New short-term rental podcast about sustainability

Morvan Le Boulanger, Head of Sustainability at Olala Homes, shares how to enhance a growth strategy with sustainable practices

This is the third edition of the new short-term rental podcast for property managers who want to learn about sustainability:“The Green Sauce”.

In this first series, you will hear exclusively from Heads of Sustainability at leading property management companies. We have already interviewed Claire Binns from Sykes and Saskia Weber of Interhome. They both shared their experiences and advice for other vacation rental operators wanting to get started. The need to change the way we consume and to lower carbon emissions are global priorities. Importantly, your clients — your guests and owners — are engaged with these topics and taking action themselves. Consequently, this unique short-term rental podcast is for you, if you want to be a leader at the forefront of trends.

The “Green Sauce” podcast is hosted by CEO and Founder of Sustonica, Vanessa de Souza Lage. She combines in-depth short-term rental knowledge with a total commitment to sustainability.



Meet Morvan Le Boulanger, Head of Sustainability at Olala Homes

We are delighted to welcome Morvan as the third guest on our new short-term rental podcast, all about sustainability. Based in Barcelona, Olala Homes operates in a diverse selection of countries. The manage over 500 units, most of which are owned by the company. Morvan is responsible for driving forward the sustainability strategy for the business to reduce the environmental and social impact of the business.


Listen to the podcast with Morvan and Vanessa or watch on YouTube.


1. Why is sustainability important for a property management company

Morvan is one of Olala Homes’ project managers with responsibility for growth and setting standards for opening new units. The company is growing fast with an extensive number of openings coming up. These new units are mainly funded with the company’s own capital, but they are also looking for an investment partner.


Having an ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) strategy attracts investors who now include environmental and social factors in their risk assessments


In addition, Morvan is the company’s Head of Sustainability, taking on this role a year ago. Due to the company’s rapid growth, they are obviously buying more products and employing more people. Morvan highlights that young employees expect that an employer will have a sustainability strategy. It is not a plus, it is a given. Olala Homes’ internal staff are totally engaged and regularly come up with new ideas and projects to push sustainability forward.  Importantly, sustainability instils collaboration across departments. In this way, design, purchasing, HR, operations and marketing all work together towards a common goal.



2. Is it important to have a Head of Sustainability?

Morvan believes that it is crucial to have a Head of Sustainability at a property management company. This is due to the breadth and complexity of the topic. However, Morvan stresses that this does not need to be a full-time role. Although it does need a dedicated team member to ensure that the company keeps progressing. He sees it as a good investment based on the positive response he has seen within the team at Olala Homes. Furthermore, it does not require the employment of a highly qualified sustainability expert. As in his case, it can easily be an existing team member who has an interest in sustainability and wants to be involved. In most cases, you may find that there are too many people internally who are eager to take on the role.


Everyone in our industry is learning, and it is great to be able to share sustainable best practices via this short-term rental podcast


Remember, too, that there is plenty more support for property management companies wanting to start their sustainability journey:

  • all the Sustonica blogs written by sustainability marketing specialist and property owner, Nikki Mattei, who also offers marketing packages for Sustonica clients
  • our partner, EnviroRental, launched by Bob Garner a year ago, is a hub of free resources for vacation rental professionals
  • SCALE Green, the first ever sustainability conference for property managers on 23rd April in London


Listen to or watch our short-term rental podcast for the full conversation



3. Please tell us about the sustainability initiatives you are most proud of?

Morvan tells us about two projects he has initiated for the company in his role as Head of Sustainability – one environmental and one social.

Morvan explains how, over the past year, the company has focused on renewable energy in Portugal, Spain, and Greece. Amazingly, their units in Portugal and Greece are now 100% renewable and around 90% in Spain. This is an incredible achievement, which will result in the reduction of electricity bills, the removal of reliance on volatile energy markets and reduced carbon emissions. With the reducing cost of renewables and subsequent payback times, it is a highly wise investment.

The second initiative that Morvan is very proud of is his work with an organisation which helps people with disabilities who struggle to find jobs. Olala Homes is partnered with one of these organisations in Spain called Envera. Consequently, the company now employs cleaners in 6 of their buildings in Barcelona and will soon do the same in Madrid.


Initially Morvan was somewhat sceptical about introducing sustainability as part of the Olala brand, but now he is clearly seeing the positive impact it is having – for all stakeholders


Morvan stresses the importance of working with all departments within a property management company. Sustainability touches all aspects of running a business, and the second project mentioned above resonates with team members. In this way, employees feel an emotional connection with the company but also with the communities where they manage properties.


Listen to the podcast with Morvan and Vanessa or watch on YouTube.



4. How do you monitor and measure the impact of your sustainability initiatives?

Not many people enjoy filling in spreadsheets, and Morvan is one of them! So he works with a number of platforms to help automatically collect, record and analyse data. These data-driven solutions include Zei, a French company, which facilitates reporting and communication of ESG goals. The second organisation is Biosphere, a sustainability management and certification platform, with Barcelona City Hall providing funding.

In addition, Olala Homes intends to partner with Sustonica to show that they are adhering to high, recognised standards. This is partly in response to property manager clients asking about the standards that Olala is following.

Morvan also explains that it is very important to collaborate with others, particularly as a property management company. Most businesses in our industry are relatively small and cannot afford to have a separate sustainability department.


To learn more about the impact Morvan can show to the Olala C Suite and its property owners, listen to or watch the podcast.



5. How do you communicate your sustainability initiatives to guests?

When guests book through Olala Homes, they receive a confirmation with a link to a digital guide book for the property which explains the sustainable amenities. They also have a stylish printed leaflet with a QR code inside the unit, which explains the company’s commitment to sustainability.

Morvan talks specifically about the drought in Catalonia and the water restrictions already in place. Hence, the company wants to be responsible in its water usage and plans to communicate the situation to guests to garner their support.

Furthermore, it is critical to understand the performance of all your units so that you can invest accordingly based on the age of the property. Of course, in new properties water saving will be part of the design, but there are simple retrofits like replacing shower heads and installing flow reducers on taps. Olala has the advantage of constructing many of its properties. As such, it works with architects from the outset to incorporate best practices to minimise the environmental impact of the building.



6. As you operate across so many countries, including Europe, what is your view about the new green regulations coming in?

Morvan explains that although Olala Homes with 100 employees is too small to be affected by all incoming regulation, it will impact many of their suppliers and their construction of new units. There are strict rules around new buildings in Spain that involve mandatory inclusion of sustainable initiatives like hot water solar panels. So, certainly the company is preparing for these regulations, and Morvan is glad that Olala Homes has already made good progress with its sustainability plans.

More than just regulation, Morvan believes that the pressure to adopt sustainable practices will come from all sides. These include property owner clients and guests, associations and booking platforms. This is why Olala Homes has decided to partner with Sustonica to demonstrate the highest industry standards verified by a third party.


The property management business model is changing to become more sustainable. What are your plans for your future within our industry?



Listen to the podcast with Morvan and Vanessa or watch on YouTube



Catch up on our first two episodes:

Claire Binns, Sykes Holiday Cottages. Listen here or watch on YouTube.

Saskia, Interhome. Listen here or watch on YouTube


If this episode of our sustainability podcast has inspired you to learn more, please subscribe to “The Green Sauce” and access all our episodes!

In our first season, Vanessa will be talking exclusively to Heads of Sustainability from various short-term rental companies around the world. These guests are at the forefront of integrating environmental and socially responsible practices into their business models. 



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