Press Releases

Social Impact Experts Prepare To Explore New Models Of Capital Investment At The SLOW LIFE Symposium 2014

November 2014

Thursday 13th November, 2014. World-leading financiers, scientists, philanthropists and business leaders will come together at this year’s SLOW LIFE Symposium to explore new models of capital investment that have the potential to benefit people, environment and the economy.

This year, the annual gathering takes place at Soneva Fushi. Taking the planetary boundaries concept as a guide – the framework of ecological tipping points that we must not cross for a safe and habitable planet – participants will explore the leverage points in the financial system where it is possible to have real environmental impact.

Participants contributing financial expertise include Jonathon Porritt, Forum for the Future, who will chair the event; Pavan Sukhdev, Gist Advisory; Peter Wheeler, The Nature Conservancy; and Jamie Arbib, Tellus Mater.

Participants will specifically address the crisis facing the world’s oceans, looking at depleted fish stocks and the vulnerability of the world’s coral reefs, looking at all angles necessary to propose viable solutions.

Around 30 individuals who are global leaders in their field are coming together for the three-day event in the Maldives beginning on November 14th 2014, with the express aim of forging new partnerships and collaborations for the year ahead. Notable attendees include: Chris West, Shell Foundation; David Monsma, Aspen Institute; and Minister Shainee, Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture for the Government of the Maldives. Other distinguished mentions include Jean Oelwang, Virgin Unite; Distinguished Professor Terry Hughes, James Cook University; Johan Rockström, Stockholm Resilience Centre and pioneer of the Planetary Boundaries concept. A full list of the attendees can be found below.

CEO, and Founder of the SLOW LIFE Symposium and Foundation, Sonu Shivdasani said: “Attitudes in the world’s capital markets are changing, with a growing number of powerful voices highlighting not just the opportunity but also the necessity of investing in a green economy. But is real reform achievable or are the efforts we’re seeing now just tokenistic? Our fantastic panel at this year’s Symposium will be addressing questions like these and coming up with tangible and measurable actions to tackle some of the challenges identified.”

The Symposium is sponsored by the world-leading sustainable luxury resort operator, Soneva Group. It will be chaired for the second time by Jonathon PorrittFounder Director of Forum for the Future. Jonathon, an original pioneer of sustainable business and author of Capitalism as if the World Matters, said:

“This year’s schedule is especially robust and we’re excited to be covering such a broad agenda – from farming to finance and fishing to philanthropy. I’m honoured to be hosting again this year and look forward to the conversations that we’ll have, which will lead to impactful change.”


Other topics on the agenda include:

  • Food, Farming and Sustainable Land Use:  Led by Rikin Gandi, Digital Green and David Monsma, Aspen Institute. This session will re-think the challenge of securing ‘sustainable protein’ from agriculture and smallholder farmers for a world of nine billion people in 2050.
  • Drops in the Ocean: Minister Shainee, Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture for the Government of the Maldives will join several experts in the field of ocean conservation and sustainable fishing to explore the ocean, looking at how we can deploy innovative new thinking and scale up practical interventions already in place to protect our oceans and fisheries.
  • The Future of Philanthropy:  Jean Oelwang, Virgin Unite will join Chris West, Shell Foundation to discuss the future of philanthropy and the challenge of securing more philanthropic funds for environmental and climate causes.



For more information please contact: Soneva PR Director Sophy Williams on
Follow us on Twitter for updates to the speaker list and the agenda: @SLOWLIFEsym



The event will take place at the resort Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, a Biosphere UNESCO protected jewel of biodiversity with a vibrant reef, a colony of nesting turtles, and a world-class observatory.

Soneva Fushi has a 70KW solar photovoltaic system and is in the process of installing a further 700KW, champions the use of natural building materials, eschews the use of plastic, produces its own drinking water, and recycles 80% of solid waste in a nation with no such municipal facilities. For a full list of our initiatives, please review the Soneva Sustainability Report 2013-14.

For further information, including initiatives and reports from previous Symposiums please visit



Founded by Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, the SLOW LIFE Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to deliver meaningful projects that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact.



About the Soneva Group 
Founded by Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, the Soneva Group is a world leading award-winning sustainable luxury resort operator which owns and manages Soneva Fushi in the Maldives (1995) and Soneva Kiri in Thailand (2010). Soneva in Aqua, an ultra luxurious yacht with all the comforts and detailed standards of the resorts, will be launched in the Maldives in 2015.

Soneva Private Office was launched in 2012 to promote a limited number of private residences for sale at both resorts.

The company is committed to leading the hospitality industry in environmentally responsible tourism.  Annual environmental performance improvements are in place with the ultimate goal of decarbonising completely.

The Soneva Group is committed to its SLOW LIFE philosophy:


2014 Attendee List

  • Arlo Brady – Managing Director of Corporate Practice, freuds
  • Bruce Bromley – CFO, Soneva Group; Trustee, SLOW LIFE Foundation
  • Dr Chris West – Director, Shell Foundation
  • Cindy Forde – Managing Director, Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE)
  • David Monsma – Executive Director, The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Programme
  • Eva Shivdasani – Creative Director the Soneva Group; Founder SLOW LIFE Foundation
  • Hanli Prinsloo – Founder, I AM WATER
  • Jamie Arbib – Venture Investor; Founder, Tellus Mater
  • Jean Oelwang – CEO, Virgin Unite
  • Jenifer Willig – Founder, WHOLE WORLD Water (; Founder, motive (
  • Jim Norton – Adventure Capitalist, Ecotrust; Guide; Writer
  • Johan Rockström – Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre
  • Jon Bowermaster – Writer, Filmmaker and Adventurer
  • Jonathon Porritt – Founder Director, Forum for the Future
  • Karena Albers – Co-Founder, WHOLE WORLD Water; Co-Founder, kontentreal
  • Lida Pet-Soede – Senior Representative, Global Marine Programme, WWF
  • Pavan Sukhdev – Founder and CEO, GIST Advisory; Founder and Director, Corporation 2020
  • Peggy Liu – Chairperson, JUCCCE
  • Peter Marshall – I AM WATER
  • Peter Wheeler – Executive Vice President, The Nature Conservancy
  • Rikin Gandhi – Chief Executive Officer, Digital Green
  • Sean Dooley – Co-Founder, Ocean Preservation Alliance
  • Sonu Shivdasani – Chairman and CEO, Soneva Group, Founder, SLOW LIFE Foundation
  • Stephen Hall – Director General, WorldFish
  • Professor Terry Hughes – Director, Austailan Research Council’s Centre of Excellent for Coral Reef
  • Victoria Frost, COO The Soneva Group