|by Murray Bailey, Editor/Research Director of Travel
Business Analyst, May 2008
Six to zero
The Bangkok-based Six Senses Resorts group plans to run a carbon-free
resort - not carbon-offset, note, but zero* carbon emissions.
Talk to Sonu Shivdasani, the UK-born hero-to-zero head of Six Senses
Resorts, and you get the impression that this, despite the enormity of
the task, is an extension of what the company is already doing. “It is
part of our DNA,” he says.
This is not psychobabble. The group’s Soneva Fushi Resort in Male,
Maldives is being prepared for this back-to-zero move - doubtless partly
because the Maldives itself could be submerged by global warming. The target
is for Soneva Fushi Resort to be carbon-free by 2010. By June this year
Shivdasani expects Soneva Fushi Resort will have reduced carbon emissions
by 50% compared with June 2006.
Soneva Fushi Resort will be rebranded an Eva - the group’s new name
for carbon-free resorts. Six Senses Resorts also has two other planned
sites for Evas, but contracts have not yet been signed. (Eva is the name
of Shivdasani’s wife, working with Six Senses Resorts, nominally as creative
director, but in reality much more.)
Shivdasani says it would cost 50-100% more to build an environmentally-friendly
resort, but some elements would be cheaper to run; see below. He says return-on-investment
is less than five years; sooner, with oil prices going higher.
He admits he does not know how he will achieve zero emissions, adding
that Six Senses Resorts is “doing the easy part now”. But the technology
is developing fast, so some solutions may come in time. Meanwhile, Soneva
Fushi Resort offsets some procedures - importing food, for instance. And
it is now looking at how employee travel can be zero-ed.
Bullet-points on some Six Senses Resorts green actions:
Shivdasani says - as a matter of fact, not a boast - that Eva will set
a benchmark, so that others will follow. (*ZERO is also the name a new
occasional column on this theme in the Travel Business Analyst newsletter.)
Air-conditioning at the Soneva Fushi Resort will come via water piped from
deeper-ergo-cooler sea off the island. InterContinental’s resort in Bora
Bora, Tahiti, already does this, but its waters are deeper and so colder.
So SF’s plans are experimental.
In Maldives, Soneva Fushi Resort guests pay a 2% carbon tax.
Six Senses Resorts have always employed environmentalists. And local people,
to support the local communities. And all resorts have organic gardens.
Pullman, Accor’s reintroduced brand, started with 12 conversions - including
Bangkok and Dongguan (in China near Shenzhen).
By end-2008, there are expected to be 50 Pullmans with 13,000 rooms
in 23 countries. Then 300 by 2015 - a rate of 25 a year. Accor says Pullman’s
expansion will focus on international business and leisure destinations
(although at least one of those first 12, in Dongguan, is neither).
Portfolio growth should be relatively easy. Because the brand is non-standard,
Accor can move hotels out of its other brands. For example, if a Sofitel
is below standard, and the owner does not want to spend to upgrade, it
can be moved into Pullman. Also, high-grade Novotels could be moved into
(Although Pullman is pitched below Sofitel, most - including us - believe
the public would visualise Pullman as above Sofitel, so owners should be
And takeovers will probably be easier, given the pull (sorry) of the