August 12, 2019, Singapore – Four businesses and one individual championing environmental sustainability and ocean conservation in the marine tourism industry were honoured at BlueGreen 360 Awards Year 3 held on April 12, 2019 at this year’s Asia Dive Expo in Suntec City Singapore.

Now in its third year, BlueGreen 360 Awards celebrates businesses and individuals that are pioneers in implementing sustainable solutions in their day-to-day operations and making a positive impact in the communities where they operate. This year’s awards also highlights businesses that are implementing solutions to tackle ocean plastic pollution.

The winners were judged by sustainable tourism and marine conservation experts such as Luigi Cabrini, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council; Rili Djohani Executive Director of the Coral Triangle Center (CTC); Dianna Cohen CEO and Co-founder of the Plastic Pollution Coalition; Natalie Harms of the UN Environment; and Chloe Harvey of Reef-World Foundation, in collaboration with the organizers of the Asia Dive Expo.

This year’s winners have all exhibited their commitment to environmental programmes to protect marine biodiversity, successfully collaborated with various groups promoting on-the ground marine conservation efforts that benefit the environment and the local community in addition to serving as inspirations for others to do the same.

The winners are:

Dive Operator of the Year:  Lembeh Resort

Lembeh Resort and its dive centre Critters@Lembeh Resort is taking major steps in addressing ocean plastic pollution. It places demands on its suppliers to reduce plastic packaging for all purchases and takes steps not to repackage items in plastic, opting instead for traditional wraps including banana leaves. It’s constructed accommodation uses green technology including solar water heating systems that reduce carbon footprint. It has a set up the Lembeh Foundation in 2018, the core aims of which is to reduce plastic waste, provide education and economic benefits, while improving the health and sustainability of local communities.  It has raised funds to build a trash bank and a green library school building where locals can exchange their plastic waste for cash and learn how to re-purpose plastic waste in to items which can be sold in the resort’s gift shop.  The resort and dive staff are regularly organising underwater and beach clean ups and teaching local children sustainability, wildlife, conservation and plastic pollution. The resort works with community leaders to ensure that the entire community is involved in the sustainability projects in the village. Since the creation of the Lembeh Foundation, the entire village of Pintu Kota Kecil is embracing a more sustainable way of life.

Hotel and Resort of the Year: Ceningan Divers Resort

Ceningan Divers Resort, which was last year’s Dive Operator of the Year winner, wins this year’s hotel and resort category for its continuous drive in promoting sustainability in its operations and working with the local community to address ocean plastic pollution. The resort implements an in-house training programme for all staff to teach them about the impact of single-use plastic and proper waste management. The resort has a recycling programme and has set up the local Trash Hero Ceningan chapter and conducts weekly clean ups with the community; participates in ghost net removals, coral transplantation, and reef health surveys in the Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area. The resort sponsors rubbish bins around the islands and conducts weekly workshops on various topics such as Manta, Sunfish, the impact we have on our reef and the ocean, reduction/elimination of single-use plastic and alternative options while travelling. It will begin teaching free swimming lessons to local school children and supports a scholarship for its local dive masters.

Plastic Pollution Innovator: Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu wins this year’s Plastic Pollution Innovator Award for its serious commitment to be plastic-free by 2022. This past year, the resort has undertaken an inventory of all plastic items in resort operations, and measures are being taken to eliminate or reduce the number of pieces of plastic used. It has partnered with a sustainable packaging company to use plastic-free food shipment packing made of hemp, jute, and wood fibres. The resort helps in the clean up of ghost nets and conduct weekly reef clean-ups to collect rubbish from nearby reefs. In 2018, the resort collected 2,800 pieces of plastic from its surrounding reefs and submitted the data to the Project AWARE database. Alongside community members and students, it collected 1,400 kg of plastic waste from beaches of inhabited and uninhabited islands and repurposed the materials in the resort’s Earth Lab recycling hub.

