Soneva has set its key sustainability goals for 2022 and is celebrating another year of milestone achievements. In the coming year, the brand aims to: establish one of the world’s largest coral nurseries that will produce 50,000 coral fragments a year; plant a million trees; remain carbon neutral; and continue to build on impactful projects managed by Soneva Namoona, The Soneva Foundation and SCI:ENCE at Soneva.
The award-winning luxury resorts operator, which has properties in the Maldives and Thailand, pioneers a raft of local and international projects that support environmental sustainability, the protection and conservation of biodiversity and habitats, and far-reaching social and community initiatives.
Key milestones in 2021
Namoona means ‘exemplary’ in Dhivehi, the language of the Maldives, and this flagship project brings a radical reduction of single-use plastic, recycling, ocean stewardship and environmental education under one umbrella.
In partnership with local island communities in the Maldives, the initiative provides funding, expertise and coordination for a waste management system that cleans up local islands and demonstrates how single-use plastics can be eventually phased out.
At the heart of this project is Soneva Water, which has been rolled out to the neighbouring islands of Maalhos, Dharavandhoo and Kihaadhoo, swapping unreliable rainwater and plastic water bottles for pure, filtered water in reusable glass bottles. Looking towards the future, Soneva Namoona is also nurturing the next generation of ocean stewards through watersports, education and festivities.
- Soneva Namoona expanded from its initial three island partnerships to eleven.
- Over 101,680 single-use plastic bottles were avoided through Soneva Water operations and provision of alternative packaging.
- The Fehi Madharusa (Green School) pilot programme was launched with the Ministry of Education in seven schools across the Maldives, training 158 students and educators.
- 100,191 kilograms of recyclables were diverted from landfill or toxic open burning and delivered to recycling partners.
- 250 young people improved their swimming skills through the Inspire Swimming Programme, and 14 new swimming instructors received training.
- 320 community members participated in Fresh Start waste management activities and took part in segregation training.
- 84,000 nappies were removed from five Namoona islands – Maalhos, Dharavandhoo, Kihaadhoo, Dhonfanu and Kamadhoo.
The Soneva Foundation was founded to address the direct and indirect environmental impacts of Soneva’s resorts. A 2% environmental levy is added to every guests’ stay, which the Soneva Foundation invests in global projects that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact, and offset carbon emissions from resort activities and guest flights.
- Launched in 2021, the Soneva Coral Propagation Project is the largest conservation initiative ever supported by the Soneva Foundation. In partnership with the Swiss environmental organisation Coralive and the global ecosystem restoration organisation Ark2030, it aims to create the world’s largest Mineral Accretion Technology (MAT) coral nursery in the world, propagating 50,000 coral fragments each year.
- The first phase of the Coral Propagation Project was completed in December 2021, with 432 table structures ready for coral planting in 2022.
- At the end of 2021, the Coral Restoration Project also launched a campaign to salvage as many as 400,000 coral fragments from dredging and construction works in the Gulhifalhu lagoon near Malé.
- The Myanmar Stoves Campaign, in partnership with Mercy Corps Myanmar, distributes fuel-efficient cookstoves to households across the country. Each stove saves 2.5 tonnes of wood each year, reducing deforestation, lowering carbon emissions, and improving the health and safety of the community. In 2021, the Myanmar Stoves Campaign successfully completed eight years in operation and 37,000 stoves distributed in total, benefitting 170,000 people. USD 28 million in social value was generated, and more than 240,000 Gold Standard carbon credits issued.
- The Restaurants Against Hunger project is a partnership between the Soneva Foundation and Action Against Hunger UK. The three-year programme aims to reduce child hunger and malnutrition in Bangladesh. During 2021, families received grants and were trained to set up resilient home gardens to produce fruit and vegetables to feed their families and to sell any surplus to generate additional income.
- The Soneva Hornbill Project is working with the Hornbill Research Foundation, the Department of National Parks and the Zoological Parks Organisation to reintroduce the Oriental Pied Hornbill to Koh Kood. The species had been wiped out on the island due to over-hunting and loss of habitat. Permissions for the reintroduction project were acquired in 2021, and the first pair of hornbills arrived on the island in December.
