Soneva wins the prestigious WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Award 2015 in the Environment category. The award is regarded as the Oscars for sustainability in travel and tourism.
WTTC awarded Soneva for its efforts in pioneering environmental sustainability at its two resorts, located in the Maldives (Soneva Fushi) and Thailand (Soneva Kiri).
By adding a two per cent environmental levy to our guests’ bills, Soneva has raised around USD 5.7 million towards environmental projects. Projects will mitigate 1 million tonnes CO2 over seven years; far exceeding Soneva’s carbon footprint including guest flights. So far, projects have reached 150,000+ people.
Similarly, the company banned imported water in 2008 and produces all of its drinking water on site. This has reduced carbon emissions and also avoided 900,000 plastic bottles that would need to be disposed of. The savings achieved from this has been used through the SLOW LIFE Foundation to give over 600,000 people access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Reaching beyond its business
Soneva has convened some of the world’s greatest minds across science, business, philanthropy and policy at its annual SLOW LIFE Symposium. Described by one of our participants as a ‘laboratory of intent’, the event provides leaders with the time and space to address environmental challenges and to create tangible, collaborative solutions.
And it has delivered real results. In 2011 the WHOLE WORLD Water initiative was conceived. Scaling the Soneva model of filtering and bottling water locally and donating a percentage of revenues to clean water initiatives, the model eliminates plastic waste and unnecessary transportation miles and allows the whole travel and tourism industry to unite.
Soneva recycles over 80% of its waste through its state-of-the art Eco Centro ‘Waste to Wealth’ programme. Soneva is also a global influencer, as the company has pioneered the development of their own Soneva Carbon Calculator and environmental profit and loss tool in order to measure and further reduce the environmental impact of their operations and supply chain.
Oscars for sustainability in travel & tourism
The award is one of the few where they physically visit the winners as part of the judging process. It is arguably regarded as the Oscars of environmental / sustainability awards in the hospitality industry.
Each year, more than 20 international experts from around the world, representing the private sector, academic institutions, non-profit organisations, and governments, come together as independent judges to select the finalists and winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The judging process, where independent experts visit each of the 15 finalists, is the most rigorous of any awards process in the travel & tourism industry.
It is the second time the company wins the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. In 2008 the company won the Global Tourism Business category of the Tourism for Tomorrow under the trade name Six Senses. The Six Senses brand was sold off in 2012 and the company changed back to its original name Soneva.