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Six Senses Resorts and Spas

April 2009

Due Diligence Report: Six Senses Resorts and Spas


I. Company Information 1

    1. Company analysis 1

    2. Competitor analysis 2

II. CSR Information 2

  1. General 2

  2. Local Communities 4

  3. Environmental performance 4

  4. Communication on CSR policy and achievements 6

III. Assessment of Commitment to CSR and engagement with IUCN 8
IV. Media and stakeholder analysis 9

A. General internet queries 9

Positive (or at least not negative) press 9

Negative press ………….10

Potential sources of future negative press 10

Change in press coverage over time 10

B. Queries to watchdog, sustainable development, and NGO websites 10

C. Negative information on specific mines/partnerships/projects 11

V. Potential enhancement of IUCN mission or programme 11
VI. Methodology 11

VII. Risk Analysis Matrix for Six Senses 13

I. Company Information

A. Company analysis

Six Senses is a resort and spa management and development company established in 1995, which manages resorts under the brand names Soneva, Six Senses Hideaway, Six Senses Latitudes, Six Senses Private Residences and Evason; plus Six Senses Spas and Six Senses Destination Spas. The company also offers consultancy, development and project management services for properties operating under a Six Senses brand.

As noted in the company’s Profile1, Six`Senses is ideally involved from the inception of the project, guiding its development and ensuring consistent delivery of the Six Senses brand. The company works with the owner, designers and other consultants to develop and concept design; determine operational requirements and layout, landscaping, fittings, etc. Six Senses can also review IT, safety, plumbing and other systems, as well as help to source equipment and consumables. It can help with recruitment, develop marketing plans, promotional materials, contracts and concessions, as well as monitor construction and fitting out of the property. Pre-opening technical services are charged at a flat monthly fee. Six Senses can then provide full management services for the property, including accounting, administration, day-to-day operation, insurance, marketing, etc. These services are charged as a percentage of revenue.
The mission of the company is “To create innovative and enriching experiences in a sustainable environment”. It strives to deliver attractive financial returns plus superior resort and spa products.
Six Senses is based in Bangkok, Thailand, and has properties in seven countries: Maldives, Thailand, Vietnam, Oman, Fiji, Jordan, and Spain. According to a 2008 company presentation, it has 20 resorts and 30 spas in operation or under development worldwide, welcoming around 400,000 guests each year2. The company reportedly generates about $100 million in annual resort and spa revenues. According to hospitality industry analysts (HVS International and Jones Lang Lasalle), the company is valued at approximately $160 million3. Six Senses has 4,800 employees.

Culture and values

The Six Senses company profile4 available on the website, notes that the company’s core purpose is: “To create innovative and enriching experiences in a sustainable environment”.

It also details the Six Senses “management style”, with a focus on:

  • Conceptual Skills. We place great importance on highly creative concept development that is sensitive to a specific location and incorporates local cultural and design elements. We avoid standard, off-the-shelf designs. We do not imitate what others have done. We are continuously redefining our hospitality and leisure concepts to stay at the forefront of new market trends. In this way, we are able to create the most appropriate product for each of our projects. This is then implemented by closely working with the general manager of each property in adapting our policies and systems according to the local environment.

  • People. We recognize that our hosts form a key ingredient to our ongoing success. We therefore place a great deal of emphasis on and commit resources to choosing the right people. Once on board, ideas such as employee development and training, employee recognition, cross training and rotation, performance-related pay, empowerment and quality-circles, play a large part in the way we run our teams. In addition to this, we instill strong financial discipline among all of our teams to reinforce their sense of responsibility and loyalty. We are proud that our staff turnover rates are among the lowest in the resort hotel sector worldwide.
  • Dynamism. As a young and dynamic company, we avoid the cumbersome and bureaucratic structure often associated with big corporations. Instead, for instance, we prefer to source talented and experienced property general managers who are entrepreneurial and who bring initiative to their resort operation. In order for this to work, we allow our general managers significant freedom and autonomy whilst still monitoring each operation and giving clear guidelines on financial targets, operating philosophy, and Best Practices, as well as essential controls and systems. Within this framework, our general managers take full responsibility for their resort.

