Communication on Progress

Participant
Published
  • 2017/12/08
Time period
  • December 2016  –  December 2017
Format
  • Stand alone document – Basic COP Template
Differentiation Level
  • This COP qualifies for the Global Compact Active level
Self-assessment
  • Includes a CEO statement of continued support for the UN Global Compact and its ten principles
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Human Rights
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Labour
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Environment
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Anti-Corruption
  • Includes a measurement of outcomes
 
  • Statement of continued support by the Chief Executive Officer
  • Statement of the company's chief executive (CEO or equivalent) expressing continued support for the Global Compact and renewing the company's ongoing commitment to the initiative and its principles.

  • To our stakeholders:

    I am pleased to confirm that Soneva reaffirms our support of the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact in the areas of Human Rights, Labour, Environment and Anti-Corruption.

    In this annual Communication on Progress, we describe our actions to continually improve the integration of the Global Compact and its principles into our business strategy, culture and daily operations. We also commit to share this information with our stakeholders using our primary channels of communication.

    Sincerely yours,
    Sonu Shivdasani
    Chairman and CEO

Human Rights
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of human rights for the company (i.e. human rights risk-assessment). Description of policies, public commitments and company goals on Human Rights.

  • Soneva supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and respect the protection of human rights.

    At Soneva we call our employees hosts as we recognize that our host form a key ingredient to our ongoing success. We are hosts to our guests and deliver our service with pride. It also creates a sense of ownership.

    We share the Soneva Code of Ethics and Values with all our hosts when they join the Company and we constantly reinforce them through mandatory training programmes at our resorts and corporate office.

    Soneva is committed to the ethical, moral and legal responsibilities of conducting business across the globe and as such the company has developed various policies to which our Hosts and our suppliers will honour and operate in accordance with. The company has specific policies which outline our position relating to discrimination, equal opportunities, harassment and local compliance.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions to implement Human Rights policies, address Human Rights risks and respond to Human Rights violations.

  • Soneva has established a wide variety of policies and procedures that are designed to make sure human rights are protected.

    Soneva has taken the following measures to prevent human rights violations in its work locations:
    • A 360 degree performance appraisal that allow the hosts to give feedback on host performance
    • Host survey is conducted on regular basis
    • Suggestion box where New Idea Better Ideas are encouraged and reviewed by senior management
    • Open door policy for the host to address issues with senior management
    • Training sessions that include human rights issues
    • Each host receive a Host Handbook
    • Soneva truly believes in and strives to live by its Core Values. In order to ensure that all our practices, processes, policies and standards are in line with our stated Core Values we have established a Core Value Guardian Committee. The committee will be accessible to all Soneva Hosts. Hosts can bring to the direct notice of the Core Value Guardians any issues that they feel are in direct violation of Soneva Core Values however small they might be. The Core Value guardians will examine these issues in detail and come up with remedial measures.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates performance.

  • Soneva’s Human Resources Team is constantly following up with our hosts to ensure their human rights are protected.
    • Performance appraisals are done twice a year.
    • On a monthly basis suggestions through our New Idea Better Idea programme is evaluated and implemented as seen fit.
    • Incident reports are followed up as they occur
    • Quarterly one to one interviews with up to 25% of our hosts by external management to discuss any matters that the host wishes to discuss, but specifically pertaining to how they feel about their workplace, their colleagues and the company management and to raise any issues that they have.
    • Monthly meet the management sessions, where hosts have the opportunity to speak directly with the senior management about any issues that may affect them personally.
    • Regular external Human Resources Audits are conducted at our resorts to ensure that all policies and procedures are being followed, monthly reporting is adhered to, host welfare standards are being met.

Labour
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of labour rights for the company (i.e. labour rights-related risks and opportunities). Description of written policies, public commitments and company goals on labour rights.

  • Soneva’s Host Handbook covers policies of hosts’ rights, compensation and responsibilities. It uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. Working at Soneva is based on a mutual agreement between Soneva and the hosts, where hosts are allowed to leave if they chose to do so. Under no circumstance is child labour or forced labour allowed. One of Soneva’s core value is equality were hosts are not discriminated based on ethnicity, religion, age, sex, political view or disability.

    Extensive and detailed policies are in place that relate to local compliance, discrimination, equal opportunities, and non-harassment. We as a company follow all local labour law requirements relating to host’s rights, compensation and benefits, in addition to which, the company offers many additional rewards and benefits based on host performance, loyalty, welfare and charitable activities.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions taken by the company to implement labour policies, address labour risks and respond to labour violations.

  • All hosts receive competitive salaries as well as service charges. In addition, a variety of benefits are offered such as insurance, pension scheme, uniforms, laundry, transportation, meals and accommodation. Regular surveys are conducted in the countries we operate to ensure that our salaries are benefits are at the higher end of the competitive set benchmark. Our host’s receive 100% of service charge.

