Sustainability is at the heart of our decisions and actions as a company. By operating our business responsibly today, we can ensure that the unique environments, cultures and experiences we share with our guests can be experienced not just once, but for many generations to come. We are responsible not only to our guests and hosts, but also to the local communities and ecosystems around us.
The Marine Team at Six Senses Laamu strives to inspire visiting guests, fellow hosts and local communities by promoting education and awareness of the marine environment. The team is the largest of its kind in the country and conducts valuable research to implement long-term conservation in Laamu Atoll.
We invite guests to join us for any of the following activities during their stay:
Guided Snorkel – Join a marine biologist to snorkel daily on our house reef, or join the team on any of three afternoons per week for our two-hour boat excursion to two different reefs within the atoll.
Dolphin Cruise – Relax and watch the beautiful sunset whilst we search for dolphins; we have a high success rate of seeing the acrobatic spinner dolphins and if we are lucky we may see some curious bottlenose dolphins also.
Evening Presentations – Five nights per week we hold presentations about marine life, covering topics from turtles to sharks, rays, dolphins, fish families, coral reefs and more.
Reef Clean Ups – Once per week guests are invited to join our team of hosts to clean the ocean and remove as much trash as possible from the reefs around our island.
Kids Club – Once per week we join our little VIPs to teach them about marine life with fun games and activities.
We are lucky in Laamu Atoll to have a healthy population of both green and hawksbill sea turtles. We know this because turtles have a unique pattern of scales on their face which allows us to identify each as an individual, and in turn learn about the local population distribution.
Identification Database – Help us photograph and identify green and hawksbill turtles seen on our snorkel and dive sites.
Nesting – Female green turtles usually arrive in March and nesting occurs through July. We take minimal data while the female is on the beach so as not to disturb her.
Hatching – Juveniles will hatch approximately two months after nesting, usually May through September. Guests can sign up to witness this magical event, which usually occurs during the night.
Rescue – We free any turtles we encounter that are injured or stuck in a ghost net and work closely with the Olive Ridley Project based here in the Maldives.
Codes of conduct
Dolphin Watching Six Senses Laamu was the first resort in the Maldives to establish and implement a Code of Conduct for dolphin watching in order to protect the local spinner and bottlenose dolphins, and to ensure the future sustainability of their populations. This includes key information about how to approach a pod of dolphins in a boat and what distance and speed to maintain whilst with the pod.
Turtle Interactions We have created a Code of Conduct for snorkelers and divers to ensure positive interactions with turtles seen on our reefs. A calm approach and keeping a suitable distance are key factors affecting your interaction with any turtle.
Manta Ray Interactions We use the Manta Trust Code of Conduct for how to interact with manta rays whilst diving. These thorough guidelines include information for boats, divers and snorkelers.
Coral Reef Protection
We endeavor to keep our reefs healthy by:
Informing all visitors about responsible snorkeling and diving behavior
Installing mooring buoys for boats to avoid anchor damage
Not carrying out any destructive night-fishing activities for guest amusement
Not engaging in coral transplantation or propagation projects of dubious value
Discouraging guests and hosts from feeding wildlife and fish
Encouraging guests to leave all debris, shells, coral pieces and sand on the beach or in the reef
Not selling any shells, coral or other animal products in our gift shop
We carry out surveys of all megafauna, fish and coral in order to gain baseline knowledge on the populations of marine life and health of the coral reef over time. We began a biodiversity database in 2016 to establish the number of species we see at our surrounding snorkel and dive sites which could play a role in allowing us to set up protection measures in the future. In 2017 we established a coral nursery containing coral fragments of 10 different species which will spend approximately one year growing in the nursery before transplantation occurs back onto the house reef. This is in order to increase coral cover and diversity following the El Nino coral bleaching event of 2016.
Our dive center, Deep Blue Divers, is Green Fins certified, PADI Green Star certified, and 100% Aware by Project Aware. We work with our dive instructors to ensure our policies and dive courses are up to resort sustainability standards, as well as raising diver awareness of what they can do to protect the marine environment.
Sea Grass Conservation
Six Senses Laamu recognizes the ecological importance of sea grass habitats and pledges to play a more active role in the conservation of sea grass beds around the resort island and in the Laamu Atoll. Seagrass acts as a nursery habitat to many fish and invertebrate species; it is a direct food source for green turtles which can each consume up to two kilograms (almost four-and-a-half pounds) per day as an adult; it acts as a carbon dioxide sink and releases vast amounts of oxygen; it filters nutrients out of the water; and it stabilizes the sediment on the seafloor. The loss of seagrass beds would have a direct and drastic impact on the surrounding coral reefs and we plan to communicate the need for sea grass conservation to guests and locals and eventually encourage this action Maldives-wide.