  • The Experience. We recognize that the hospitality industry is becoming more and more competitive, and we also recognize that we have to keep differentiating ourselves. Six Senses, with its various brands, works on the understanding that guests are looking for an experience and not just a typical product. We aim to create an overall experience that can be absorbed by all the human senses and with each concept, we aim to instill consistency and harmony between what is seen, touched, heard, smelled and experienced.”

B. Competitor analysis

A 2006 assessment of Six Senses notes: “Compared to most other resort operators, particularly in the luxury segment, it is light years ahead of its competitors. However, in recent years with the rising interest in ecotravel, a number of new and well-financed competitors are entering the picture.”5 According to Song, a number of other major international hotel companies are also developing eco-resort options, such as Hilton and Intercontinental. Given that the company aims to provide luxury and environmentally friendly accommodation, Six Senses competes with both standard luxury resorts and eco-resorts.

Key competitors

Many nature-based tourism and boutique hotel operations are locally based so competitors differ country to country. The following table lists several key international competitors, particularly those operating in Asia:



Main product(s)

Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts

Global: Thailand, Indonesia, USA, Middle East

Luxury resorts, spas and golf courses

Orient-Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises

Asia: Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Burma, Indonesia

Boutique hotels, resorts and cruises/train journeys in SE Asia

Aman Resorts

Global: Asia, Caribbean, USA, France, North Africa

Luxury, boutique resorts and villas

Four Seasons

Global: 83 hotels in 35 countries, 40 more under development

Luxury resorts and hotels

Note: there are likely to be other competitors not included here

II. CSR Information

A. General

The company has a Social and Environment Sustainability Policy and Programme6, developed in line with Six Senses core purpose: “To create innovative and enriching experiences in a sustainable environment”. The company considers "innovative and sustainable environment" to be among the key words of its Sustainability Policy and to serve as a platform for its social and environmental work.

According to information on the website, the Six Senses Social and Environment Sustainability Policy commits the company to sustainable development, with environmental responsibility as a core value, “fundamental to our business”. 

“Through this commitment our mission is to reduce the impact of our businesses, on the environment at both development stage and operational stage.” 

Some principles of the company’s approach to sustainability:

  • Knowledge and Innovation: Supporting the development of new knowledge and innovation addressing the root causes of global challenges.

  • Supporting People and Institutions: Six Senses invests in improving the capacity of people, organizations and institutions to focus on problems and generate long lasting and meaningful results.

  • Community Engagement: Six Senses engages and helps the community to improve their living conditions that meet the Millennium Development Goals requirements as a part of sustainable development.

  • Partnerships: Six Senses collaborates with the public sector, non-profit sector, private sector, civil society and the philanthropic community in ways that can further leverage our philanthropic investments alone.

The Six Senses Sustainability Policy notes that the company is “committed to sustainable development; specifically protection and regeneration of both the environment and communities in which we operate”. This commitment is carried out through the development, and implementation of its Social and Environment Conscience Programme. Six Senses has identified a team of key individuals to drive such programme and has established the following objectives to be met during both development and operation:

  • Set up group wide standards, wherever possible meet the local legislative environmental requirement as well as complying international agreements;

  • Reduce resources consumption and waste generation through responsible waste reducing policies, reusing, recycling and composting programmes;
  • Systematic management of energy use and consumption and to apply, where possible, renewable energy uses;

  • Effective management of water resources and waste water;

  • Promote awareness of sustainability amongst hosts, guests, local communities, as well as suppliers/business partners through environmental awareness and capacity development efforts and events;

  • Contribute a significant part of revenue to establish a Social and Environmental Responsibility Fund benefit to the local, national and global community;

