stopped there, looking towards the future, they’re currently working on infrastructure and EV charging. 

Millbrook resort with BMW i5

“We see that as being more and more important and you walk through the car park almost every day you see a higher proportion of EVs to ICE cars parked around the place. So we’ve got BMW chargers in the car park (part of BMW Group’s worldwide initiative of ‘destination charging’), initially six of them across there. We do have a plan for hyper chargers for fast chargers, and we’re looking to move our own fleet across to that EV space.”

Ross says that also in the future they’ll be looking at how they reduce the energy impact that that we have through the likes of solar or potentially hydro using the stream.

“And also our reduction in water use across the resort, whilst maintaining a luxury five star product, but we’re confident that over time luxury changes. Luxury isn’t about opening lots of smaller bottles and throwing them in the bin like it potentially used to be 10-15 years ago, luxury is beginning to evolve and we’re just trying to evolve with that, and more in the sustainable space.”

Millbrook resort with BMW i5

Ross ended by saying that there’s more about this on their website, but his information certainly added to the BMW i5 sustainability story and had me sleeping well later on my environmentally-friendly pillow. 

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