Soneva celebrates 20 years of sustainable leadership

Soneva celebrates 20 years of sustainable leadership with Sustainability Report 2015-16
  • Soneva’s sustainability initiatives valued at USD 34.2 million
  • Soneva is carbon neutral including guest air travel and import of products
  • 73% of solid waste is recycled, generating USD 265,249 in cost savings
  • 12,000 glass bottles recycled into art and tableware at Soneva’s Glass Studio
  • USD 6.2 million raised through Soneva’s Environmental Levy to-date
  • 1.2 million plastic bottles prevented from going to landfill since 200

Soneva, has released its Sustainability Report 2015-16, which celebrates 20 years of sustainable operations since the company was founded in 1995.

Last year Soneva pioneered the global hospitality industry by publishing the first ever Total Impact Assessment (TIA) tool, which was developed in-house. The TIA measures the impact of a company’s operations in five categories – Natural Capital, Human Capital, Social Capital, Economic Capital and Tax – and allows the company to quantify and monetise these impacts in a language that translates to standard business performance metrics. The result in 2015-16 showed that Soneva contributed a net positive impact of USD 34.2 million.

“Soneva is built on the foundation that a business must exist for a greater purpose than shareholder returns. We strive to set the benchmark for responsible tourism and we are strong advocates of the overall positive impact of travel and tourism, and the key role it plays in conservation,” said Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and CEO of Soneva.

“Our aim is simple – to make a difference wherever we can. We strive to provide a blueprint for the hospitality industry. We innovate to reduce our own emissions and costs and prove to our peers that this is possible. We strive to be the best employer, and own and operate the world’s best resorts. And, above all, we hope that the natural beauty of our resorts inspires our guests to embrace environmental stewardship,” he added.

Soneva’s Sustainable Initiatives

Waste: Soneva demonstrates that waste does not have be a problem, but can be an asset. Through its innovative Eco Centro Waste-to-Wealth concept, Soneva recycles 73% of solid waste and 100% of food waste across all resorts and generated USD 265,249 in value in 2015-16. Furthermore, the Glass Studio at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives turned 12,000 waste bottles from both the resort and neighbouring resorts into useful glassware as well as objects of art, as well as providing a uniquely fun guest experience.

Environmental Levy: Early on, Soneva recognised that due to its resorts being in remote areas, guest air travel would have a significant environmental impact. In 2008 Soneva introduced an Environmental Levy for all guests, which is an additional 2% charge that is invested in projects that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact and importantly, offset carbon emissions from resort activities and guest flights. To-date, this Environmental Levy has raised USD 6.2 million. Through the Soneva Foundation, the funds have been invested in carbon mitigating projects like reforestation projects in Asia and the Myanmar Stoves Campaign, which have mitigated 388,599 tonnes CO2 to-date. In addition to making Soneva carbon neutral (including guest air travel), projects like the Myanmar Stoves Campaign have generated USD 9.4 million in social value over the last three years, and 186,018 people have benefited from fuel efficient stoves in Myanmar and Darfur alone.

WHOLE WORLD WATER: Furthermore, Soneva has prevented approximately 1.2 million plastic bottles from going to landfill since 2008 when the company banned all imported water and produced its own filtered and mineralized drinking water on-site in reusable glass bottles. The savings achieved from this were invested in the Soneva Foundation and WHOLE WORLD WATER to give 752,345 people access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

“To solve the social problems of the 21st century, companies need to play an important part. They can do this by making small tweaks to their business models that do not detract from their customer’s perception of the business nor negatively impact on the business’s profitability; but, which can raise considerable capital for good causes,” added Arnfinn Oines, Soneva’s Social and Environmental Conscience.

The sustainability report also details initiatives and partnerships aimed at creating wider social and environmental change. Collaboration with organisations such as World Travel and Tourism Council, International Tourism Partnership, The Long Run and NGO partners are on-going, and Soneva fosters global connections among experts through its annual SLOW LIFE Symposium.

Soneva’s other sustainability initiatives include:

  • The annual Learn to Swim Programme in the Maldives
  • Children’s cooking competitions
  • Junior Host Programmes
  • Female recruitment and empowerment initiatives
  • Local community engagement programmes
  • Mobile dog clinics
  • Other Soneva Foundation Projects

These initiatives, among others, supported Soneva’s efforts in winning the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Award for the second time in 2015, cementing the company’s place as the leading sustainability champion in the hospitality industry.

Please click the link to read Soneva’s 2014-15 Sustainability Report in full.

Soneva owns and operates Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand. Soneva in Aqua, an ultra-luxurious yacht, was launched in the Maldives in 2015 and sails out of Soneva Fushi. For more information about Soneva visit

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