  • Address the issue of climate change through both energy management, as part of resource management policies, and avoidance of fugitive emission of CFCs;

  • Develop action plans as well as regularly monitor social and environmental impacts through regular environmental meetings, monitoring and updating of Key Sustainability Indicators (KSIs) database;

  • Prevent any escape of hazardous substances into the environment and to phase out environmentally damaging products as benign alternatives as practicable;

  • Purchase local, environmentally friendly, socially responsible products, especially organic and fair trade products;

  • Strictly avoid the use of animal products derived using unnecessarily cruel or environmentally destructive production methods or those derived from any endangered species;

  • Engage local communities and actively employ local staff and service providers wherever practicable;

  • Integrate social and environmental concerns into planning and decision making processes.

Six Senses has established a Social and Environment Conscience Department to manage these issues at the operational stage, and maintains Social & Environmental Liaison staff at the following resorts:

  • Soneva Fushi by Six Senses Spa

  • Soneva Gili by Six Senses Spa

  • Six Senses Hideaway Samui

  • Six Senses Hideaway Hua Hin
  • Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay

  • Evason Phuket & Six Senses Spa

  • Evason Hua Hin & Six Senses Spa

  • Evason Ana Mandara & Six Senses Spa at Nha Trang

  • Evason Ana Mandara Villas & Six Senses Spa at Dalat

B. Local communities

According to information on the company website, Six Senses believes that local communities play a key role in the achievement of sustainable development. The company tries to support the local community through its local employment policy and through a variety of development activities that attempt to protect local environment as well as local social and cultural practices.

The objectives listed above include a number directed at ensuring that a portion of the benefits from Six Senses resorts and spas flow to the local community and that the company reduces negative impacts, social and environmental on the local community. Although the company also aims to meet relevant regulatory requirements and to “integrate social and environmental concerns into planning and decision making processes”, there is little reference to consultation with local communities before and after a Six Senses operation begins.

Six Senses has established a "Social & Environmental Responsibility Fund" (SERF) in which all resorts contribute approximately 0.5 % of total revenues to social and environmental efforts in varying levels. The contribution is principally used for social and environmental activities as well as initiatives to promote sustainable development. SERF funds are utilised at three levels: local, national and global. Around 60% of the funds are spent at the local level. In addition to a local employment policy, SERF activities aim to support initiatives that encourage local cultural and social preservation. About 25% is directed to national level support for institutions, NGOs and other civil society groups to promote the demonstration of best practice learnt from local activities. The remaining 15% of SERF funds goes toward a number of international level issues that the company considers relevant to its responsibilities, such as climate change, protected areas, conservation and environmental education.

SERF is a grant giving mechanism currently operating in Thailand, Vietnam and the Maldives, which provides support to organizations that have an innovative and creative approach to environmental improvement. At the national level, this includes initiatives in the environmental field, with the purpose of promoting awareness, as well as capacity development, such as environmental education, natural resource management, coastal management, wildlife conservation, energy conservation, waste management and so on. SERF grants are up to USD 20,000 per year and can be applied for three-year periods at the longest. National and international NGOs, non-profit organizations, international organizations, community organizations and associations, universities and other academic institutions, charities and other civil society groups are all eligible for SERF grants.

The SERF Global Initiative supports activities offering the potential to leverage broader national or global impacts. Priority is given to initiatives that help to address social, economic and environmental issues at the global level and for activities that are relevant to most developing countries, address impediments to attaining growth with equity and sustainable development, and contributing to poverty eradication and equity.

C. Environmental performance

Six Senses CSR policies and activities emphasise environmental aspects. The sustainability section of the website lists environmental concerns that the company aims to address, both at the design and construction stages.
The company states that all elements of the design are reviewed with consideration for the impact on the environment both locally and globally. Concerns listed by the company include:

  • Local, national and international legal requirements, including the implications of relevant international conventions and agreement such as CITES, the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols, and Ramsar Convention.

