The award recognizes the accommodation provider that excels in all areas of sustainability by taking into consideration all the key principles of responsible tourism (maximum positive impacts to the local community and minimum negative impacts to the environment) and awards innovation for this most inspiring accommodation of the year.
– Soneva just go so far beyond business as usual… innovation after innovation, active and creative on serious issues.
Soneva Resorts is the original barefoot luxury brand, and still one of the travel industry’s greatest innovators. The acronym SLOW LIFE (Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences) explains the Soneva philosophy. Intelligent Luxury, is all about creating unforgettable, enlightening experiences that rejuvenate each guest’s love of SLOW LIFE. It’s about illuminating lives whilst treading lightly on the earth.
Since its establishment in 1995, Soneva has had a total commitment to responsible business. It was, and still is, endorsed by the founders Sonu and Eva Shivdasani.
Soneva has installed renewable energy, has a 100% self-sufficient water-supply and recycles 85% of its waste.
Soneva measures its carbon footprint using its Soneva Carbon Calculator. The total carbon footprint in 2012-13 was 46,098 tons CO2. Only 14% of these emissions came from energy consumption, which is the figure typically quoted by companies when measuring their carbon footprint. 78% of the emissions came from guest air travel.
To address the carbon emissions not directly under our control we established the Carbon Sense Fund that invests in carbon mitigating projects through the SLOW LIFE Foundation:
- Soneva Forest Restoration Project has in 2011 and 2012 planted 450,000 trees of 90 different species using Framework Species Methodology. A total area of 300 acres of degraded forest land is being restored in Northern Thailand, mitigating 255,000 tonnes of CO2.
- Darfur Stoves Project was established in early 2012. The project will distribute highly efficient cook-stoves to 125,000 families in the war-torn region of Darfur, Sudan, mitigating at least 350,000 tonnes of CO2 over the next seven years. In addition to the climatic benefits the Darfuri families will benefit from lower energy expenses, less time spent foraging for firewood in dangerous areas and less indoor air pollution, one of the biggest killers of women and children in Africa.
- SLOW LIFE in Myanmar is the first Gold Standard carbon registered project in Myanmar. The project will distribute efficient cook stoves to households in rural areas of Myanmar. Benefits of the project to the local community are extensive including monetary savings for households, protection of biodiversity, training and employment opportunities and health benefits from significantly reduced indoor air pollution. All of this can be achieved while offering supporters an attractive return on investment.
Soneva has banned imported bottled water and instead bottle its own Drinking Water enhanced with minerals bottled in reusable glass bottles. Soneva gives 50% of the revenue generated from its water sales to Clean Water Projects. It has funded 488 projects in 55 countries and helped over 600,000 people to have access to safe water.
The Soneva experience was the inspiration for the SLOW LIFE Foundation when it initiated and funded the establishment of the WHOLE WORLD Water campaign, which aims to bring the whole hospitality industry together to address global water challenges.
Soneva Fushi and its marine biologist were heavily involved in securing Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status as well as a nationwide shark-fish ban in the Maldives. Soneva Kiri in Thailand has established a Coral Restoration project. 1,850 corals of 27 species were transplanted and 30 tons of live rock incorporated.
The annual Soneva Nature Trip has become an influential awareness-raising event in the Maldives and part of the national education curriculum. During a week-long excursion to different islands in Baa Atoll, around 100 students go snorkelling, bird-watching and tree-climbing, identify native plants, conduct waste audits in local villages and learn more about climate change and other environmental challenges. 2012 was the 15th anniversary and we passed 1,500 people being trained.
SLOW LIFE Symposium
Soneva arranges its annual Soneva SLOW LIFE Symposium to promote progress sustainability in travel and tourism. The Symposium has drawn environmental leaders like Edward Norton, Sir Richard Branson, Jonathon Porritt and President of the Maldives.
The 4th SLOW LIFE Symposium will be held at Soneva Kiri 7-10 November 2013.
Soneva’s commitment to sustainability reflects the company’s belief that a responsible business is the best business model.
Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award 2008
Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award 2006
2013 SLOW LIFE Symposium – Positive Change & ACTION
SLOW LIFE Foundation Launches Website
Coral Restoration 18 Months