Local Business Partners
Social and environmental entrepreneurs in Crete regularly attend ESA events as inspirational guest speakers. The founders and directors contribute practical case studies and problem solving learning exercises. ESA's executive leadership retreat programmes include visits to these businesses for sharing of diverse sustainable business practices and experiences.
Biolea specialises in artisan production of organic olive oil, stone milled and cold pressed. Biolea's organic olive oil is exclusively estate-produced and bottled. It strives for excellence by combining innovation and traditional heritage, remaining environmentally accountable and promoting sustainable tourism.
Biolea is based on principles of self-reliance and innovation: operating from a solid scientific base, applying the soundness of the traditional ways of farming and producing olive oil, preserving and promoting tradition and supporting sustainable agriculture on Crete.
"I perceive the term 'Sustainable' as an inseparable qualification for a good business. Greece and all the world needs desperately such businesses. Do not waste time funds and energy in setting up a business if it is not sustainable. If you want to be honest with yourself you have to accept that it doesn't make sense any more." Yiorgos Dimitriadis, Founder and Managing Director of Biolea.
FISIKA produces handmade soap with the use of organic Cretan olive oil as their basic product. It belongs to the two sisters Voula and Filio Syka, and Filio's daughter, Maria Tzanavari–Syka. The three women have brought together their common philosophies and different talents, creating a company that has all the recipe ingredients to qualify as a sustainable business
The company aims to operate with the least possible impact on the environment. Not only does it produce soaps using the cold-press method, which protects the natural wholeness of the olive oil, but it also is committed to good practice on energy performance, water usage, carbon footprint and packaging material.
"The very process of dealing with natural cosmetics, the use and manufacture of soap, and what I learned about the impacts resulting from the use of chemicals made me see things more holistically. We are now using reusable materials, we recycle, we consume little energy and have zero waste." Voula Syka.
Milia is an authentic 17th century mountain settlement which has been transformed into an eco-friendly tourist complex. From its first inception, the environment has featured as a top priority.
The area has been reforested, and organic methods are used for the settlement's farming using its own natural fertilisers. All buildings were renovated using local materials, and use renewable energy from solar power. Much material on the site is re-used, and the rest is recycled.
"At Milia we do not see development in terms of growth, which can not be supported by the natural environment. What we think more about the future is to develop some additional activities, and we have already started producing and selling some products such as jams, sweets, wine, raki, vinegar, rakomelo etc. and I think this has already given us a good plus, because everyone who comes there wants to get something when leaving. We also think that the agricultural part will do very well in the coming years, saving resources for the company and offering more quality products. The organization of outdoor activities is also something that concerns us as they can contribute to the development of the company.
"The environment must be continually enriched, to promote the ecological culture of the business, and to improve the provision of better services to attract the growing and demanding clients of agrotourism." Tasso Gourgoura, Milia.