  • The local environment is viewed as a key point, as it is easy to draw links between local environmental degradation caused and adjacent resorts, which would be disastrous in terms of publicity and the local environmental affects. Prospective sites are carefully investigated; designs and construction techniques are developed to minimize the impact of the resort on the local ecosystem. Any EIA requirements will also be incorporated into the design stage.
  • Before embarking on any new project, review the environmental risks associated with the project, including issues such as flash floods, fire risk, avalanches, landslides, tropical storms, droughts, slope stability, coastal erosion and the presence of vulnerable/protected ecosystems, and if necessary designs and construction will be modified.

  • The Six Senses development policy pays attention to the buildings that are designed with great care to minimize its energy requirements, and to reflect as far as possible local architecture and culture. All wood used in construction comes from a sustainable renewable source; on recent projects Six Senses has worked closely with governments and the FSC.

  • Six Senses is committed to reducing global warming caused by greenhouse emissions resulting from its operations. For any new site, the energy supply will be reviewed and use of renewable and innovative energy saving devices will be incorporated. Where possible, other alternative options are evaluated, such as solar thermal hot water, wind power, combined heat and power systems, alternative fuels such as biodiesel, hydro electric power, heat pumps, etc.

  • Water usage, supply, storage and disposal all need to be integrated and optimized for each site. Typically, the company would try to identify a sustainable clean water source. Groundwater, rainwater collection and natural streams will be considered if a mains water supply is not available or cost effective. As a last resort, desalination may be considered. Efforts are made to avoid any environmental concerns such as saline intrusions caused by over pumping groundwater.

  • Waste water systems will be designed to treat water to a very high level so that it can be used for irrigation, and ideally a traditional primary & secondary treatment system enhanced by a “constructed” wetland will be used. Water reuse will be optimized at the design stage to meet the on-site requirements. In cases where water supply is restricted, recycled shower water may be used for flushing water.

The role of Six Senses in choosing a site and overseeing construction is not always clear, but the company claims that site location, investigation and control are included in its Carbon Absorbent Standard, for example7. In its sustainability policy, the company’s environmental concerns at the construction stage are listed as follows:

  • For each project, an environmental management plan will be drawn up for both construction and operations. During construction phase, this will cover waste management and use of materials, water management, environmental protection, mitigation measures, environmental monitoring and environmental legal requirements.

  • Timber and materials are to be sourced sustainably and responsibly. The company seeks wood from a renewable, and where practical, certified forest, and all other materials and labour are, wherever possible, sourced locally from environmentally responsible suppliers/sources.

  • Waste management during construction is key to protecting the site from construction workers and saving valuable resources. The Six Senses policy highlights proper waste management. Typically much of the waste from construction is valuable and can be recycled for furniture and building repair, etc.

  • Water management is another priority area, and the company aims to secure and protect from contamination early on, especially in environments where the water supply is vulnerable. This groundwater protection will form a key part of environmental management during construction.

  • It is vital that waste water is properly disposed of, and construction of waste water handling and treatment facilities should always be considered a priority and is among the first items on the construction programme.

  • Environmental protection during construction is also critical. Great care will be taken to avoid damaging native vegetation and sensitive habitats during construction.

  • Where necessary, mitigation measures will be carried out to offset any negative impacts of the development.
  • Where projects are environmentally sensitive, an environmental monitoring programme will be drawn up before construction begins. Typically this will reflect local legal requirements, the need for groundwater and habitat protection and recommendations of any EIA where applicable.

To manage social and environmental issues in the operational phase, Six Senses has established a Social and Environment Conscience Department and runs a number of programmes. These are:

  • The Holistic Environmental Management Programme (HEMP) is a programme focusing on the improvement of environmental management at the property level. HEMP aims to ensure that operations are environmentally friendly and that negative impacts to the environment are reduced. HEMP focuses its practices on achieving the environmental standard awarded by the GREEN GLOBE 21. In this regard, key sustainability indicators have been developed to measure and ensure environmental performance at each property.

