Pousada Serra Verde

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Come with us on a journey to discover the Mata Atlantica – Brazil’s endangered rainforest. Pousada Serra Verde is nestled in the foothills of the Picos do Marumbi close to the charming colonial town of Morretes. Here you can relax and unwind in beautiful surroundings, and really be at one with nature. Explore the rainforest, take a swim in the river or just chill out by the pool the choice is yours. Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature surrounded by birds, flowers and butterflies.

Situated in a beautiful and relaxing environment we offer 3 fully equipped bungalows; each with a TV, fridge, ceiling fan, private bathroom and veranda. With ample parking, pool and a covered barbeque area, Serra Verde awaits you. We also offer a bunk room and two unique Glamping experiences. Read on to find out more about our fantastic accommodation…

At Serra Verde we even have our own Rainforest Reserve. Take the trail through the primary rainforest, ensuring that you pause to take in the beauty of your surroundings. The Reserva Serra Verde was created in 2010 and is a 4,200sqm area of pristine, rare Atlantic Rainforest. As a friend of Serra Verde you will help us achieve our aims.

Establishment year: 2019

This Ecoclub Ecolodge™ Ecolabel Desktop Audit Report was prepared by the Ecoclub Ecolodge Ecolabel Administrator based on material provided by the Proprietors of Pousada Serra Verde. The Ecoclub Ecolodge Ecolabel Auditor has reviewed the report and is satisfied that the accommodation facility meets the requirements for the award of the Ecoclub Ecolodge Ecolabel. The report was approved on 15 June 2023 and Pousada Serra Verde is hereby accepted and certified as an Ecoclub Ecolodge™ through 15 June 2023.


0.1. Applicant Name & Surname: Jeff & Kemely Parfrey

0.2. Official Name of Property: Pousada Serra Verde

0.3. Official Name of Company: 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, Parana, Brazil

0.9. Business Contact Address: Caixa Postal 166, Morretes, Parana, Brasil, CEP 83350-000 (this is a post office box as there is no postal service where we are located)

0.10. Property Website(s)/Blog(s)

www.pousadaserra-verde.com / www.serra-verde.com / https://serraverdesite.wordpress.com/ 

0.11. Property Location - Map Coordinates: Google Maps / S25.50592 W48.86578

0.12. Is the Property currently operating as a tourism accommodation facility with all legal tourism/tax/local permits/licences?

Yes. Permit numbers:

Fire: 3101180001146749-47
Council: 55/2017/46/55
Sanitation: CAD20001747


0.13. Period of Construction: From January of 2018 to December of 2019

0.14. Year of Last Major Renovation: 2019

0.15. Date of first operation as an Accommodation facility: 28 December 2019

SECTION 1 – Criterion 1: “Minimise your Environmental Impact.”


1.1. Property Siting: 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 village or town, population and distance from the property: Morretes is the nearest town, 5km away. The population of the area is 18,000. 

1.3. Property Design: 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 are currently building an eco-library. This buildings walls will be made from bottles and tyres. The roof will be made from recycled tetra-packs. 


1.4 Property Construction: 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. Compliance with Zoning Requirements: All requirements complied with during the planning phase to achieve council approval.

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.

1.8. Greenhouse gas emissions: We measure our Carbon Footprint and have a set of goals to reduce this. Our policy has been sent as a separate attachment.

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.

1.10. 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, Star Fruit, pupunha & Papaya. We are currently cultivating our first coffee crop. I am also currently building a chicken coup and area so that we can have 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 & Skrotch Salgados provide locally made snacks which we provide to our guests.

This short YouTube video shows us making our first coffee – from plant to cup!

1.11. Pesticide avoidance: We don’t use chemical pesticides. We use the same system as the local farmers – we spray our fruit and vegetables using tobacco in water.

1.12: Environmental Management System: We have an EMS and a copy of this has been attached.

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.


1.19. 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 drainage channels around the site and limited the use of non-porous surfaces to help with the management of rainwater.

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. We also use stacks of old tyres as compost bins, once full we convert them into planters.

This short video was filmed by Jeff to show a brief overview of how we compost and the results:

1.22. Pool Management: Our pool is a conventional pool, fed with water from our well. We use chlorine powder in the pool. This is the only treatment available locally.

1.23. Species used in outdoor planting: We use only plants local to the area and sourced from local farmers and neighbours.

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.

1.28. 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.


1.29. 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.

1.31. Waste sorting & recycling: We ask our guest to separate paper, glass, plastic and cans. We take paper, plastic and cans to a local recycling centre. We use bottles from neighbours and local bars in the construction of eco-buildings. We also collect used car tyres for onsite building projects.

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 have agreements with local tour operators.

1.36. Accessibility by public transport: No. The nearest public transport is 5km away from the Pousada.

1.37. Consumption Monitoring: Electricity per month per guest: 1.7kw
Water: no way of measuring. The water comes from our own well, is pumped into a water tower, the chalets are all gravity fed with water and the waste goes into our own septic tanks.