Six Senses Laamu is committed to reducing the environmental impact and carbon footprint from activities associated with the resort, spa, guestrooms, dining and excursions. Utilizing corporate sustainability guidelines, the resort constantly works towards improving resource efficiency, self-sufficiency and zero-waste.
In the heart of the island lies our Leaf Garden, where we grow organic herbs, vegetables, lettuce, micro greens and sprouts. These include unique species such as stevia, small burnet and golden nettle that help our chefs to achieve delicious flavors in restaurant kitchens and the bars. Nestled at the back of the garden is our mushroom hut, where we grow delicacies such as oyster and abalone mushrooms. Small beds of no less than 24 outstanding varieties of chilies from around the world encircle our chili table, where guests can dine under the stars surrounded by the aromas of fresh produce.
Earth Lab is Six Senses Laamu’s hub for self-sufficiency and zero-waste. It is a center for experimentation and innovation, to try to produce more onsite and reduce emissions from long-distance transport. Zero-waste means not thinking of materials as waste, but how they can be recycled into something new. We recycle crushed glass into cement products, organic waste into compost, old towels into flower pots, and used wax into new candles. We have an aquaponics system, which uses the circulation of water to grow plants without soil, in an alternative method to traditional plot gardening. Guests are invited to join a Back-of-House Tour to see our sustainability initiatives in action, and also learn how such an isolated resort operates responsibly in terms of ecological and community impacts. Other highlights of the tour include the 'Kukulhu Village' chicken farm, onsite tailor, carpentry workshop, desalination plant, and host village.
All of the island’s water is produced by desalination. This works by a process of reverse osmosis, whereby pressurized seawater is filtered through a semi-permeable membrane to remove all of the salt and particles. The water is then re-mineralized and passed through an ultraviolet filter, before being bottled in reusable glass bottles and delivered to all villas and outlets. By using only glass water bottles, we eliminate all plastic bottles from resort operations, part of an effort to be single-use plastic free. All wastewater is then treated onsite in a water treatment plant, and we use only biodegradable laundry detergents and cleaning supplies so that when the water is treated, it is not harmful to the environment.
All energy on the island is produced by diesel generators, and until renewable energy becomes available, energy conservation is the main focus. We are constantly working on reducing electricity consumption by making guests and hosts more aware of their usage and we have a few built-in energy-saving efficiencies. Villas have been designed to take advantage of passive cooling, such as natural ventilation and overhanging roofs to create shade for the windows and reduce the need for air-conditioning. Waste heat recovery is the process of capturing the heat produced when the generators are running and using it to pre-heat the hot water for the whole island. 86°F (30°C) water is heated to 122°F (50°C), and a lot of power is saved through this process. We also ensure that new machinery and equipment that we purchase is of the highest energy efficiency.
Waste management is one of the biggest challenges in the Maldives, and facilities to collect, segregate, and recycle materials are limited. We try to avoid creating the waste in the first place and the waste we do create is either recycled onsite or responsibly disposed of. Segregation bins can be found around the island for paper, plastic, metal, and glass. Some of the ways we reduce our waste include:
Only printing when necessary and always reusing paper by printing on the reverse side.
Encouraging our suppliers to reduce packaging when delivering supplies and ordering in bulk whenever possible.
Eliminating single-use plastics at the resort, including plastic bags, bottles, and straws. Guests carrying duty-free bags at the airport are given paper ones in exchange and are provided with reusable beach bags at the resort. Plastic straws have been replaced with paper ones and plastic bottles have been replaced with glass ones. We also ask that guests please not wrap their luggage in plastic as it produces unnecessary waste and will never biodegrade.
Guests are encouraged to take disposable and hazardous waste items back to their own countries, such as plastic bottles and batteries, where recycling facilities are available.
Organic waste from landscaping, such as leaves and waste wood, is processed in our wood chipper machine and used as mulch for gardening and landscaping. Food waste is composted into organic soil for the garden.
Six Senses Laamu strives to be part of a responsible and caring Laamu Atoll community in cooperation with the local island and atoll councils. We are committed to having a positive impact on the local community and giving back in the form of education, development, and service.
Support Local Islands
Six Senses Laamu employs many Maldivians, with the majority from the islands of Laamu Atoll, and sources many local products such as cadjan coconut leaf roofing woven by local women, local Maldivian coconut oil for the spa, fresh fish caught daily by local fishermen and the zero-waste tuna factory located in Laamu Atoll. Locals perform a traditional drum and dance performance called ‘bodu beru’ for guests, and the resort offers excursions to local islands for a peek into the authentic Maldivian lifestyle.
