Soneva Fushi nominated to two Eco Awards

Soneva Fushi nominated to two eco awards for its No News No Shoes experience. Photo: Dan Kulberg

Soneva Fushi nominated to two eco awards for its No News No Shoes experience.
Photo: Dan Kulberg

Soneva Fushi is nominated to the Smith Hotel Awards 2014 in the Eco Award category. The resort is also nominated to the MATATO Maldives Travel Awards 2014 in the Leading Eco Resort category.

Both awards honour the company’s committed to leading the fight against climate change within the tourism sector. In addition to dealing with operational matters related energy, water and waste, Soneva Fushi has gone beyond its remit and addressed the CO2 emissions derived from guests’ international air travel.

The awards are open of online voting until 30 September 2014. To vote for Soneva Fushi follow the links below:
– Smith Hotel Awards 2014 – The Eco Award
– MATATO Maldives Travel Awards 2014 – Leading Eco Resort

Carbon levy
Soneva Fushi showed bold leadership by introducing a 2% carbon levy on room revenue in 2008 that to date has raised USD 5.5 million.

Myanmar Stoves Campaign Photo: Adam Oswell

Myanmar Stoves Campaign
Photo: Adam Oswell

These funds have been invested in projects that will mitigate far more than Soneva Fushi’s own total carbon footprint (including guest flights) which equates to approximately 1 million tons CO2 over the next seven years. So far these projects have improved the lives of 150,000 people.

Projects include Myanmar Stoves Campaign, Darfur Stoves Project and Soneva Forest Restoration.

Soneva Fushi’s total carbon footprint amounted to 21,279 tons CO2 (including guest air travel) in 2013-14. Only 18% of this figure arises from energy used at resort level, which is the common measure. 70% of Soneva’s carbon footprint is derived from guest air travel, emissions that cannot be controlled directly by the resorts’ actions. The remaining 12% is derived from ground travel, freight, food, paper, waste and water.

Clean Water Projects
Soneva Fushi banned imported bottled water in 2008. As a result, 600,000 plastic bottles have been deferred from landfill and over 600,000 people have access to safe water.

Photo: Soneva/Cat Vinton

Soneva Drinking Water Photo: Cat Vinton

Main implementation partners have been Water Charity and Thirst Aid.

As an extension to this work they were involved in establishing the WHOLE WORLD Water campaign, which aims to unite the hospitality industry in fighting water poverty.

Waste Management
Virtually no solid waste leaves the island. Over 80% of Soneva waste is recycled, with only a small proportion of waste responsibly sent to landfill off the island.

Photo: Cat Vinton/Soneva

Soneva Fushi composting Photo: Cat Vinton

100% of food waste is composted and the fertile soil produced as a result is reused in their vegetable gardens. 3,000 m2 of land is set aside for vegetable gardens where we follow organic principles to grow 9,000 kgs of produce per year. Thus, despite being situated in the Maldives, far from good quality agricultural land, we regularly received guest comments praising Soneva Fushi’s rocket salad as tasting far better than top city restaurants!

The overall carbon footprint of Soneva waste management is 63 tons of negative CO2 emissions per year. This means their recycling efforts result in more CO2 avoidance than production – the essence of Soneva Fushi’s SLOW LIFE programme.

Marine protection
Since its inception, Soneva Fushi has protected its own 50 ha island and 119 ha of house reef. However, of even greater significance is the influence we can have on marine protection on a wider scale. Soneva Fushi led the way to form the BAARU organization – a collaborative platform between the Baa Atoll resorts – which meets monthly to discuss sustainability issues in the Atoll.

Snorkelling with Soneva Fushi marine biologist at Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve. Photo: Antonina Gern

Snorkelling with Soneva Fushi marine biologist at Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve. Photo: Antonina Gern

Marine biologists based at Soneva Fushi worked with five other resorts in the Baa Atoll since 2007 to secure recognition for Baa Atoll as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This was achieved in 2011.

There is however still much more work to be done, to help others achieve appropriate standards to protect the marine world. For instance, Soneva Fushi is the only Baa Atoll resort that has banned night fishing due to its destructive attributes.

Soneva strives to provide a blueprint for the hospitality industry. The company innovates to reduce its own emissions and costs and also to demonstrate to its peers that this is possible.


SLOW LIFE Symposium 2013 participants. Photo: Cat Vinton

The SLOW LIFE Foundation was set up by Soneva founders Sonu and Eva Shivdasani to support the environmental initiatives of Soneva and influence the hospitality industry on a global scale. The SLOW LIFE Symposium was founded by the SLOW LIFE Foundation as a means to extend influence beyond Soneva’s own networks and beyond the hospitality industry.

The event is hosted by Soneva and each year gathers the best minds from across multiple disciplines for a three day gathering to brainstorm new solutions to environmental and social problems. Success of the event is measured by the commitments that participants make to work together on new solutions. Examples of initiatives can be found here.

Related articles:
Soneva Fushi Recycles 81% of Solid Waste
Soneva Wins Sustainable Luxury Award 2014
FINished with Fins Names Soneva Fushi its Maldives HQ
Soneva Fushi Wins Leading Eco Resort Award
Soneva Wins Wild Asia 2013 Responsible Tourism Award


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