  • An Environmental Benchmark System has been developed, in which environmental performance can be measured or judged through key performance indicators. It is a quantitative process that can help to compare current performance against both industry and competitor standards, and to determine what needs to be improved. The Environmental Benchmark System is developed in accordance with the criteria set up by GREEN GLOBE 21, including:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions

  • Energy efficiency, conservation and management

  • Management of freshwater resources

  • Ecosystem conservation and management

  • Management of social and cultural issues

  • Land use planning and management

  • Air quality protection and noise control

  • Waste water management

  • Waste minimization, reuse and recycling

Benchmarking assessments for Six Senses properties are available on the company website.

  • Eco Best Practices is based on the Rainforest Alliance Guide for Sustainable Tourism, as a guide in managing all resources in a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs may be met, while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems.

  • Six Senses has also developed Key Sustainability Indicators (KSIs) as a part of an integrated Hit Parade database, in order to measure social and environmental performance of the resort operations. The KSI’s are in line with the framework provided by GREEN GLOBE 21 Company Standard for Travel and Tourism. There are six categories of environmental used in the KSIs:

  • KSI 1: Green House Gas Emissions and Energy Efficiency, Conservation and Management

  • KSI 2: Waste Management

  • KSI 3: Water Management

  • KSI 4: Cleaning Chemicals

  • KSI 5: Land Use Planning

  • KSI 6: Resource Conservation

  • The Eco Pilot Initiatives project is a self-initiated project with the objective to improve the environment at the resort level. There are currently a number of efforts at different properties to test eco-initiatives. Once the project is accomplished, it is expected that the result and lessons can be replicated to other properties as a part of Best Practices. Existing Eco Pilot Projects include: Wetland and Botanical Waste Water Treatment System; Dragonfly Habitat Ecosystem; Eco Suite Project; and the Six Senses Earth Spa Project.
  • 20/20 Vision outlines Six Senses goal to become carbon-free by 2020 through zero emissions on Six Senses properties, renewable energy for local communities and tree-planting8.

  • The Six Senses Carbon Offset Programme: with the assistance of Converging World, this programme is designed to offset all guest flight carbon emissions in addition to all carbon emissions arising from Six Senses resort operations and host travel. The non-profit programme offsets carbon emissions by replacing coal fired power plants with wind turbines in south India. During its 20-year lifespan, one Six Senses wind turbine generates approximately 80,000 Megawatt hours of clean, renewable electricity, averting the production of 70,000 tons of CO2. The Six Senses wind turbine is expected to generate US$ 2,127,000 worth of carbon credits over a 20-year period. Each year, the generated cash flow surplus arising from the Six Senses wind turbine’s electricity income will be invested in social and environmental work.

  • An Environmental Awareness and Capacity Development Programme encourages Six Senses resort hosts to improve their ability in dealing with the environment through training, capacity building and awareness raising. Six Senses also focuses on environmental awareness support from others, including guests and the community, with various events such as World Environment Day.

  • A Corporate Partnership Programme was developed for the purpose of extending work with like-minded organizations including government, university, not-for-profit organizations, NGOs and the private sector. Previous/existing partners include: Future Forests; Care of Children; and GTZ9.

The Six Senses website also includes a section on marine life protection, noting several projects at participating resorts, including the Shark Conservation-Baa Atoll Project. Sharks, being an important creature in the balance of the marine food chain, are also a vital attraction for the Maldives in both tourism and fisheries sectors. August 2007, Soneva Fushi along with other resorts in Baa Atoll region initiated a conservation effort called the Baa Atoll Project. They aim to propose a nationwide ban on shark fishing in Maldives. Over the last few months the team has developed a number of awareness materials, have initiated a series of high-level talks with government authorities and put together a petition against shark fishing. As a result, the government has also now initiated a poster campaign targeted at local fisherman to discourage shark fishing in the Maldives. Soneva Fushi also funded a TV campaign to educate fishermen about the effects of shark fishing in the Maldives10

D. Communication on CSR policy and achievements

  • Website; includes basic CSR information, as well as sections on social and environmental sustainability, benchmarking assessments of particular properties and web stories about projects/activities and awards.

