Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives: Guarding its precious island treasure
Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives is Park Hotel Group’s first luxury resort nestled in North Male Atoll, Maldives. The resort island is part of a sensitive coral reef ecosystem with an abundance of marine life – including nationally protected species such as corals, turtles, sharks, dolphins, and lobsters. The terrestrial island ecosystem also includes protected fauna such as several bird species.
Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives is committed to achieving environmental and socio-cultural sustainability. Recently recertified by Green Globe for its second year the resort aims to be a Sustainability Champion in the future by seeking to be a leader in sustainable and responsible tourism.
Raffaele Solferino, General Manager Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives says, “Receiving Green Globe certification has been extremely encouraging for the team as we continue our journey towards operating more sustainably. I am very proud of the entire Green Team and the leaders around me, my job was only to inspire them, and support them in their initiatives and practices. Overall, it was a team effort.”
“The recognition has also been important for all stakeholders involved, including the Maldives as a destination. I hope that our achievement can serve as an example to other resorts to invest in sustainable tourism and encourage their own environmentally friendly practices,.”
The resort’s Green Team has the responsibility and skills to ensure effective ongoing environmental and sociocultural measures are in place and performance monitored. In addition, Grand Park Kodhipparu employs a Sustainability Manager who engages guests and staff on the resort’s natural ecosystems and carries out underwater conservation and restoration of the surrounding coral reef ecosystem.
In the first two years of its Green Globe certification, Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives has achieved an enviable collection of environmental and social achievements, which can be found at their dedicated sustainability web page.
Just over a year ago on Earth Day 2021, the resort launched its solar power system which produces 478,080 Kwh of clean energy annually. This initiative has significantly reduced the island resort’s carbon emissions, saving up to 150,000 litres of diesel fuel and approximately 172 tons of CO2e
On a small island surrounded by ocean, water management is also a priority and Grand Park Kodhipparu has installed an on-site bottling plant to provide drinking water in glass bottles to team members and guests. Drinking water is sourced via the island’s desalination plant and so far 150,000 litres of have been served without plastic. This initiative has also brought an economic benefit, saving USD $29,000 by not purchasing single use plastic bottles; approximately 10,000 plastic bottles per month.
Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives places importance in creating a culture of belonging, embracing diversity and building an environment where all team members feel welcome, respected and given the opportunity to grow to their fullest potential.
The resort team consist of members from 20 countries, including the Maldives, Asia (East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia), Europe and Africa. Local hire is a priority, bringing economic advantages to Maldivians who make up the majority of staff, at 52% of all employees. The female workforce in the Maldives is recorded to be 20.2% (based on World Bank data, 2021.) The resort’s female team members account of 12% of the total out of which, 5 team members are holding managerial positions.
Grand Park Kodhipparu’s Green Team are responsible for implementing the resort’s Sustainability Management Plan through a variety of hand-on actions. International Environmental Awareness Days such as Earth Hour, Earth Day, World Environment and World Oceans Day are celebrated with activities such as tree-planting and reef cleaning. An estimated 100kg of litter have been removed in reef-cleaning and island cleaning activities so far.
Since its opening in 2017, the resort has established several coral gardening projects, where coral pieces from the House Reef are attached to purposely built underwater structures. One of the first sights guests see when arriving at the resort is an artificial reef installed below the reception deck, which attracts marine life including many juvenile reef fish species.
The goal of the resort’s Coral Reef Restoration program is to regrow corals in areas where populations have diminished or been lost. This is mostly required in areas which have been impacted by bleaching and sedimentation. This is achieved through methods such as collecting and rehabilitating naturally broken coral fragments on coral trees, which are nurseries for branching coral.
Grand Park Kodhipparu GM Raffaele Solferino is convinced the resort is on the right course: “Being sustainable in our operations makes absolute business sense as travel and tourism relies heavily on the wellness of our environment to thrive. This is especially so for any resort in the Maldives.”
“Leading more sustainable lives is a non-negotiable attitude we must adopt. The sustainability efforts and eco-initiatives we practice at GPK are simply us doing our part for the Maldives as a destination, well-being of our tourists and local community, and the planet. Going completely green is a long-term goal we will continue striving for, while always keeping an open mind to new initiatives we can adopt for a better future.”