Six Senses has a Sustainability Fund, in which 0.5 percent of total revenues and any guest donations are allocated to sustainable development projects in the community. This fund has contributed to roofing for a school, cement and timber for a mosque, aggregate for a harbor, lights for an airport and metal for a waste management center. In addition, fifty-percent of water sales in all restaurant outlets goes into a fund specifically for projects providing clean, reliable drinking water to local communities in need. This fund has donated a reverse osmosis water plant to the regional hospital, as well as thirty household water filters to a local island.
'Eku Eky' Program
‘Eku-Eky’ means ‘together’ in the local language of Dhievehi. This program is an initiative by Six Senses Laamu to strengthen relationships with Laamu Atoll communities, work towards sustainable development and achieve environmental conservation. All island councils and the Laamu Atoll council, as well as representatives from schools, police, and NGOs are invited to the resort quarterly to discuss sustainable development in the atoll and how the resort can assist the islands with funding and service. From this program, the team visited all eleven inhabited islands in Laamu to conduct education session with schoolchildren, council meetings with the secretariats and open community forums for people of all ages. The results of this program are a platform in which ideas can be shared and life can be improved for all residents of Laamu Atoll.
Marine and Environmental Education Program
The Marine and Sustainability Team at Six Senses Laamu wrote a yearlong environmental education curriculum in 2017 and delivered it in two local schools. The eight-module program covers topics of atoll formation, marine ecosystems, fisheries, climate change, waste management, and many more. Students learn by presentations, videos, interactive games, crafts and field trips. This program is delivered to a different school each year in order to spread the messages of marine conservation across the atoll.
'Turtles in Laamu - Safe and Protected’ Festival
In 2016, Six Senses Laamu partnered with the local police department to organize the first ever turtle conservation festival held in Laamu. The theme was ‘Turtles in Laamu – Safe and Protected’, with the objectives of raising awareness about the importance of sea turtles and pledging to never harm a turtle, a turtle nest, or turtle eggs. The 2017 festival brought together one resort, two NGOs, three local businesses, four government agencies, 10 island councils, 12 schools, and upwards of 1,000 people to make the pledge. This annual festival is an important community event that grows every year in its attendance and reach.
Six Senses Laamu works towards marine conservation and sustainable development in Laamu Atoll with support from many other organizations. The corporate value of ‘Global Sensitivity, Local Sensibility’ means addressing worldwide problems at a local level and we cannot achieve success without the collaborative efforts of all of our partners.
The Manta Trust works for the worldwide conservation of manta rays and their habitats through robust science and research, while raising awareness and providing education to the general public about their importance. The Maldivian Manta Ray Project was founded to learn more about the life cycle, population dynamics and habitat usage of the Maldives manta population, while also working with the government, tour operators, tourists, and local communities to create greater awareness and protection for these graceful rays and their habitats.
Six Senses Laamu has hosted two Manta Trust researchers at the resort since 2014. The team has utilized cutting edge technology and innovative research techniques to learn more about the resident manta rays of Laamu than ever before. They facilitate guest interactions with manta rays and enhance the experience of diving with these majestic creatures.
Blue Marine Foundation
Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) works to provide innovative solutions to overfishing through the creation of marine reserves and establishment of sustainable fisheries. BLUE’s aim is to put 10 percent of the world’s oceans under protection by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030.
Six Senses partnered with Blue Marine Foundation in 2016 to support the Maldives Grouper Fishery and Conservation Project. Groupers are keystone species on coral reefs but are commercially exploited in Maldives. The project’s aim is to protect wild grouper populations by protecting grouper reproductive grounds and improving fisheries management. The team conducts community outreach and education sessions which generate wide support from a number of stakeholders for management of the fishery. The long-term goal is to work with local and national authorities to implement a marine protected area in Laamu Atoll as well as national fisheries policy.
The Long Run
The Long Run is a sustainable development initiative led by nature-based businesses, and represents a community of people committed to leveraging the power of their business for the health of the planet and the well-being of its people. Collectively, they aspire to conserve 20 million acres of biodiversity & improve the lives of two million people by 2020 by adhering to the highest standards of sustainability encompassing the 4Cs: Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce.
Six Senses Laamu was initiated as a Fellow Member in 2017, and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of the local region. The goal as a Fellow Member is to become a Global Ecosphere Retreat® (GER), which is recognized by the Global Sustainability Tourism Council (GSTC) as a lead sustainability standard premised on the outstanding work of the GER® and their contribution to sustainability.
Reef World Foundation
The Reef World Foundation inspires and empowers people to conserve and sustainably develop coastal resources, particularly coral reefs and related ecosystems. Reef World's main project, Green Fins, works with the marine tourism industry to protect local ecosystems and educate sustainable snorkelers, divers, and tour operators.
Six Senses Laamu has been Green Fins certified since 2016 and became a corporate partner of Reef World in 2017. The objective of the partnership is to increase the number of environmentally aware divers and snorkelers by providing education of sustainable dive practices and tools to protect coral reefs on holiday and at home.