  • Little Green Books: also available on the website, these are resort-specific booklets for guests that set out the company’s sustainability polices; provide tips on behaving in a sustainable manner, list eco-tourism activities, etc.

  • Sustainability report: Six Senses does not appear to have a sustainability report; no annual report on website either.

  • Events/activities: projects are promoted on the website. Six Senses also hosted the June 2008 Inaugural Eco Symposium at Soneva Fushi: This Symposium was attended by business leaders from the travel and tourism industry and by international experts in sustainable development.

  • Advertising: Six Senses properties are advertised as eco-tourism destinations, emphasising sustainability as well as luxury or comfort.

IV. Assessment of commitment to CSR and engagement with IUCN

Six Senses appears to be strongly committed to CSR and has initiated numerous innovative programmes and projects to improve the environmental and social impact of its operations. The company has also shown its willingness to work with partners, including other companies, local communities and NGOs.

The 2006 investment assessment notes that there are some areas where the company can enhance its efforts: “While the company has made substantial progress in integrating its mission of sustainability with its business, there are a number of ways for Six Senses to remain at the forefront of this field that is increasingly gaining attention while optimizing its real impact on the environment and communities. In particular, improvements related to the following would best serve the company as well as its causes:

- Interactions with the local community,

- Recruitment and staffing,

- Customer interface, and

- Measurability and transparency”.11

Other areas where performance is unclear and/or may be improved include: measures that reduce environmental and social impacts during the early stages of project development, eg siting; measures that specifically address biodiversity conservation; and data collection on reporting on sustainability outcomes.
Thus initiatives to augment the company’s CSR performance may include:

  • Sustainability reporting, including monitoring and evaluation;

  • Ensuring that local communities receive a share of tourism benefits and can access additional income-generating opportunities related to eco-tourism;

  • Biodiversity assessments/action plans for specific sites.

  • Continued advocacy for sustainable practices with other companies, governments and communities.

V. Media and Stakeholder Analysis

A. General Internet Queries

General internet searches show largely positive press about Six Senses, including news stories about the company’s sustainability practices, travel reviews, notices of awards, etc. The only negative reports found were several poor traveller reviews for certain resorts. Please see below for a list of reports.

Positive (or neutral) press:
“Six Senses Introduces an Innovative Alternative to Employee Cutbacks and Layoffs”. 5 Feb. 2009. (http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/154000320/4039778.search?query=six+senses+resorts+and+spas)
“Green Stories: Evason Hua Hin & Six Senses Spa, Thailand”. Feb. 2009. (http://www.go-green.ae/greenstory_view.php?storyid=66)

“New Report: Green Hotels "Gaining Momentum". 9 Jan. 2009. (http://blogs.nationalgeographic.com/blogs/intelligenttravel/2009/01/new-report-green-hotels-gainin.html)

“Best Practices in Travel Philanthropy Manual: Accommodations Sector.” Sustainable Travel International, Dec. 2008. (http://www.sustainabletravelinternational.org/documents/bptp_accommodations.pdf)

No More Trendy Water at Six Senses Resorts & Spas; Group Replaces Drinking Water Menus”. 16 Sept. 2008. (http://www.asiatraveltips.com/news08/169-SixSenses.shtml)

Lessons Learned and Good Practices on Working with the Private Sector to Combat Child Sex Tourism and Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation”. ECPAT, Sept. 2008. (http://www.ecpat.net/worldcongressIII/PDF/Journals/Lesson_Learn.pdf)

