The Barna Management School Sustainability Research Center and Grupo Punta Cana released for the first time the research case “Fight against sargassum in Punta Cana”, which explains how in 2018 the Grupo Punta Cana Foundation faced the massive arrival of algae to its beaches, joining forces with the technical departments of the business group to combat the plague, experimenting with different models of barriers in the sea and finally obtaining an effective prototype in the containment tests that continue to improve continuously.
Fernando Barrero, vice-rector for academic and research at Barna gave an introduction to the case, pointing out the challenges that the Dominican Republic will face in the next period in the face of the sargassum problem and how Barna uses its Center for Sustainability Research for the analysis of scourges that affect the development of the nation to drive the business community towards an inclusive and sustainable economic model.
For his part, Jake Kheel, VP of Fundación Grupo Puntacana, assured that Grupo Puntacana has been a leader in experimentation in various strategies for the management of sargassum and recounted the ups and downs they have had as a destination to find lasting solutions. “What is valuable is not solving the sargassum problem, but determining how we can manage it in the face of the environment, society and the tourism industry. Our philosophy has always been to share experience, since we understand that through collaboration we advance solutions, not only for the benefit of the destination of Punta Cana, but as a country ”, he stated
The event also had a panel of experts moderated by Eric Moreno, a professor at Barna, and made up of the aforementioned Jake Kheel; Rosa Rijo, Sustainable Development Advisor to the Ministry of the Presidency and expert in sustainability and corporate social responsibility; and Claudio Natella, general manager of Viva Wyndham Dominicus Resorts, who exchanged impressions on the origin, evolution and impact of sargassum on tourism in the Dominican Republic, as well as possible solutions that exist to achieve sustainable development in the current business models of the sector.
Likewise, Rijo assured that the key to the fight against sargassum is to achieve public-private alliances to develop a platform where different actors are given the opportunity for dialogue, since joining forces would be the ideal setting to develop effective alternatives. In the same order, Natella expressed the need for tourism groups to join together in the search for long-term sustainable options for sargassum.
To conclude the event, the contribution of the participants and questions from the attendees were forceful, fulfilling the main purpose of the Barna case to generate a space for debate and reflection on the role of sustainability in the maintenance of strategic assets and as an entity catalyst of innovation.