- Initiated in 2021, Soneva Forest Restoration Mozambique is a partnership between the Soneva Foundation and Eden Reforestation Project to plant 4 million trees in Mozambique over the next four years. With planting commencing in 2022, the project will restore 3,378 hectares of forest using native species in central Mozambique.
Art and Regeneration Programme
Every Soneva resort features a comprehensive regeneration programme, which focuses on the three Rs: Re-use, Reduce, Recycle.
Around 90 percent of resort waste is recycled or reused through Soneva’s Eco Centro Waste-to-Wealth facilities. Organic gardens at the heart of each resort operate through permaculture principles, irrigated by greywater, and nourished by compost from Soneva’s kitchens, they supply fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs to the resorts’ dining destinations.
One-of-a-kind experiences invite guests to immerse themselves in Soneva’s regeneration initiatives – from glassblowing at Soneva Art & Glass, the Maldives’ only hot glass studio, which transforms discarded bottles into works of art, to the new Makers’ Place recycling studio.
- The Art and Regeneration Programme generated USD 427,000 in value in 2021, underpinning Soneva’s waste-to-wealth concept. This brings the total value generated over the last decade to USD 2.6 million
- The Makers’ Place opened at Soneva Fushi in August 2021. Built in partnership with British artist Alexander James Hamilton, founder of Distil Ennui Studio™, this carbon-neutral island studio recycles waste plastic and aluminium from the soft drinks industry into practical pieces and works of art
- 50-60 kg of aluminium (approximately 130,000 cans) upcycled into art pieces within four months of operation
- Ongoing procurement initiatives in partnership with Soneva Namoona communities for processing and upcycling at the studio
- 52 tonnes of cardboard were collected from Soneva Namoona islands and Waste to Wealth Centres at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani, working directly with a recycling facility in India.
- 45 tonnes of vegetables, worth over USD 178,000, were grown at Soneva’s resorts
- More than 40 different varieties of plants were added to the organic gardens at both Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani
- A new Mushroom Hut was installed at Soneva Fushi, growing eight varieties of organic mushrooms for the resort’s restaurants
- Stingless bees arrived at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani from Southern India. The bee colonies will play an essential role in pollinating the resorts’ organic gardens.
- Two individual hives were installed at each resort, with four in total
SCIE:NCE at Soneva
SCIE:NCE stands for Sustainability and Conservation of Island Ecosystems through Nurturing Collaborative Endeavours. It covers areas including marine biology, integrated pest control, astronomy, and the Soneva Academy, with a focus on life below water, life on land, the stars in the sky, plastic pollution and life-long learning programmes.
- Initiated in 2019, the Mosquito Project pioneered a pesticide-free solution to combat mosquitos at Soneva Fushi, developing a sustainable system of traps that mimic mosquito breeding sites and the scent of human sweat. The project has since been fully rolled out at Soneva Jani and has been expanded to other island resorts in the Maldives
- The mosquito population has dropped by 98% in 2021
- The project reached a milestone 2.5 years without pesticide fogging at Soneva Fushi, and 1.5 years at Soneva Jani
- The project team also developed a hand sanitizer from a waste stream of the mosquito traps, which was validated by three independent labs in 2021
- A bird-spotting compendium was launched for the Soneva Fushi digital app, inviting guests to discover more about the bird life on the island
- Construction of the SCIE:NCE centre at Soneva Fushi is set to commence in Spring 2022. The new centre will be the focus for guest experiences and learning opportunities around terrestrial and marine biology and astronomy and will also become a knowledge hub for visiting scientists and researchers
Founded in 1995, Soneva is an award-winning sustainable luxury resorts operator. At Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Soneva in Aqua in the Maldives, and Soneva Kiri in Thailand, true ‘luxury’ is defined by peace, time and space. Each day, guests are encouraged to discover the SLOW LIFE, reconnecting with themselves and the natural world through rare, unforgettable experiences that inspire and enthral.
Soneva is a pioneer for responsible tourism, combining a conscientious, proactive approach to sustainability with exquisite luxury and intuitive personalised service. Carbon neutral since 2012, Soneva launched its Total Impact Assessment in 2016, a first for the hospitality industry, measuring its social and environmental impacts. A mandatory 2% environmental levy is added to every Soneva stay, with proceeds going towards the not-for-profit Soneva Foundation to offset both direct and indirect carbon emissions from resort activities and guest flights. The Foundation funds a range of global projects that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact.