“Six Senses Resorts & Spas of Thailand won a Global Tourism Business Award”. 7 May 2008. (http://nntworld.prd.go.th/previewnews2.php?news_id=45&news_headline=Six%20Senses%20Resorts%20&%20Spas%20of%20Thailand%20won%20a%20Global%20Tourism%20Business%20Award)

“Six Senses takes action and gives the Earth Day facts”. 22 Apr. 2008. (http://www.ameinfo.com/154158.html)
“From Mean to Green”. 6 Apr. 2008. (http://rupaksharma.wordpress.com/2008/04/06/from-mean-to-green/)
Evason Phuket Eco Trail”. Changemakers entry, February 2008. (http://www.changemakers.net/node/6032)

“Resort Chain Six Senses Plans India Entry”. 2 Nov. 2007. (http://www.business-standard.com/india/storypage.php?autono=304295)

“Sila Evason Achieves Green Globe Benchmark Status.” 2 Feb. 2007. (http://www.pata.org/patasite/index.php?id=1727)
“Six Senses Resorts & Spas, Thailand and Global: Winner Global Tourism Business Award 2008 and Finalist Global Tourism Business Award 2007”


Six Senses Resorts and Spas”. Link to Bangkok Post article, 9 July 2007. (http://www.carbonneutraltourism.co.uk/2007/07/09/six-senses-resorts-and-spas/)

Towards a Sustainable Future”. 25 Nov. 2006. (http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2006/11/25/lifetravel/15961385&sec=lifetravel)

“Six Senses Resorts & Spas”. Good Tourism Wiki (http://www.good-tourism.com/page/Six+Senses+Resorts++&+Spas)

“Sun, Surf and Sustainability”. Lifestyle and Travel magazine. (http://www.lifestyleandtravel.com/pdf/issues/41/458790101_128-132%20Hotel%20Intiatives.pdf)
Travel company recommendations, eg: http://www.thetravelcompany.com.au/leisureTravelSixSenses.htm


Negative press
Some negative traveller reviews, eg: http://travel.yahoo.com/p-reviews-494482-prod-hotel-action-read-ratings_and_reviews-i

Potential sources of future negative press
It is difficult to identify any future sources of negative press, although possibilities include:

    • more general criticism of luxuy travel and/or resorts using land in developing countries

    • potentail downsizing/retrenchements due to the financial crisis

Change in press coverage over time
Little change in coverage over time is evident, apart from a growing number of reports on sustainable tourism that use Six Senses as a case study and further stroires about awards received by the company.

Queries to watchdog, sustainable development, and NGO websites
Several company listings and an awards story were found. The sites visited are listed below:

  • Business and Human Rights Resource Center (www.business-humanrights.org): no reports

  • Business Monitor International/Risk Watchdog (www.riskwatchdog.com):

  • CSR Asia (www.csr-asia.com): no reports

  • Green Travel.com (http://beta.green.travel/search?search%5Bq%5D=six+senses): company listing

  • New Mandala (http://rspas.anu.edu.au/rmap/newmandala/): no reports

  • Responsible Travel (http://www.responsibletravel.com/trip/Trip900434.htm): featured as a repsonsible tour provider

  • Sustianble Tourism Gateway (http://www.gdrc.org/uem/eco-tour/eco-tour.html): no reports

  • Tourism Concern (http://www.tourismconcern.org.uk): no reports

  • Wild Asia (www.wildasia.net): winner in 2008 Responsible Tourism Awards

  • World Travel & Tourism Council (www.wttc.org): no reports
  • WWF (http://www.panda.org/): no reports

C. Negative information on specific mines/partnerships/projects

None found at this stage.

VI. Potential enhancement of IUCN mission or programme

The IUCN Mission is: to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

The BBP in Asia aims: to mobilise the private sector and the conservation community in the Asia Region to engage with one and other to cultivate long-term partnerships that will deliver conservation results across the region and, at the same time enhance sustainable development.

