Soneva honoured by World Travel & Tourism Council for environmental initiatives

Sonu Shivdasani of Soneva accepting WTTC award

SONEVA RESORTS AND RESIDENCES, a world-leading luxury resort operator, has been selected as the winner in the ‘Environment’ category in the annual World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow Awards at the WTTC Global Summit.

The awards recognize the world’s best examples of sustainable tourism businesses and destinations around the world.

The Council awarded Soneva for its efforts in pioneering environmental sustainability at its two resorts, located in the Maldives (Soneva Fushi) and Thailand (Soneva Kiri).

“We take our environmental and social responsibilities very seriously. Whether it is developing resorts using sustainable materials, recycling waste materials, conserving water or preserving ecosystems, we are always prepared to take the initiative and challenge established norms,” said Sonu Shivdasani, founder and CEO of Soneva Group.

“At the heart of our company and brand is our ‘Intelligent Luxury’ ethos, creating unforgettable, enlightening experiences whilst treading lightly on the earth. By making small changes to our business model, we have been able to help initiate and nurture positive change in our industry, without any negative impact on either our profitability or on our guests’ perception of our products.

“We are extremely proud to have received this award, which is considered as one of the best sustainability awards in the global travel and tourism industry,” he added.

About Soneva’s Sustainability Initiatives:

By adding a two per cent environmental levy to guests’ bills, Soneva has raised around US 5.7 million towards environmental projects, which will mitigate one million tonnes CO2 over seven years; far exceeding Soneva’s carbon footprint including guest flights. So far, the projects have benefitted more than 150,000 people.

Soneva_Kiri_Aerial_2_by_HelicamnewThe company also banned imported water in 2008 and produces all required drinking water on site. This has reduced carbon emissions and also avoided the estimated 900,000 plastic bottles that would need to be disposed of.  The savings achieved from this have been used through the SLOW LIFE Foundation to give over 600,000 people access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

Soneva convenes some of the world’s greatest minds across science, business, philanthropy and policy at its annual SLOW LIFE Symposiums.

Described by one of the 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.  The events deliver real results. In 2011 the WHOLE WORLD Water initiative was conceived.  Scaling up 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 also recycles over 80% of its waste through its state-of-the art Eco Centro ‘Waste to Wealth’ program.

Soneva is also a global influencer, as the company has pioneered the development of its own Soneva Carbon Calculator and environmental profit and loss tool to measure and further reduce the environmental impact of their operations and supply chain.

Each year, more than 20 international experts from around the world, representing the private sector, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, 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.

“The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards celebrate the very best examples of sustainable tourism businesses and destinations around the world. The Awards have been an established part of our industry for over 20 years, recognised as a way of sharing best practice in ways that everyone in our industry can understand; and to make a real difference to businesses wherever they operate in the world.

“This year’s winners come from across the world and throughout our industry, but each one demonstrates a commitment to running their business to the benefit of their people, their shareholders and the environments they operate in,” said David Scowsill, WTTC’s president and CEO.

For more information about Soneva’s sustainability initiatives visit www.soneva.com or read the latest Sustainability Report at http://www.soneva.com/uploads/wysiwyg/Soneva_Sustainability_Report.pdf

 

 

 

About jimcarr

Freelance writer and blogger, associate editor of Spa Canada Magazine,
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