Six Senses Yao Noi was recently awarded the HICAP 2020 Sustainable Hotel Awards in the Positive Community Impact (Property) category for its Clean Water Project. Since its inception in 2014, the program has improved the lives of 102,976 community members through its activation in more than 32 locations to provide access to clean drinking water. Initially launched in Cambodia, the Clean Water Project later expanded locally to Thailand in 2016 through partnerships with NGOs like Geo Life, Imagine Thailand and local community groups. The program has also continued to focus its efforts on removing the need for importing plastic water bottles onto Koh Yao Noi island. At present, there are 15 filtration and dispensing units installed in schools, hospitals, community halls and places of worship on the island.
Water consumption remains a concern despite high annual rainfall as shortages take place during the dry season. At Six Senses Yao Noi, the water used within the resort and host compound comes from the resort’s reservoir, making it self-sufficient. Drinking water is filtered and bottled in reusable glass bottles onsite, eliminating imports of drinking water and up to 101,000 plastic water bottles per year by the resort directly.
“We’re honored to be recognized by HICAP for this award. Six Senses Yao Noi has been producing drinking water on-site since the resort opened 13 years ago, mainly to be more environmentally conscious and to create public awareness of “food-miles”. The provision of drinking water filtration is strategically aligned with brand-wide policy that all Six Senses drinking water must be bottled in refillable glass bottles,” said General Manager, Graham Grant.
By investing in in-house expertise in water filtration, the resort is able to send its engineering team for equipment installation at designated Clean Water Project locations, and at the same time build stronger bonds with the community.
While Six Senses Yao Noi provides its own drinking water, the Clean Water Project is also part of a larger strategy to reduce dependence on disposable plastic bottles and raise awareness in the local communities. This includes talking to local community leaders about the importance of adopting these systems for the benefit of all. Reusable water bottles are also distributed amongst the community.
Community engagement activities have also extended to a new initiative, Trash Hero Koh Yao Noi, the local island chapter of Trash Hero Global. This brings the local community together for weekly beach clean ups, collecting 12.6 tons of waste in 2019. The importance of eliminating single-use plastics can be seen first hand through the amount of trash collected each week.
“We encourage people to refill their reusable water bottles at no cost, instead of purchasing bottled water from stores. This leads to a significant decrease in the number of single-use plastic entering the island, as well the associated cost. In line with this purpose, we have to date supplied 1,200 reusable water bottles to children on the island,” said Grant.
Aside from the Clean Water Project, Six Senses Yao Noi has also invested in medical facilities, education, permaculture and environmental projects, including mangroves and Hornbill conservation efforts.