From solar plants and zero-waste kitchens, to low-carbon cocktails and free diving lessons, the Patina Maldives Fari Islands resort is setting new standards for sustainability in the Maldives. Olivia Palamountain reports
The trend for purposeful, responsible travel has a new champion in Patina Maldives, Fari Islands, a luxury archipelago retreat launching later this year built on nurturing sustainable values and a “commitment to perpetuity”.
While it’s easy to dismiss buzzwords, the Patina Maldives has gone above and beyond to prove its dedication to sustainable travel, which is just as well as the Maldives is under severe threat of rising sea levels as a consequence of climate change.
During construction, locally sourced, biodegradable and reusable materials are being incorporated wherever possible (all timber is FSC-certified and sourced from 100 percent transparent supply chains), while all 1,600 workers have been given refillable water bottles to minimise rubbish.
Going forward, all drinking water on the island will be produced and bottled in-house with on-island water bottling plant, Nordaq.
A solar plant by Swimsol (a company specialising in marine offshore solar panels and also the leading solar panel provider in the Maldives) serves as a source of renewable energy, with aims to provide 50 per cent of the resort’s needs by 2030.
This is supported by the Patina Maldives’ participation in global “carbon sequester” programmes that neutralise its carbon output. Future plans include investing in long-term Blue carbon partnerships and a solar-powered transportation fleet.
Marco den Ouden, general manager of the Patina Maldives, Fari Islands, says: “Patina Maldives, Fari Islands, is well aware of the global challenges that are affecting the worldwide carbon footprint. Our archipelago at Fari Islands provides us with a scalable opportunity to positively impact our construction, supply chain, operational standards, marine biosphere, and most importantly, community, directly.
“This has been our driving intent and the main inspiration for ‘perpetuality’, our ethos. It will continue to help us identify targeted and innovative collaborations in the near- and long-term future.
“We are humbled and impressed with the global knowledge and support that we have received from our partners thus far, and remain positive about their perpetual contributions to Patina Maldives now and in times ahead.”As the resort gears up to welcome guests, further initiatives will be put into action. Joining the Amilla Maldives in manifesting the “Zero Miles, Zero Waste” trend that Globetrender identified in its Future of Luxury Travel report last year, the Patina Maldives advocates a “nose-to-tail, root-to leaf” culinary principle that both minimises waste and celebrates a plant-based diet.
Signature dining venue, Roots, serves up sophisticated plant-based cuisine, much of which is home grown in the island’s organic permaculture garden.
Drinkers are also in for a treat – every cocktail and spirit served at the Patina Maldives, including the Fari Beach Club, will eliminate 30 grams of carbon emissions in comparison to drinks crafted at beverage outlets with conventional labels.
This is thanks to the world’s first low-carbon, low-waste spirits distribution technology – ecoSPIRITS, which almost eradicates packaging and glass waste from the spirits supply chain.
Over at the Patina Maldives’ kids’ centre, Footprints (which is 100% powered by the sun), activities designed to educate the next generation in the importance of conservation are on offer, powered entirely by Swimsol.
At Footprints’ “Fab Lab”, kids can turn recycled ocean plastic into models using 3D printing and laser cutting technology, while in its culinary studio, children are introduced to growing veggies.
The ocean is a huge part of life in the Maldives, making marine conservation and exploration a natural focus for the resort, too.
Free diving lessons and PADI dive certifications are provided to both younger guests and as a gift to local Maldivian children, complemented by efforts to tackle plastic pollution and implement a comprehensive coral propagation project.
In addition to these longer-term projects, Halevai founder and Parley for the Oceans crew member, Frank Heidinger, is collaborating with the Fari Islands on guest programming, leading regular beach clean-ups both on-resort and on neighbouring local islands, for example. (For every stay, 10kgs of marine plastic will be collected, cleaned and repurposed into Parley ocean plastic material.)
The resort has also formed a strategic alliance with the Olive Ridley Project, a charitable organisation that provides rehabilitation to injured turtles from the Indian Ocean, through which guests will be encouraged to adopt a turtle during their stay.
Not only will one per cent of Patina Maldives’ gross operating profits be used to fund a range of charitable initiatives.