As the custodians of pristine locations, we constantly ask ourselves what we can do to preserve the environment for future generations. What is the best way for us to share these rich resources not only with our guests but also with our local communities for mutual prosperity? What kind of journey do we want to embark on with our hosts who contribute so much to our business? How can we inspire our industry to collectively take responsibility for our impact on the global environment?
Of all the lessons we have learnt since founding Soneva, perhaps the most significant is the power of positive experiences to inspire the best in people. We see it time and time again. Experiences create lightbulb moments. Experiences change lives.
We have been carbon neutral, including guest air travel, since 2012 and are constantly striving to improve.
Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do and it is at the heart of everything we present on this website. Some specific examples are highlighted below.
Total Impact Assessment
Measuring our performance is fundamental. A company’s performance should be assessed as its total contribution to society. What is missing from traditional company accounts is any gauge of the total impact that operations have on the natural world and on the communities in which they operate. Our rigorous monitoring and measuring of our performance informs our decision-making and enables us to be pioneers and advocates of environmentally and socially responsible tourism.
The Soneva Total Impact Assessment (TIA) is a reporting tool developed in-house that allows us to take a ‘planetary boundaries’ view of all our social and environmental impacts. This includes direct impacts at our resorts and indirect impacts via our supply chain and guest air travel. Measuring our impacts allows us to drive better decision-making, more effective resource allocation and to influence the business decisions of our suppliers.
- US$14 million in social value
- 220,000 people benefitted from fuel-efficient stoves
- 488,587 tonnes of CO2 mitigated
- 511,920 trees planted in Thailand
- US$7 million raised for the Soneva Foundation
The Maldives is a nation with very few municipal waste facilities. Soneva Fushi recycles 90% of waste on-site through a robust waste management strategy and a focus on innovation. We consider waste and asset rather than something you through away. For instance, food waste is composted to create valuable and nutritious soil for the vegetable gardens, Styrofoam waste is used to create lightweight blocks to use in construction, the Soneva MakerSpace transforms plastic waste into usable products and the Soneva Glass Studio turns glass waste into artwork.
In 2017, $340,000 in value was generated by our Waste-to-Wealth concept.
Each Soneva resort has extensive fruit and vegetable gardens that supply the resort with fresh produce. The gardens are nurtured with compost created from food waste and nutrient-rich irrigation from the water treatment ponds. Growing food on-site provides guests with the freshest possible ingredients and reduces food transportation miles and the corresponding emissions dramatically.
Biodiversity at Soneva
The preservation of our environment is essential to a biodiverse future. Responsible tourism has a key role to play in the protection of some of our most beautiful ecosystems and endangered species. Soneva takes great pride in supporting conservation and restoration efforts. You can read the Soneva Fushi Biodiversity Survey and the Soneva Kiri Botanical Report, prepared by our resident biologists.
Ali Adil - Island Ecology
Adil is the resident astronomer and environmentalist at Soneva Jani. He knows the island better than most as he spent much of his childhood here, helping his uncle run the farm that the island previously hosted. Here he explains its unique ecology.
How long do you think this island has been there?
I can’t give an exact date, but I would guess roughly 3,000 years or so, about the same as Soneva Fushi.
How are Soneva Jani and Soneva Fushi different in terms of ecology?
The difference is that Soneva Fushi is a proper coral reef island; this island formed the same way, but at some point during its formation, something caused the mangroves to be here. Mangroves are like rainforests except they are connected with the ocean, so the diversity is the same as a rainforest. If there are mangroves, the island’s growth slows down because the island doesn’t mature and only certain types of trees can grow because mangroves create a really harsh environment. The salt levels are really high and there is not enough oxygen in the ground for the trees. So the trees evolved over time to deal with the harsh environments. Trees like ironwood can survive in salt environments and their leaves have evolved over time so that they don’t release humidity into the air like normal trees do. And that’s why this island’s vegetation is so low, because the soil here is so thin that the roots of the trees cannot grow long enough or spread out so the trees are shorter. We don’t have a huge canopy like Soneva Fushi does.
You have crabs here, which is a noticeable difference to the fauna of Soneva Fushi.
That is because of the mangroves. The crabs and the mangroves have a symbiotic relationship. The crabs dig tunnels underground all over the island and those tunnels provide the oxygen that the tree roots need. If the crabs die, the mangroves die, the island dies. If any one of these three is taken out of the equation, everything else collapses.
So there’s a co-dependency.
Yes. Which is the reason we are not serving these crabs to guests. We got a lot of guests asking, “Can we eat them?” No, you cannot eat them!
Children's Cooking Competition
Each year, Soneva Fushi’s Chef Sobah organises a cooking competition for 100 children from local islands, aged 11-12, in partnership with the Baa Atoll Education Centre on Eydhafushi.
As the top Maldivian chef in the country, Chef Sobah is passionate about encouraging children to aim high and to believe that they too can reach the top of this profession.
Chef Sobah trains the children for three months prior to the actual competition, and during that time they learn everything about working in a professional kitchen and how a restaurant works. When the training begins, many children don't know how to use a knife. By the end, they can produce a four course meal within two hours, to an exceptionally high standard.
The winning group are invited to Soneva Fushi where they get to see the chefs in action and experience a professional kitchen. Winners receive bronze, silver and gold medals and a cash prize.
Women in Soneva
There are many barriers to Maldivian women working in hospitality, not least the difficulty of balancing what is often a residential career with the needs of a family. The Women in Soneva initiative aims to increase the number of women at our resorts. When Soneva Jani opened in 2016, 25% of Hosts were women, well above the 4% norm in the hospitality industry in the Maldives.