Academy award-winning actor Susan Sarandon has always been vocal when it comes to the causes she feels strongly about, whether they’re political, social, environmental or about the entertainment industry. So when Fairmont Hotels & Resorts approached her about becoming its new global brand ambassador, she needed to make sure that the international chain’s values were in line with hers. “I asked them certain questions about sustainability and impacts on the environment and the community as well as exactly what their goals are,” says Sarandon. “I had stayed at Fairmont hotels before, but I didn’t know the answers to a lot of those questions. That was important to me, and I was impressed by their commitment to sustainability.”

Sarandon also learned that the hotel and resort chain wrote its Green Partnership Guide in the early 1990s to help encourage other companies to come up with comprehensive global sustainability initiatives and is currently a leader in that field, with programs working toward reforestation, water and energy conservation and food and waste reduction. Now that global travel is opening up, Sarandon feels like it’s time to start thinking about taking trips again, only with a greater focus on safety—not just for travellers but for the well-being of the planet too. We recently spoke with the candid star about the importance of family travel, the causes that are close to her heart and what she never leaves home without.

On taking trips with her kids

“I was very lucky—I was able to drag my kids everywhere. For me, it’s a priority to be able to travel; I would spend money on that before I would spend money on just about anything else. Besides [providing] memories, it made my kids flexible and adaptable and respectful of other cultures, religions and visions and more appreciative of what they had. I’m already dreaming about where I can take my grandkids.”

On what she has missing most about travelling

“The freedom to make the decision to just go somewhere. The past 18 months were so fraught with quarantining, isolation and tests.”

On feeling safe during a hotel stay

“People are taking extra precautions when travelling now. And I think it’s really important to ask what the protocols are. At Fairmont [properties], they really take it seriously and can explain exactly how they keep you safe. I think this is the way it has to be—you don’t feel relaxed unless you know they’re being careful.”

On causes that are close to her heart

“I think that we have to start holding corporations responsible and make them pay the price for their destruction. I think that as long as these big corporate entities are not being held responsible for what they do to the environment and as long as the people at the top keep protecting the people who are causing these major environmental disasters and putting profit above people, our kids are in trouble. The clock is ticking.”

On what she never leaves home without

“I always take a water bottle that I can keep refilling.”

On the Fairmont property she’d like to visit next

“I wouldn’t mind going back to Banff in the winter because it’s so beautiful. But I’ve never been to the Maldives, so that’s also one I want to visit—just maybe not with the kids!”