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.

1.40 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. Hopefully with this is mind you can see that we are working hard to minimalize our impact on the environment.

Please also see our EMS Policy and our Carbon Footprint Measurement.

This short video shows Kemely showing the foundations to our library, which will be built from tyres, bottles and tetra-pacs:

SECTION 2 – Criterion 2: “Respect Human Rights, Labour Rights and Animal Rights.”


2.1. Complying with all local health and safety regulations? We operate above the level of local H&S regulations.

2.2. Access for all? All chalets have ramped access and we have one fully accessible chalet designed for wheelchair users.


2.3. Respect local communal and indigenous rights? We treat all people with respect to their heritage.

2.4. Decent work conditions? 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. The principal role of our employee is to assist with grounds maintenance, i.e. grass cutting, tidying fallen foliage and removing fallen trees/branches.

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? Employees already qualify for a state pension and healthcare and most have little interest in private schemes. We only have one part-time worker. We pay 20% above the normal rate rather than offering health insurance and pension. This is a preferred option for local people. There is no obligation to provide private pension or health care for employees in Brazil. Having talked to local people about what would be of most benefit to them the clear answer was higher salary. This is why we pay an enhanced rate. To be clear we could pay 20% less salary and give no healthcare/pension benefits and still be a legal employer.

2.9. Paid Leave? We adhere to local employment law regarding paid leave (30 days)

2.10. Maternity Leave? We adhere to local employment law regarding maternity leave (120 days).

2.11. Paternity Leave? We adhere to local employment law regarding paternity leave.

2.12. Wage Levels? We pay R$80 per day. The ‘normal’ local rate is R$60 per day. Pro-rata this is R$1,700 per month against the minimum wage of R$1,000 per month.

2.13. What is the total you paid for wages last year? R$ 4160. The sum was paid to one employee who worked for all of 2019. He is not our current employee as he left in January to start his own business. We have a 'new' employee this year.

2.14. What is the average wage, the highest wage, and the lowest wage? We pay R$80 per day. The ‘normal’ local rate is R$60 per day. Pro- rata this is R$1,700 per month against the minimum wage of R$1,000 per month.

2.15. Average and maximum working day, and work hours per week: 8 hours per day. 1 day 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 renumeration and benefits.

2.18. Do you employ trainees? 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)? 35 years old.

2.24. How many employees do you have (excluding yourself and members of the family)?  1 part time employee.

2.25. Is everyone accepted as a guest or are there any regulations / restrictions?  Yes we accept everyone.

2.26. How long have you (the Owners) 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

2.29. Do you have an 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.

2.30. Policy towards Animals? We live in the forest surrounded by nature. We don’t accept cruelty towards animals from our guests or employee. We currently have two dogs and the Pousada is pet friendly.


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.

SECTION 3 – Criterion 3: “Meet Real Local Needs and Reduce Poverty & Inequality.”

3.1. Who took the initiative to build this Property? My wife and I. I first visited Morretes 20 years ago whilst backpacking around South America. My wife and I then returned in 2006 for a short holiday and fell in love with the area. In 2010 we looked at various places that were for sale but when we saw Serra Verde, even though it was run down and overgrown we both immediately knew we had found our home - mountain views, primary rainforest, a river and a fantastic tree lined drive, perfect! We worked hard and saved to be able to move here at the end of 2017. 

3.2. Poverty reduction initiatives? As outlined in the sections above we source products and labour locally. We also give free English Lessons to several locals who could not afford to attend school. 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 school is a seperate business to the Pousada and is located in Morretes 5km away from the Pousada. It is an offcial business with CNPJ: 36-688073/0001-00.
We have around 35 students on various rates. Currently, during COVID around 50% are free, 25% pay a voluntary donation and 25% are paying 'full'.

Pre-COVID our fees were: 5 students were 'free' ie zero fees. Our fees ranged between R$70 and R$120 per month for 2 one hour lessons. Our average per student was R$90 per month. To put this in context average prices at 'branded' English Schools here are around R$300 per month put it out of reach of most of the population.


3.3. Inequality reduction initiatives? No official plan in place at the moment.

3.4. Local purchasing policy? We purchase locally where possible. Where available we buy direct from the supplier and if not we use local markets.

3.5. Number of rooms: 4 chalets.


3.6. Number of beds: 16 in total (2+4+4+6)

3.7. What is the total area of the land of the Property? 25,000 sqm

3.8. What is the total area of the rooms and common areas? 200 sqm

3.9. What is the total building footprint (the part of the land covered by buildings)? 260 sqm

3.10. Number of employees (excluding yourself and members of the family)? 1 part-time employees 

3.11. How many employees are from the (nearest) local community? 1

3.12. Do your employees or the community own any shares or share part of the revenue? No

3.13. What was the total turnover (total sales) in 2019? R$70,000

3.14. What were the total profits in 2019? (Please state the operational profits, without deducting the loan repayment.): R$2,500

3.15. How are profits distributed, and who decides about it? It’s a private business so it’s decided by the owners. The profits go back into improving the Pousada.