Collaboration with Six Senses can potentially enhance the IUCN mission and programme in a number of ways:

  • The company is a “green” enterprise, ie a business “whose activities lead to conservation benefits (Operational Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement, IUCN, 2007). Green enterprises are a priority sector for engagement in IUCN’s private sector engagement.

  • The company appears strongly committed to environmental protection and community development. As a successful company in the region and beyond, Six Senses offers another channel and voice for conveying messages about the benefits of sustainable tourism to other companies and governments. Collaboration may also provide opportunities to promote the wider uptake of IUCN’s previous work/guidelines relevant to sustainable tourism.

  • There may also be an opportunity to show that luxury eco-tourism benefits, often the preserve of elites, can flow to local communities and environments, ie to increase the equitability of luxury tourism operations.
  • Collaboration may offer potential site-specific benefits for biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods in some key areas of the region.

VII. Methodology

This preliminary due diligence report was compiled using publicly available information and documents over the period November 2008 – February 2009. Information was sourced from:

  • Company website and related documents, such as Company Profile, Environmental Policy, and so on.

  • Other relevant websites, such as eco-tourism associations and websites

  • Internet searches12

  • Documents, such as the 2006 investment assessment: Responsible Luxury: Six Senses Resorts and Spas.



Areas of operations

Potential Issues

Degree of Potential Impact

Mitigation Measures


Six Senses Resorts and Spas

Luxury resorts, hotels and spas

The company already has strong environmental and social responsibility practices.

May result in criticism of how IUCN directs its resources.

Ensure any collaboration results in real benefits for environment and communities in Six Senses properties and/or that activities explicitly utilise the work and examples already set by the company.

Biodiversity specific aspects of siting, design, construction and operation may be an interesting area to explore.

Luxury travel is already associated with excess and unsustainable practices, and is generally not community based and operated.

May detract from positive results of collaboration/CSR initiatives or draw criticism for promoting elite/luxury tourism.

Emphasise the positive impacts of luxury tourism (such as inflow of revenue, money to finance best practices) and ensure real benefit-sharing occurs. Also offers opportunity to emphasise that the message of “responsible tourism” and “treading lightly” applies to all.

Company is already taking steps in this regard, eg guest carbon offset programme, community development projects.

Lack of, or lack of access to, sustainability reporting.

May lad to criticism of a lack of transparency, poor monitoring and evaluation, etc.

Comprehensive monitoring, evaluation and reporting should be included for any activities, and the company should be encouraged to begin sustainability reporting.

Company may already have begun this practice; need to confirm.

1 Company Profile. http://www.sixsenses.com/corporate/document/company_profile.pdf (accessed 5 November 2008).

2 Six Senses Resorts and Spas. Presentation for Hospitality Awards 2008. http://www.mkg-worldwide.com/site_web/htr/doss/5-six-senses.pdf (accessed 16 February 2009).

3 Song Wong. 2006. Responsible Luxury: Six Senses Resorts and Spas. Company revenue may have increased since the publishing date of this report.

4 Company Profile.

5 Song Wong. 2006. Responsible Luxury: Six Senses Resorts and Spas.

6 Available on the company website: http://www.sixsenses.com/Environment/ (accessed 5 November 2008).

7 Company Profile.

8 Six Senses Resorts and Spas. 2009. “20/20 Vision: Six Senses Vision for 2020”. http://www.sixsenses.com/Six-Senses-vision-for-2020.php (accessed 12 February 2009).

9 Song Wong. 2006. Responsible Luxury: Six Senses Resorts and Spas.

10 Six Senses Resorts and Spas. 2008. “Marine Life Protection”. http://www.sixsenses.com/Environment/Marine-Life-Protection.php (accessed 5 November 2008).

11 Song Wong. 2006. Responsible Luxury: Six Senses Resorts and Spas.

12 Internet searches were conducted in February 2009 and involved reviewing 10 pages of Google searches for the terms: “six senses resorts and spas”; “six senses problems”; and “six senses negative impacts”.


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