Experience All the Magic of Easter Candyland at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi
As the spring sunshine sparkles on the gentle waves of the Indian Ocean, Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi invites couples seeking the ultimate escapism and families looking to spend moments of togetherness this Easter break. Nestled in the picturesque Shaviyani Atoll, the private island retreat will transform into an Easter Candyland filled with sweet delights and confectionary creations. Whimsical and full of vibrancy, the extraordinary lineup of experiences promises guests of every generation an unforgettable escape, from indulgent feasts under the stars and colorful egg hunts to chocolate-infused treatments at Fairmont Spa.
From 24 March to 12 April, the resort presents an immersive calendar of events and activities where guests can celebrate special moments in elevated luxury, savor exquisite culinary journeys, embark on new adventures, and make memories that will last for a lifetime.
“Easter is a time of renewal and joyful reconnection, and our team has curated a program of experiences that celebrates the joy of Easter and the spirit of togetherness,” says Steven Stefaniuk, General Manager at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi.
Dining is a sensational experience in this idyllic island paradise. Guests can savor local and global flavors at the beachfront Raha Market, indulge in Asian favorites at Kata, enjoy a spectacular by-the-sea dining experience at Azure, and taste a range of creative cocktails at Onu Onu. On 31 March, the island will host an extravagant Easter-themed lunch and pool party featuring a range of global Easter favorites and mouth-watering desserts, complete with fun activities, live music, and entertainment.
Parents can watch in delight as their little ones spark their curiosity and imagination at the Kids’ Club and discover various Candyland-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, cupcake and cookie decorating, and egg and face painting. Furthermore, budding eco-warriors can participate in repurposing plastic waste into bespoke souvenirs at the Sustainability Lab and join ocean life conservation activities with the Marine Biology team.
Guests can restore their inner balance and achieve renewed energy with the offerings of award-winning Fairmont Spa, including nature-inspired wellbeing sessions and the ‘Chocolate Indulgence’ treatment that soothes the body in smooth and revitalizing sensations. Moreover, active travelers can participate in sunrise yoga, beach game challenges, water sports, and interactive coaching with LUX Tennis.
In the mood for adventure? Dive into one of the flourishing dive sites in Shaviyani Atoll with the resort’s dive partner, Sub Oceanic, snorkel the 9-km-long house reef to discover over 250 species of marine life, or join a sunset cruise in search of dozens of playful dolphins that love to leap out from the sea.
Timeless Family Fun Package – Children Under 12 Stay and Dine for Free
The resort presents the ‘Timeless Family Fun’ package with a complimentary meal plan upgrade, Easter treats and amenities, and delightful dining experiences for the whole family. Book a 4-night stay or more in one of the resort’s spacious pool villas, offering the perfect blend of privacy and togetherness, and enjoy:
- Complimentary upgrade from Bed & Breakfast to Half-Board package
- Children below 12 years of age stay and dine for free
- Easter Sunday Lunch and Egg Hunt activity
- Floating breakfast once during the stay
- Family-style beach dinner once during the stay
- Guided tour of the Sustainability Lab and underwater Coralarium
- 25% discount on spa treatments
Celebrate Earth Week with Nature’s Embrace at Oaga Art Resort
Join Oaga Art Resort from March 21st to 27th, 2024, for a week dedicated to connecting with the beauty and wonder of our planet. Immerse yourself in a program filled with creative activities, meaningful experiences, and a deep appreciation for Earth’s magic.
Unwind with Earth-inspired creativity:
March 21st, as the world celebrates Poetry Day, start your day with a poetic breakfast, followed by a lunchtime fusion of traditional Maldivian Boduberu beats and poetry called ‘Farihi’. In the evening, enjoy some poetry reading and a captivating performance by local duo “Something Lovely”.
On March 22nd, tap your feet to the lively rhythms of a Boduberu jam session at lunch. As the stars emerge, witness the artistry of a sand artist create their magic on the Raa Baa deck.
Connect with nature in a mindful way:
March 23rd, as part of Earth Hour, join a peaceful candlelit Earth Meditation and sound healing session. Later, light your own candle and take part in an art installation under the moonlight. Savour a delicious Earth-conscious buffet and enjoy unplugged music around a bonfire.