3.16. Are there any national and/or local (municipal) taxes to be paid or are you exempt? We pay taxes locally and nationally

3.17. What was the total amount of taxes paid in 2017? R$6,000. The income tax was paid on revenue from Tourism in the Pousada.

3.18. 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.

3.19. 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, Star Fruit, pupunha & Papaya. We are currently cultivating our first coffee crop. I am also currently building a chicken coup and area so that we can have our own supply of eggs.


3.20. Do you have any agreements with local 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 & Skrotch Salgados provide locally made snacks which we provide to our guests.


3.21. Have ever you received any funding, state, national, private or international and for what purposes? No 

3.22. What is the minimum (low season) double room rate (including breakfast) per room per night? R$170

3.23. What is the maximum (high season) double room rate (including breakfast) per room per night? R$350

3.24. Are you planning to sell the property within the foreseeable future, and if so why? No

3.25. If planning to sell the Property, have you explored and do you consider solutions involving the local community or members there of as owners? N/A

3.26. Is the Property open all year? If not, please provide relevant dates: Yes

3.27. Which is the nearest local community (village or town) and how far is it from the lodge: 5km.

3.28. Did the (nearest) local community participate in the decision-making process concerning the founding and creation of this Lodge and how? We are active members of the Morretes Convention and Visitors Bureau, which aims to improve all areas of local tourism in the area. https://www.visitemorretes.com.br/convention 

3.29. Does the (nearest) local community participate in the running of the lodge and how? No but all staff are from the nearby village and thus represent the community.

3.30. Anything else you would like to mention in this section? We have linked up with several like minded businesses that see the future in eco-tourism and we share information and best practice between us. We are trying to steer the convention towards embracing and supporting eco-tourism and have been involved in bringing cultural events to the town. Last year the convention brought Morretes Chef (as the name suggests a food festival) and Flimo (a literary festival ) to the town. During the ongoing COVID lockdown we have been key in writing procedures and policies for the reintroduction of tourism in town and helping present these to the council. We have also instigated the first tourism census of the town as there is no record of the number of people involved in the industry (40% of the working population are involved in tourism and the town was totally unaware of this).

SECTION 4 – Criterion 4: “Increase Knowledge & Intercultural Understanding”.

4.1. Information and interpretation? We show our guests around the grounds, explaining about the native plants and animals.


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. The Reading Station is in a room in the chalet which houses reception and an area for board games. It is unlocked 8am - 10pm. Guests use this area frequently and often exchange books here. People from the local community can and do use the facility (it is used more by adults than children).


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. Our goal is to increase the size of the reserve over the coming years. 

Most of the primary rainforest outside the national park is privately owned here.
We would like to increase the area by:
1) Buying rainforest from other private owners and then designating it RPPN staus (protected reserve which means it cant be developed)
2) Buying unused/unwanted farmland and reforesting.

The rainforest is in pockets here - many sections cut down for farming. Our dream is to be able to create a reserve - mixed of reforested and primary forest which exends to the national park boundary - though this is a lifetime goal rather than a short term one.
Boundaries are very sporadic and inconsistent. Our rainforest is on an island so has the river on one side and streams on the other as a defacto boundary. 


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. What 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. What 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. 

4.8. 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.

4.10. Is there a specific programme for children and young travellers?

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. Is the local community at all involved in the operation of the Lodge and how? The local community is involved informally. We meet regularly with those around us and seek guidance on all manner of issues and projects. For example before the COVID-19 lockdown we talked to several local farmers and builders about the merits and difficulties of building a suspension bridge to our Island Rainforest Reserve. The objective being to make it more accessible for wheelchair users and the elderly.

4.13. Anything else you would like to mention in this section?

Being part of the community has been a key objective since living here. It forms part of all our decision making processes. When we opened our English School in the town we wanted to offer accessible language education and have managed to provide 10% of our places totally free. Since the COVID-19 lock down we have continued to teach online, but given the limited means of most of our students this has been on a voluntary basis, which has allowed us to help the community despite being in lock down.

The Friends of Serra Verde Trust is a charitable trust run by volunteers in England. The charities aims are: 1) To protect the existing Atlantic Rainforest in the Reserva Serra Verde, Parana, Brazil; 2) To increase the size of the Reserve; 3) To make part of the reserve accessible to wheelchair users & local school children; 4) To engage the local community in the importance of preserving the local habitat.

Until 2017 we were trustees but we resigned these positions when we moved here. The Trust is run by friends and family so we have links but no formal role.
The charity is part of the Small Charities Coalition but is not registered as it's income isn't big enough (a charity needs to raise £5,000 per year to be registered.)

This short video was made in 2016 and gives a brief overview. The charity are currently updating the website content:

This final video shows that Pousada Serra Verde is an important part of the local community. It was filmed in our community in May 2020: