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The Business of Sustainability
Sustainability makes good business sense, says Arnfinn Oines

Social and Environmental Conscience of Six Senses Resorts and Spas, Arnfinn Oines overlooks responsible business practices at Six Senses, which have received numerous environmental awards including the prestigious World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Award 2008. He has the responsibility of ensuring that all resorts are developed in a sustainable manner, and are in sync with the group’s “SLOW LIFE” philosophy.

He joined Six Senses in 2005 and set up an Environmental Management System, which led Evason Phuket to become the first resort in South East Asia to become Earth Check Certified. He speaks with Spa Mantra on his work at Six Senses, and his award-winning
achievements in sustainability.

Sandhya Chipalkatti: You have been the Social and Environmental Conscience for the Six Senses group from 2005. What does your job entail?
Arnfinn Oines: The role involves overlooking the responsible business practices at Six Senses. I initially started in 2005 with focus on one property, and have since gradually assumed responsibility for all properties in 2009. The role oversees the operational resorts and supports the new projects are being developed in line with the company value known as SLOW LIFE™ (Sustainable- Local-Organic-Wholesome Learning- Inspiring-Fun- Experiences).

An important part of the job has been to establish a solid performance tool in the Carbon Calculator as well as policies and procedures, and to ensure properties are following good and
responsible business practices. This entails managing energy, water, waste and biodiversity among other things, better. Furthermore, I have been involved in establishing various projects
not directly related to our operations. A Carbon Sense Fund has been established that invests in projects that mitigate carbon emissions. Projects include a large Reforestation project in Thailand, an energy efficient cook stove project in Darfur and a 1.5 MW wind
turbine in India.

Another important project was the establishment of Six Senses Wellness
Water and Clean Water Projects. In 2008 we banned imported drinking water as well as plastic bottles. The year after, we decided to donate 50% of water sales and established our
Clean Water Projects. Both initiatives along with other initiatives have been collated under The SLOW LIFE Trust, which I have been part of establishing. I have also been involved in establishing two important

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1. The Soneva Sustainable Future Symposium (previously SLOW LIFE Symposium) brings together policy makers, business leaders and environmentalist to discuss practical environmental solutions. 2. Six Senses Water/Wo/Men combines
water athletes and water experts into an interesting fundraiser.

Your major achievements?
I was originally brought in to help with Green Globe Certification and helped Evason Phuket to be the first property in Thailand to be Green Globe Benchmarked and first resort in South East Asia to be Green Globe Certified. Six Senses has won numerous environmental awards
including prestigious World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism For Tomorrow Award, Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Award Doing it All, PATA Grand and Gold Award and HICAP
Sustainability Award to mention a few. The development of our Carbon Calculator as a sophisticated tool to measure our carbon footprint in detail has been important in order to know where we stand and what we need to do to achieve our decarbonising goal. What you cannot measure you cannot manage.

Furthermore, the establishment of our Reforestation project was a milestone. We have already planted 138,000 trees and aim to add plant another 290,000 trees in 2012. And we plant 20-30 different species which enable a lush forest to be created. I am also proud of our Clean Water Projects. In 2 years we have helped 560,000 people through 430 projects in 51 countries get access to either clean drinking water or basic sanitation.

What support did you receive from various local governments towards your environmental
In general the governments are positive to our environmental objectives. It is not always reflected in action, but it is certainly appreciated. An area where we have received a lot of support has been the Maldives. Here the political leadership has been very active and
supportive. It will be interesting to see what happens now with the changes that currently are happening. Hopefully there is a continued support.

What is ‘sustainability’ for you?
I think the original definition set up by my fellow Norwegian Gro Harlem Brundtland in 1987 explains it well: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to
meet their own needs.”

Issue number 6, page number 23

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