    A host village is built at the resorts where the host can spend their spare time. The host accommodation is compared to a mid-range hotel in its self, the Human Resources team manage the maintenance and housekeeping of the host accommodation, and regular inspections are conducted to ensure preventative maintenance measures are enforced.

    The host restaurant serves three nutritional meals per day. The target is to get 90% satisfaction of the host restaurant, which we are close to achieving, surveys are conducted monthly to monitor performance/quality and address any matters/suggestions that are raised.

    The host village also has game rooms, football pitch (Soneva Fushi), volleyball court, gymnasium, TV salas, library and a little shop. At Soneva Kiri the hosts have their own swimming pool. We also offer our hosts various wellness activities and discounts in our resort Spa’s. All visiting practitioners who visit our resorts are required to offer free consultations/treatments to our hosts during their tenure at the resorts.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates performance.

  • In 2017 we employed on average around 950 hosts in which 900 were at our properties. We have 100% compliance in working contracts.

    Local Hosts
    Great emphasis is put in order to provide local employment. We have a strong belief that local hosts provide the best service as they feel ownership and pride when guests come to their home.

    In 2017 75% of our hosts were local from the country in which we operate in.

    Gender Equality
    The gender distribution of our host is 25% female and 75% male. We believe in gender equality and encourage women to work with Soneva.
    There are significant differences in the gender distribution depending on our location.

    In Thailand distribution is 40% female and 60% male, whereas in Maldives the distribution is 85% male and 15% female.
    Host facilities

    Soneva invests a great deal of resources into our hosts. Host development and training, host recognition, cross training and rotation and empowerment is an important part of how our teams operate.

    As many of our resorts are located in remote areas where the hosts have to live on-site we have developed a host village concept including host accommodation, host restaurant, host library, relaxation rooms, game rooms and sporting facilities.
    This is an important factor of ensuring that hosts enjoy working with Soneva.

    Host food score
    Quality in the host facilities is important. An ambitious target of achieving 90% satisfaction on host food score was set in 2009. On average we achieved 85% on host food score.

    Host Learning & Development
    Host development and training is also important. In 2016-17 a total of 26,611 training hours were completed. Of this, 52% were dedicated for sustainability training.

    Our Learning & Development team makes sure all hosts get an introduction in both local and worldwide environmental challenges and solutions. Specific sustainability training is provided for individual teams and hosts.

Environment
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of environmental protection for the company (i.e. environmental risks and opportunities). Description of policies, public commitments and company goals on environmental protection.

  • Soneva’s environmental performance is reported in Soneva Sustainability Report 2015-16, which is publically available on www.soneva.com.

    Our founders Sonu and Eva Shivdasani believe in the natural excellence in everything we do, from delivering the ultimate in guest experience to providing energy to the rural poor in Myanmar via the Soneva Foundation. Their vision is supported by the senior management including the CFO and Marketing Director, as well as the 950 hosts (employees) working for the company.

    We are committed to leading the fight against climate change within the hospitality sector. In addition to dealing with operational matters such as energy, water and waste, Soneva has gone beyond its remit and addressed the CO2 emissions derived from guests’ international air travel.

    In 2008, Soneva introduced a carbon levy of 2% of room revenue, a pioneering initiative in the hospitality industry. The Carbon Senses Fund has raised over US$6m which has invested via the Soneva Foundation in projects that will mitigate around 1 million tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime, far more than Soneva’s total carbon footprint. So far these projects have improved the lives of over 200,000 people.

    In October 2008, Soneva banned imported bottled water and bottled drinking water on site. As a result, 1.4 million plastic bottles have been prevented from going into landfill in six years. We have donated a significant proportion of water revenue to help over 750,000 people access safe water. We are 100% self-sufficient with water.
    Soneva Fushi has always protected its own 50 ha island and 119 ha of house reef, and has worked with five other resorts to secure recognition for Baa Atoll as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Although the status was achieved in 2011, ongoing management of the area is required. Our marine biologist serves on the Baa Atoll Advisory Board and we have been engaging the minister of environment to increase support of the area. Slowly but surely, we see progress but there is still more to be done. For instance, Soneva Fushi is the only Baa Atoll resort that has banned night fishing due to its destructive practices.

    The Soneva Foundation was set up by our founders Sonu and Eva Shivdasani to support the environmental initiatives of Soneva and to influence on a global scale.
    We founded the SLOW LIFE Symposium as a means to have influence beyond our own networks and beyond our own industry. WHOLE WORLD Water is an initiative that arose out of the 2011 SLOW LIFE Symposium, which aims to bring the entire hospitality industry together to address global water challenges by following Soneva’s example.

