Sustainability and protecting island life in the Maldives

Long beaches and sandy shores, this is what comes to mind when thinking of the Maldives. How can we ensure tourisms is sustainably developed to ensure the longevity of these beautiful locations?

Sustainability is at the heart of Gili Lankanfushi’s vision, with an emphasis on preserving the natural environment, protecting the fragile marine ecosystem and leaving only footprints behind. Conservation is taken seriously by the island’s dedicated marine biology team who monitor the health and biodiversity of the surrounding coral reef ecosystems, measuring light intensity and sea surface temperature, identifying and tracking manta ray and turtle populations, removing invasive Crown of Thorns starfish, and educating guests about the underwater world through lectures and guided snorkelling trips.

Gili Lankanfushi’s Coral Lines project provides a nursery environment for new corals to grow, bolstering the house reef and monitoring health and survival types across coral genotypes. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in the famed conservation project, where they will learn about coral reef restoration and rehabilitation, visit the nursing coral on ropes and can even adopt a coral.

All buildings are constructed using sustainably sourced plantation teak, palm wood and bamboo in addition to recycled telegraph poles. All rooms provide organic toiletries in refillable earthenware containers, to minimise plastic use and wastage, while the island’s dedicated desalinisation plant is used to provide glass bottles of still and sparkling water for all guests.

Further sustainability initiatives include:

  • Protection and replenishment of sea grasses, known as the ‘lungs of the sea’.
  • Working hand-in-hand with the Manta Trust to protect Manta Rays, and the Olive Ridley Project to rescue injured sea turtles.
  • Reduced plastic usage whenever possible with recycling initiatives to rid the oceans of single-use plastics from neighbouring islands.
  • All fish caught using sustainable methods and purchased from local islands.
  • Sustainable Living Training for all staff.

In May 2023 Gili Lankanfushi Maldives the pioneer of sustainable, barefoot luxury in the Maldives, is delighted to unveil its state-of-the-art new Eco-Centre. A complete renovation of the island’s previous structure, the centre comprises extensive recycling and composting facilities alongside a ‘Gili Veshi’ Marine Biology Shack, due to open later in the year.

‘We are extremely proud of our new and improved Eco-Centre,’ said Gili Lankanfushi’s resident Marine Biologist and Sustainability Manager, Jocelyn Panjikaran. ‘Gili is passionate about preserving the natural beauty and ecosystems of our special islands, which is why we are so committed to reducing our environmental impact. Along with our numerous sustainability initiatives – which our guests love to get involved in – the new Eco-Centre will play an important part in helping us do our bit for the planet.’

The new Eco-Centre includes a food composter that digests food and garden waste, in turn generating the compost the resort uses to fertilise its Organic Garden, where a selection of herbs, vegetables and lettuce are grown and used for dishes in Chef Harinath Govindaraj’s popular plant-based menu. There is also a glass-crushing machine, which creates construction materials from glass waste, while a compacting machine compresses tin and aluminium that is later recycled. Guests can participate in these efforts via a variety of local handicraft workshops, creating special souvenirs they can treasure long after they return home.

Protecting the natural environment is more important than ever and consumers are moving to care more about the effect of their travel so it is a natural progression that we will be seeing more resorts focusing on sustainability.