On the same day, a special coral planting cocktail is to take place during sunset at the beach. Witness firsthand the wonders of coral restoration as you help plant 60+ coral frames in Oaga’s reef nursery. This project, in partnership with Coralive, aims to completely restore the house reef by 2028. Savour refreshing cocktails and learn about the crucial role coral reefs play in our ecosystem while contributing to a sustainable future.
Celebrate Holi traditions with an eco-twist:
March 25th, witness the creation of a stunning sand mandala and participate in the traditional Full Moon ritual. Dance the night away at a vibrant Holi Full moon party with minimal lighting and glow-in-the-dark paint.
Reflect and reminisce under the stars:
March 26th, cuddle up for a captivating movie night featuring nature documentaries under the starlit sky.
A grand finale on World Theatre Day:
On March 27th, engage your children in a fun puppet show and enjoy a live performance by the energetic band Sky Rock. The week culminates with a special Earth-themed solo performance at the Kaa Kada dinner in celebration of World Theatre Day.
Beyond these highlights, Earth Week weaves its theme throughout Oaga’s daily activities. Whether it is to explore nature-inspired percussion in Take Notes sessions or to let your kids unleash their creativity with eco-friendly crafts in the Fiyoh Kid’s Club, there is something engaging for everyone.
Join Oaga and embark on a journey that reconnects you with nature, celebrates our planet, and leaves you feeling empowered to make a positive difference.
Hurawalhi Island Resort’s Exemplary Commitment to Marine Conservation Shines in the Maldives
Hurawalhi Island Resort, nestled amidst the stunning landscapes of the Maldives, proudly reaffirms its steadfast dedication to marine conservation through pioneering initiatives aimed at safeguarding the region’s diverse marine ecosystems.
Saoirse Macklin, the esteemed Resident Marine Biologist at Hurawalhi Island Resort, emphasizes the Maldives’ distinguished status as one of the world’s most biodiverse marine environments. “At Hurawalhi, we prioritize the dissemination of knowledge and wonder about our marine world,” states Macklin. “As a Marine Biologist, it’s been a privilege to inspire and educate guests about the remarkable marine life surrounding our island.”
Hurawalhi’s commitment to marine conservation materializes through a range of educational experiences offered to guests. From immersive Turtle Tours, shedding light on the pivotal role of seagrass in sustaining turtle populations, to awe-inspiring Manta Search excursions, each journey represents an enlightening voyage of discovery.
During these excursions, science and education take precedence, ensuring guests acquire profound insights into the intricate ecosystems enveloping the island. As the resident Marine Biologist, Macklin spearheads efforts to monitor and safeguard turtle and manta populations, employing cutting-edge photo identification techniques to meticulously track and document individual specimens during every expedition.
Hurawalhi extends a warm invitation to guests to partake in Marine Biologist-guided reef snorkeling experiences, providing an unparalleled opportunity to explore coral reef and seagrass ecosystems while championing their preservation. Participants not only revel in the splendor of the house reef but also actively engage in efforts to protect these delicate habitats.
Furthermore, Hurawalhi’s commitment to marine conservation is evident in its ongoing projects. The resort’s diligent monitoring and maintenance of its artificial reef program adjacent to the iconic 5.8 Underwater Restaurant aim to rejuvenate and revitalize reef systems. In 2021, a total of 114 artificial reef frames were transplanted, laying the groundwork for reef regeneration.
Recent initiatives include the creation of “festive frames,” crafted by guests during the holiday season, with regular updates fostering continued guest involvement in conservation endeavors. Annual monitoring of benthic habitats and species abundance by the Marine Biologist team is pivotal, collecting data to track changes in habitats and biodiversity over time. This scientific endeavor provides valuable insights into the health of Hurawalhi’s marine life and serves as a cornerstone for future conservation efforts.
The data collected holds immense potential, serving as a catalyst for initiatives aimed at securing protected status for Hurawalhi and its surrounding waters. Through collaboration with government-led conservation programs and local stakeholders, the resort aspires to designate Hurawalhi as a protected area, ensuring its continued vitality and resilience.
In the face of unprecedented challenges to ocean conservation, Hurawalhi remains resolute in its mission to preserve and protect the marine marvels of the Maldives. Through collective understanding and concerted action, the resort endeavors to safeguard these invaluable ecosystems for generations to come.
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