    We believe that a business must exist for a greater purpose than shareholder returns. We have shown through small tweaks in the way we do business, that we can have a net positive impact on society, a carbon neutral operations including impacts from supply chain and guest air travel, deliver exceptional guest experiences and at the same time operate profitably.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions to implement environmental policies, address environmental risks and respond to environmental incidents.

  • Environmental initiatives are embedded in Soneva’s core purpose set by the CEO. The Social & Environmental Conscience is responsible for monitoring environmental performance with ultimate responsibility for sustainability resting with the CFO, which is rare in a private company. Sustainability officers at each resort implement environmental practices.

    Total Impact Assessment
    We have developed the Soneva Total Impact Assessment – the first ever in the hospitality industry – which allows us to take a ‘planetary boundaries’ view of all our social and environmental impacts. We have calculated the true environmental cost of our direct impact at our resorts and indirect impact via our supply chain and guest air travel. The results from the Environmental Profit & Loss account have been offset by the provision of jobs and training and social value generated through our community projects. The result revealed that our net impact on society is a positive one.

    Carbon Neutral
    We became carbon neutral in 2012 for both direct and indirect resort operations including guest flights, which accounts for 80% of our CO2 emissions. A 2% environmental levy on the room rate introduced in 2008 has raised over US$ 6 million to date, making this possible. We have invested through the Soneva Foundation in carbon mitigating projects that to date has mitigated 191,192 tonnes CO2 to date. Our total carbon footprint including guest flights was 32,637 tonnes CO2.
    We have worked hard to ensure that our environmental levy compensates for unavoidable CO2 emissions, yet has positive social impact. The Myanmar Stoves Campaign, the first Gold Standard carbon credit project in Myanmar, improves the lives of families trapped in energy poverty through monetary savings for households, protection of biodiversity, training and employment opportunities and health benefits from significantly reduced indoor air pollution. To date 70,000 people have benefitted from the efficient cook stoves in 400 villages and 300 vendors have been trained. The social value generated is US$10 million over a three-year period.
    All in all the Soneva Foundation projects will mitigate around 1 million tonnes CO2 over their lifetime have improved the lives of more than 200,000 people to date.

    Energy Management
    Soneva resorts are located on remote island settings with no municipal power, water or waste facilities. We therefore have to create our own power and water utilities that are reliable 24/7, 365 days a year. At Soneva Fushi we have installed a 700 kWp solar PV system that covers 100% of electricity used during the day.

    Water Management
    Soneva sources all its water sustainably and is 100% self-sufficient – 21% rainwater collected, 29% deep well and 50% desalination. In addition, Soneva has put in place water saving practices. Water saving shower heads, aerators in taps and push valves in heart-of-house areas are all examples of technologies introduced to reduce water consumption.

    Waste Management
    In total, 85% of our waste is recycled through state-of-the-art Eco Centro Waste-to-Wealth programme, up from only 27% compared to the 2008-09 baseline. 100% of food waste is composted and the fertile soil produced is reused in our vegetable gardens. Our waste handling and vegetable production generated US$250,00 in value in 2017. We expect this to increase as Soneva Fushi recently opened the Soneva Glass Studio, which invites guests to watch world-renowned glass artists create objects of art from waste glass materials and to learn the art of glass blowing themselves. Only waste glass produced from resorts in the local area is used at the facility. The Glass Studio takes our Eco Centro concept to the logical next step – creating not just wealth from waste but also beauty.

    Human Capital
    We believe that success and profitability of a company depends on how well human resources are managed. We measure, value and maximise the holistic returns on our human capital rather than simply train from a “cost-to-company” perspective. Soneva employs over 950 hosts. Nearly 80% of our hosts are from the country we operate in. The majority of the remainder are from neighbouring developing countries. The human capital generated from the value of jobs created and sustained in our operations, via salary training, working environment and experience as well as in society from hosts post-Soneva employment, was in 2016-17 US$ 11 million.
    We are proud that many of our hosts start at entry-level positions, work their way up to senior management positions and stay with us for many years. We have recently initiated the Soneva Junior Host programme that offers 14 young people with limited options, higher education on a six month training course at Soneva Fushi using the Youth Career Initiative curriculum.

    Biodiversity
    At Soneva, we strive to provide a blueprint for the hospitality industry. We work with the environment to craft beautiful, beyond bespoke experiences where discovery is a way of life. We personally guided, primarily by our resident marine biologists, 1,700 guests in 2015-16 fiscal on snorkeling trips at Baa Atoll UNESCO Bisophere reserve to learn about the marine life and why it is important to protect it.