Personality of the Year: Helen Pananggung

Helen is a staff at the Lembeh Resort and has been intrinsic in creating and setting up the Lembeh Foundation as a registered Indonesian charity, which is working along side local communities on Lembeh Island to provide environmental and economically sustainable solutions to waste management. Helen is at the forefront of driving change and reducing plastic consumption within Lembeh Resort and local communities. Over the last two years, she has devoted all of her spare time and energy into making Lembeh Resort and neighbouring village Pintu Kota more sustainable. Helen liaises with suppliers of Lembeh Resort to ensure that they meet our demands of reduced packaging and plastic. She has approached village leaders to gain their trust and support as an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable model community. Helen hosts regular workshops within the village, teaching skills to re-purpose plastic as well as twice monthly Green Library classes to educate the next generation about the wildlife and eco-systems of the region, conservation and sustainable options.

“This year we had very inspiring winners for the Blue Green 360 Awards representing role models in the marine tourism industry. Each one of them provides a personal inspiration and commitment to promote responsible tourism and their commitment to empower local communities. Special attention to the plastic pollution issue which they are addressing in their operations and in their outreach and education programmes,” said Rili Djohani, Executive Director, Coral Triangle Center.

Green Fins Award: Tioman Dive Centre

Tioman Dive Centre have been Green Fins members since 2009. The winner of the Green Fins Award is decided by a rigorous assessment of business practices, which determines the company’s environmental impact. All active Green Fins members have all undergone this assessment, as well as Green Fins sustainability training, and Tioman Dive Centre was the business with the lowest environmental impact overall. TDC have implemented several processes to improve their sustainability including changing to environmentally cleaning products, educating their staff about the benefits of protecting the ocean, running Green Fins inductions for all new staff, correcting guests’ bad behaviour on dives and explaining why any corrections were made, and encouraging their staff to pick up their lunches in Tupperware boxes.

Chloe Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’d like to congratulate Tioman Dive Centre on being the most environmentally friendly of all the Green Fins dive operators and thank you for all your hard work to achieve this amazing result. We do our best to support Green Fins members in their efforts to reduce their environmental impact by providing training, posters, information and guides and we’re delighted to see how pro-actively they have taken on board this information.”

The business nominees were reviewed on how they adopt innovative means to minimise negative impact to marine and coastal environments in their operations and widen their impact in actively engaging communities to protect the environment. The individual winner was reviewed based on pioneering efforts and commitment in promoting sustainable marine tourism in the private sector and mobilisation of various stakeholders in promoting sustainable tourism.

By highlighting businesses who value sustainability, the BlueGreen 360 awards will help to promote those people who are going about business in the right way, bringing them more customers and more success.

About the Organizers

Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) is the longest running and the largest dive expo in Asia celebrating its 22nd year in 2017. A must-attend event for anyone interested or involved in the world of diving, the event has seen a continuous increase in visitors over the past few years, with ADEX 2017 attracted a total of 60,296 visitors over three days. Taking place from April 6 – 8, 2018 ADEX 2018 proudly presents world-renowned marine life artists, conservationists and photographers to speak about their passion and work towards marine life. It is organized by Underwater360 (UW360), and is an event being endorsed by major organizations in the industry such as DEMA (USA), the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Underwater Federation (SUF). www.adex.asia

Coral Triangle Center (CTC) is an Indonesian foundation based in Bali with a regional scope and global impact. CTC provides training on sustainable fisheries and ensures that marine protected areas within the Coral Triangle are managed effectively. CTC supports on-the-ground programmes through its learning sites in Nusa Penida and the Banda Islands and Atauro in Timor-Leste. CTC leads regional learning networks of women leaders, local government executives and marine protected area practitioners in the six Coral Triangle countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. CTC works with communities, businesses, governments, and partners to shape lasting solutions to protect coral reef ecosystems and ensure sustainable livelihoods and food security. It is developing its Center for Marine Conservation in Bali as to serve as a centre of excellence for marine conservation training programmes and outreach activities and a venue for artistic and cultural performances to inspire ocean conservation. Please visit: www.coraltrianglecenter.org

Green Fins is paving the way to unite politics and sustainability for marine conservation at diving popular diving destinations around the world. Established through a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and The Reef-World Foundation in 2004, Green Fins uses a unique and proven three-pronged approach; green certifications of dive centres, strengthening regulations and environmental education for dive staff, divers and government. Almost 500 dive and snorkel operators across seven countries have signed up for free membership, and are using Green Fins as a platform to set examples of sustainable business operations. To find them and to find out how you can dive your way to a more sustainable future, visit www.greenfins.net.

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