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Sonu Shivdasani

Founder, Soneva Group

BACKGROUND / Academic and professional background

Sonu Shivdasani is an alumnus of Eton College and Oxford University. With his wife, Eva, he created Six Senses Resorts & Spas, opening with Soneva Fushi in 1995. At the time of its sale in 2012, the Six Senses Group had grown to 26 resorts and 41 Six Senses Spas. Since 2012, Sonu and Eva focus their attention on Soneva Resorts, Residences & Spas. They have established The SLOW LIFE Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation committed to supporting the development and operation of projects and campaigns that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact.

ACHIEVEMENT/ What is your project, initiative, start-up, company all about?

Sonu and Eva have created a pioneering vision for sustainable tourism, coining the concept of barefoot and intelligent luxury, which recognizes the ability for luxury holiday making and care for the environment to co-exist with perfect ease.

LOCATION/ In which city, country, part of the world do you conduct your activities?

The Soneva Hub is located in Bangkok. Soneva Kiri is located in Koh Kood, Thailand, and Soneva Fushi is located in Baa Atoll, Maldives.

IMPACT/ What is the positive economic, social, political, environmental…of the activity, project, initiative, start-up, company?

Soneva resorts uses only natural and sustainable building materials, plastic is banned and as much produce as possible is grown or caught locally to support the group’s constant drive to lower its carbon footprint and to ultimately decarbonise.

Soneva has pledged half a percentage of its annual revenue to funding local community projects, such as supporting educational systems that promote awareness of marine conservation as well as active projects including replanting of mangrove forests, coral cleaning and endangered species protection.

Soneva resorts do not serve packaged branded water but instead filter and bottle water in recyclable glass bottles on site. This saves on CO2 from transportation miles and packaging. Revenue from water sales are donated to water charities, resulting in clean water for over 650,000 people to date.

The SLOW LIFE Foundation is the co-founder of WHOLE WORLD Water, an initiative to encourage the whole hospitality and restaurant industry to serve water produced onsite and invest savings in clean water projects around the world.

QUOTE/ A saying, quote or reference phrase that tells something about you

“One must be prepared to give up who one is, in order to become who one will”