    Despite living in an island nation, many Maldivians grow up without learning to swim. While this poses a clear risk to life, it also means that children grow up with little environmental awareness of the ocean and the coral reefs that surround them. We believe that if children learn to swim, they can lose their fear of the ocean and learn to love it. Over an intensive two weeks, the Soneva Ocean Steward programme takes local children from the very basics through to their first time snorkelling on the reef edge. We have taught 106 children and 18 mothers to swim as well as trained eight swimming instructors. The social value generated from this project is US$ 54,864 over a two-year period.

    A significant lesson we have learnt is that the power of positive experiences inspires the best in people. We train our hosts and they deliver exceptional experiences that make our guests return. This success allows us invest in projects that adds million of dollars in social value while neutralising our negative impacts.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates environmental performance.

  • Since its establishment in 1995, Soneva has had a total commitment to responsible business. It was, and still is, endorsed by the founders Sonu and Eva Shivdasani.

    We became carbon neutral in 2012 for both direct and indirect resort operations including guest flights, which accounts for 80% of our CO2 emissions. A 2% environmental levy on the room rate introduced in 2008 has raised over US$ 6 million to date, making this possible. We have invested through the Soneva Foundation in carbon mitigating projects that to date has mitigated 191,192 tonnes CO2 to date. Our total carbon footprint including guest flights was 32,637 tonnes CO2.

    Through the Soneva Foundation we have implemented projects that will mitigate around 1 million tonnes CO2 over their lifetime have improved the lives of more than 200,000 people to date. These include:
    • The Myanmar Stoves Campaign, the first Gold Standard carbon credit project in Myanmar, improves the lives of families trapped in energy poverty through monetary savings for households, protection of biodiversity, training and employment opportunities and health benefits from significantly reduced indoor air pollution. To date 70,000 people have benefitted from the efficient cook stoves in 400 villages and 300 vendors have been trained. The social value generated is US$10 million over a two-year period. The project is expected to mitigate 500,000 tonnes of CO2 over the next seven years.
    • Soneva Forest Restoration Project has since 2011 planted 511,920 trees of 90 different local species using Framework Species Methodology (20-30 different species). A total area of 300 acres of degraded forest land is being restored in Northern Thailand, which will mitigate 255,000 tonnes of CO2.
    • Darfur Stoves Project was established in early 2012. The project has distributed highly efficient cook-stoves to 27,000 families in the war-torn region of Darfur, Sudan, which will mitigate around 240,000 tons of CO2 over the next seven years. In addition to the climatic benefits the Darfuri families will benefit from lower energy expenses, less time spent foraging for firewood in dangerous areas and less indoor air pollution, one of the biggest killers of women and children in Africa.
    • A 1.5MW Wind Turbine mitigating 70,000 tons CO2 was built in Tamil Nadu, India in 2008.

    In October 2008, Soneva banned imported bottled water and instead bottle its own Drinking Water enhanced with minerals bottled in reusable glass bottles. Globally, 760 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion to basic sanitation services. In recognition to this, a significant proportion of the water revenue has been used through the Soneva Foundation to give over 750,000 people access to safe water. 493 projects in 53 countries have been implemented. Main implementing partners are Water Charity, Thirst-Aid and WHOLE WORLD Water.

    The Soneva Foundation initiated and funded the establishment of the WHOLE WORLD Water campaign, which aims to bring the whole hospitality industry together to address global water challenges. The simple step is to follow Soneva’s example by bottling our own drinking water, selling it and contributing 10% of water revenues to clean water projects.

    Soneva’s commitment to sustainability reflects our belief that a responsible business is the best business model.

Anti-Corruption
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of anti-corruption for the company (i.e. anti-corruption risk-assessment). Description of policies, public commitments and company goals on anti-corruption.

  • Soneva has zero tolerance for corruption, bribery and extortion. We support the UN Convention Against Corruption and continue to make sure that our company and hosts follow the principles.

    We have a specific policy relating to local compliance which clearly requires our suppliers and business partners to adhere to our principles.

    We do not currently have a protocol in place to guide hosts in situations where they are confronted with extortion or bribery, but will implement a training programme to address this in 2014.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions to implement anti-corruption policies, address anti-corruption risks and respond to incidents.

  • Description of concrete actions to implement anti-corruption policies, reduce anti-corruption risks and respond to incidents.

    Internally, Soneva is maintaining a check and balance system over transactions. The records are maintained with proper evidence of expenditure. Each team member is responsible for its team budget and this is further checked and controlled by finance. Our accounts are then audited by each fiscal year end.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates anti-corruption performance.

  • Soneva has not been involved in any legal cases involving corruption and bribery. Soneva does internal audits that are checked by the CFO and CEO. Soneva’s books and accounts are subjected to statutory external audit annually. These audits are used as one of the methods of identifying any suspicious payments which could be related to bribery or corrupt behavior. There has been no such incident reported in the period.