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Based on the Global Reporting Initiative G3 Sustainable Reporting Guidelines, the report for 2011-2012 documents the progress of the new brand, which now consists of two properties – Soneva Fushi in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand. Although it has been a year of change for the company, the brand remains focused on its core purpose ‘to create innovative and enlightening SLOW LIFE’, which stands for sustainable, local, organic, wellness, learning, inspiring and fun experiences.
Arnfinn Oines, Social and Environmental Conscience for Soneva, looks forward to seeing even greater improvements in next year’s report, whilst last year’s sustainability progress was ‘slower than we would have liked’.
That said, there is evidence of positive progress. The resorts’ waste management efforts have increased dramatically, mostly through recycling and composting. Linking with partner organisations to broaden the impact of sustainability efforts has also been a success. The Soneva Forest Restoration project in Thailand has planted over 138,000 trees and the Darfur Stoves Project is predicted to help 140,000 families over a 7 year period. The Clean Water Project has also helped get 135,000 people access to safe drinking water or basic sanitation.
The Soneva Carbon Calculator enables the resorts to measure their entire carbon footprint, taking into account direct as well as indirect activities such as air travel, ground travel, freight, food, waste, paper and water. In 2011-12 the resort calculated an emission of 42,503 tons of CO2, which is 2% more than in 2008-2009. However, there are some positive signs of change. Carbon emissions on a per-resident-per-night basis is down 8% and the carbon emissions of waste have decreased by an impressive 198% and on ground travel by 24%. Soneva had a footprint of 125kg of CO2 per residents per night in 2011-12, which is reduced to 30kg when air travel is excluded.
When looking at the energy emissions for 2011-12 there was a 15% improvement on a per-resident-per-night basis compared to 2008-9. The resort largely attributes this to efforts in installing renewable technologies, despite the difficulty of Soneva Fushi being a remote island location. In 2011-12 the resort’s 70kW solar PV system produced 96,958 kWh of clean energy.
Sourcing water from sustainable sources has also been a priority. Although water consumption it the resorts has risen, no water is being taken from the public water supply with 60% coming from rainwater collection or wells and 40% from desalination. Since fresh water issues are a particular concern in Thailand, Soneva Kiri has built its own reservoir to collect rainwater.
The report also goes on to talk about Soneva’s wind turbine project in India, it’s Green School Scholarship, partnerships with local charities and community groups, recent sustainability awards and environmental conservation.
We look forward to finding out how the next year of sustainability efforts builds on these foundations, particularly in light of impressive ambitions to make the resorts carbon positive by 2015.
For more information, download a copy of Soneva’s Sustainability Report.