The First Day of the Six Senses Eco Symposium

Watching a small sand crab excavate its new home on the beach at Soneva Fushi Resort in the Maldives, it is hard to imagine that this perfect strip of golden sand could be underwater within a generation or two. But if climate change is not halted, then that is a very realistic outcome.

Anybody who is anybody in the climate change world have gathered at Six Senses’ Soneva Fushi Resort this week to discuss ways in which the travel and tourism industries can do their part to halt climate change.

They have gathered under the watchful eye of Sonu Shivdasani, the founder and chairman of Six Senses. Soneva Fushi, the company’s flagship retreat, is a flagbearer for the industry on addressing the environmental challenge.

Guests to the resort are encouraged to look around the island to see what Six Senses is doing to become carbon neutral ahead of the rest of the Maldives.

It is an epic task and there is no book of instructions on how it can be achieved. But the resort has made some impressive steps.

On the tour of the island, which rests just a few feet above sea level, you can visit the Eco Centro, which contains a recycling centre, a charcoal oven that makes biochar and a pilot biogas plant, among many other green projects. During my visit I watched as glass bottles from the resort’s bars were crushed into powder to be used in aggregates across the island. It is typical
of the novel approach of dealing with waste materials that I saw going on around me.

I also saw coconuts being taken apart so the insides could be made into rope and saw walls made from discarded plastic pipes. Nothing goes to waste here and over 50% of all waste materials is recycled onsite. The bulk of the remainder is shipped to a nearby island to be recycled.

Just a short bike ride through the jungle, a solar plant is pumping out clean electricity and another short hop away are organic vegetable and herb gardens where the most wonderfully peppery rocket and a host of other plants are grown to dazzle the palates of the resort’s guests.

Nothing is shipped to Soneva Fushi that can be produced locally. Water is produced at a desalination plant, while the resort’s Michelin quality restaurants produce meals made nearly entirely from local produce.

It is in many ways the perfect setting for the Eco Symposium, which kicks off tomorrow with a keynote speech from President Nasheed of the Maldives.

You can find all the details on all the speakers by clicking this link.