Soneva launches Changemakers Website for Earth Day
Soneva has launched its Soneva Changemakers website in honour of Earth Day, which falls on April 22.
The Changemakers website showcases staff led initiatives, including the protection of the fragile reef environment of the Maldives; waste-to-wealth creation from waste products, high value works of art from recycled glass; water sports activities with local communities to nurture the next generation of ocean stewards; and proactive recruitment drives to improve the career prospects of women working in the hospitality sector.
The Soneva Changemakers is a celebration of the power of the individual to make a difference and an innovative way to share the resorts’ sustainability performance.
Visitors to the site will meet Ali Adil, Astronomer at Soneva Jani, who has been visiting the island since childhood and understands the symbiotic relationship between the mangroves and the crabs that make the island their home. Ellie Butler, Marine Biologist at Soneva Jani, explains her journey from saving dog fish as a child on the south coast of England to protecting turtles in the Indian Ocean. Gordon Jackson, Waste to Wealth Manager, gives an insight into how Soneva recycles 90 per cent of its solid waste and extracts USD 340,000 in value a year through an innovative approach to waste.
Fathimath Shaazleen, Resort Manager at Soneva Jani, celebrates the Maldivian women who are forging successful careers in hospitality in an industry where they are traditionally underrepresented. Rocket, the fisherman, takes us on a journey from his island home to the deep sea to practice sustainable pole and line fishing and bring back the catch that supplies the kitchens at Soneva Fushi.
“The real heroes of our sustainability initiatives are our employees, the committed and passionate individuals that make up Soneva and who are behind every positive figure in our sustainability reports. These are the Soneva Changemakers,” Soneva CEO Sonu Shivdasani was quoted in a statement, as saying.
Sitting alongside the Soneva Changemakers stories is the Soneva Total Impact Assessment (TIA). This is an accounting system that measures the company’s total impact on the planet. The underlying data and subsequent analysis of the TIA allows for more precise sustainability interventions in the company’s operations and supply chain. Soneva first commissioned the TIA in 2015 to provide a holistic view of the environmental, human, social, economic, and fiscal dimensions of the business.
“We are proud to see that our net positive impact increased considerably from the previous year. This is further highlighted as we remain carbon neutral, which includes indirect emissions such as guest flights,” Arnfinn Oines, Soneva’s Social and Environmental Conscience Manager, said.
“We have achieved this with projects such as the Myanmar Stoves Campaign that generated USD 6 million in social value. We are pleased that our waste-to-wealth programme generated USD 400,000 in value while recycling 90 per cent of our solid waste. We have continued to provide local children with environmental education and swimming lessons. We could not have achieved all of this without our amazing team — the Soneva Changemakers.”
The TIA measures impact in five categories – Natural Capital, Human Capital, Social Capital, Economic Capital and Tax – and allows the company to quantify and monetise impact in a language that translates to standard business performance metrics. Soneva’s TIA differs from the usual sustainability reporting in that it assesses the impact of both the company’s direct activities as well as those of its supply chain. Metrics categorised by land use, water consumption, energy consumption and CO2 emissions are used to measure the true cost of the ecosystem services provided to the food and beverage products utilised at the resorts. Using the data collected through the TIA, Soneva adapts its operational procedures to further reduce the gap between positive and negative impacts.
“The stories we tell on the Soneva Changemakers website demonstrate that leadership on sustainability is embedded in the strata of our company. Sustainability is in our DNA. The Soneva Total Impact Assessment informs and fine tunes our decision making and supports our continuing efforts to pioneer environmentally and socially responsible tourism,” Bruce Bromley, Soneva’s CFO and Deputy CEO, said.
Highlights from the 2018 Soneva Total Impact Assessment include:
- Total Impact of USD 52 million. An increase of 12 per cent from the year before.
- Soneva has been carbon neutral since 2012. This includes indirect emissions such as guest flights, which counts for 81 per cent of total emissions.
- Natural Capital cost was USD 14 million, two per cent less than the previous year.
- Ninety per cent of solid waste was recycled and the Soneva Waste-to-Wealth programme generated USD 400,000 in value.
- Social Capital generated USD 6.2 million, with the Myanmar Stoves Campaign as the main social capital generator. Eight thousand families received energy efficient cook stoves; 87 children were taught how to swim with the Soneva Ocean Steward programme; and 106 children attended Eco Camp.
- Human Capital generated USD 2.7 million through employment and training.
World-leading luxury resort operator Soneva runs two resorts in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani.
In 1995, the award-winning luxury resort Soneva Fushi set the standard for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways in the Maldives. Located in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Soneva Fushi pairs Robinson Crusoe fantasy with intelligent luxury.
Sixty-two private villas with their own stretch of beach are hidden among dense foliage within touching distance of a pristine coral reef. Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday butlers.
Highlights include the open-air Cinema Paradiso, counting Saturn’s rings in the high-tech Observatory, the home-made chocolate and ice cream rooms, five hundred wines to choose from, six different restaurants and countless destination dining options. In November 2015, Soneva launched a floating villa concept, Soneva in Aqua, a treasure trove children’s Den and a multi-purpose facility encompasses a glass gallery, boutique and studio where guests can learn the art of glass blowing.
If the experiences are magical, the philosophy is simple: No news, no shoes. No pretensions either.
Opened in December 2016, Soneva Jani is Soneva’s newest property and the world-leading luxury hotel group’s second resort in the Maldives.
Soneva Jani is located on the island of Medhufaru within a 5.6 kilometre lagoon in the Noonu atoll, and has uninterrupted ocean views in all directions. The lagoon is 35 minutes by seaplane from Velana International Airport and one hour by speedboat from Soneva Fushi.
Meaning ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani currently comprises 24 overwater villas and one island villa, with additional villas to be built in phase two. Five islands encircle the lagoon, each one with soft white sands and covered in rich tropical vegetation. Four of the five islands will remain untouched, making Soneva Jani the lowest density development in the Maldives. The overwater villas are spaced across the expansive lagoon, offering privacy and extensive views over the Maldives’ turquoise waters. The island villas will be tucked into the lush greenery, providing the ultimate privacy, and all within steps of the beach.
Soneva Jani’s main guest facilities are located at The Gathering, the heart of the overwater villas. This dramatic three story structure is home to the main dining outlets, in addition to the Soneva Spa, library, retail area and wine cellar. It is located next to the Maldives’ first overwater Observatory.
Facilities on the island include the overwater Cinema Paradiso, the Eco Centro Waste-to-Wealth centre, organic gardens, tennis courts, water sports champa and Zuhair’s Beach on a desert island in the lagoon.