Embracing the environment, empowering people
Sustainability has been a core value for Banyan Tree even before the first hotel opened. With our three pillar approach to sustainability; operational efficiency, protecting biodiversity, and developing local capacity, our continuous efforts are strengthening and built with love and care for the social and environmental aspects. As a socially-responsible business, Banyan Tree’s concept of sustainability seeks to create long-term value for multiple stakeholders. Our triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental success helps direct sustainable development throughout the property which benefits our associates, guests and partners. Our aim is to create long-term benefits and create an integrated and participatory approach to minimize our impacts while safeguarding and enhancing the human and physical environment for the present and future generations to come.
EarthCheck Silver Certification
Since 2012, Angsana Ihuru was awarded ‘Silver Certification’ by EarthCheck, the world’s leading scientific benchmarking and certification group for sustainable tourism. Annual measurement of operational indicators include energy; emissions, water, waste and paper use; chemical and pesticide use; and community involvement.
President of Maldives Green Resort Award, 2002
The ‘Green Resort Award’ is a visionary initiative and annual presidential recognition given to the best environmentally performing tourist resort in the Maldives. The award aims to generate environment consciousness, reward good practices of hotel operators and thereby facilitate sustainable tourism development.
Pacific Asia Travel Association Gold Awards, Grand Award – Corporate Environmental Programme – Ecotourism Project Category, 2008
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association working to promote the responsible development of travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific Region. Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru have won the ‘PATA Gold Awards of Top Corporate Environmental Programme’ in the category of Ecotourism Project.
Plastic-Free Banyan Tree
On Earth Day 2018, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts embarked on a journey to reduce single-use plastic and ultimately become plastic-free. The hospitality and tourism industry as a whole is a major consumer of this planet’s resources, often providing one-time use products on mass scales. Banyan Tree’s properties here in the Maldives (including Angsana Ihuru) have achieved the most significant reductions across the Group, with Angsana Ihuru reducing total single-use plastic usage by 76% so far. Initiatives include providing guests with glass-bottled water produced onsite (since 2008) and introducing paper straws.
Banyan Tree’s efforts connect with the issue of global climate action by conserving resources through efficient operations, with external assurance by EarthCheck, the leading benchmarking certification within the travel and tourism industry. The Group follows a science-based approach to the conservation of sensitive ecosystems and the threatened species. This supports positive action and engagement from associates, guests and community members, connecting people to destinations and driving stewardship. The goal is to implement one resource conservation initiative per year through reduction, refusing, recycling, reusing and removal. Angsana Ihuru harvests rainwater and utilizes the year-round Maldivian sunshine with solar panels on the roofs of each villas. The replacement of all lights to LEDs and ACs to inverters is ongoing to reduce overall energy consumption.
Greening Communities Together
Angsana Ihuru raises awareness on climate change by initiating tree-planting events all across Maldives and has a target of 2,000 trees per year. To date, the property have provided communities with coconut trees, mango tree, breadfruit and other beneficial trees. In addition, support is given to mangrove restoration and seagrass initiatives, both highly important ecosystems in the Maldives.
Supporting Local Communities
Supporting long-term societal prosperity is central to Angsana Ihuru and achieved by empowering local communities through job creation, education, community impact initiatives and humanitarian relief. On International Women’s Day, one of the last few women in the industry practicing the receding artwork of traditional embroidery, “kasabu viyun”, was invited to the property to showcase her craft.
By organizing cleaning activities, Angsana Ihuru hopes to maintain pristine conditions for its local surroundings and engage with locals. It aims to conduct four cleanups per year and am proud that local councils and schools support the cleanups. In 2019, over one ton of waste was gathered with the help of 762 people including school students, councils, locals and resort associates and guests.
Guided Educational Snorkeling
The Banyan Tree Marine Lab, opened on Vabbinfaru Island in January 2004, serves both Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru. It was the first of its kind in the Maldives, pioneering marine conservation and research for beautiful and yet highly threatened ecosystems. On the tour, guests join trained Marine Biologists to explore the fascinating marine life found on Angsana Ihuru’s colourful house reef and learn about the plethora of fish species such as black tip reef sharks, stingrays, turtles, brightly coloured butterflyfish, and multi-coloured parrotfish.
Reefs with high numbers of coral-eating Crown of Thorn Starfish (COTS) are severely threatened. Each week, Angsana Ihuru’s guests join the resort’s Marine Lab team on a snorkelling expedition to search the reefs and remove any COTS encountered. Without these efforts, live coral cover will be significantly reduced.
Coral reefs are under severe threat from increasing pressures caused by human activity and severely impacted by the 2016 mass coral-bleaching event. Coral transplantation is a great way to assist the natural reef recovery process. To increase resilience and aid rates of recovery from bleaching events, coral fragments are transplanted from our nurseries onto natural reef, coral frames or electric reefs. Electric reefs are created by transplanting corals onto a metal frame structure powered by low-voltage electric current. This electric current helps increase the growth rate of corals. Angsana Ihuru is proud to house the first electric reef ever built in the Maldives. A second followed in 1998, and a third in 2001 at our sister property, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru. These remain the first and only electric reefs in the Maldives.