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World Responsible Tourism Awards – Winners Interview Series

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Marit Miners, Misool Eco Resort

Exclusive Interview: Marit Miners, Misool Eco Resort.

Founded in 2004, the World Responsible Tourism Awards allow people the chance to celebrate the heroes and share the stories of the most exciting and enduring responsible tourism experiences in the world.

Misool Eco Resort just won the Silver Award for Best Contribution to Wildlife Conservation.

The best contribution to wildlife conservation category is awarded to a tourism business or initiative that has had measurable success in preserving and managing habitat and wildlife species. The focus of best contribution to wildlife conservation is on holiday providers, whether tour operators, accommodations or conservation organisations, which have, through tourism, achieved measurable wildlife and/or habitat conservation objectives. Initiatives might include wildlife watching experiences, nature trails, places to stay or other holidays which otherwise benefit wildlife and habitats. The judges wanted integration of great holiday experiences with progressive and sustainable programmes in wildlife and habitat conservation, measures of success and ideas which could be adapted and developed by tourism providers around the world.

Misool is a world-class Resort and Conservation Centre located in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, in the heart of marine biodiverisity. The work of Misool and its non-profit, sister organization, Misool Baseftin, is synonymous with marine conservation and sustainable tourism. Built on the site of a former shark-finning camp, the resort creates transformative experiences in pristine nature.

Misool was founded on the clear understanding that the business’s primary asset would be the health and vitality of the marine ecosystem. With a group of committed individuals and maverick conservationists, the aim was to ensure the protection and growth of the region’s reef. Misool Baseftin, which was established in 2010, receives funding from some of the largest international foundations. The name Misool Baseftin means ‘Misool: we own it together’ in the local tribal language. The foundation maintains a broad approach to conservation, combining environmental, social, and educational elements. Misool is frequently cited as a paradigm within the industry and counts some of the leading voices in marine conservation as its advocates.

Misool’s mission is to safeguard the future of the most biodiverse reefs on Earth through the empowerment of local communities, providing a structure by which they are able to reclaim their traditional tenureship of reefs. Central to their mission the belief that sustainable tourism and community-based conservation are mutually beneficial. Their business, their foundation, and their community all share one common asset: a healthy, flourishing reef system.

We interviewed Marit Miners, Director of Sales and Marketing and Co-Founder of Misool Eco Resort to find out more.

Misool Eco Resort recently won a World Responsible Tourism Award. In 140 characters (a tweet) or less – why do you think you won such an important award?

Marine conservation is our business – our tourism operation is the vehicle that allows us to do the work we’re passionate about. We’re proud to be recognized for this.

What was the driver for creating Misool Eco Resort specifically – what gap does it fill?

Misool began as a conservation initiative to protect the world’s richest reefs. Rampant shark finning and destructive fishing were decimating the most biodiverse reefs on the planet, and we refused to stand by and watch it happen. We created a model in which the health of the reefs is the primary asset of our business, ensuring a long term and sustainable funding model.

Who is Misool Eco Resort primarily for?

Misool is for our guests, our community, our children, and your children. In a world full of rapidly degrading reefs, we hope that Misool will be an inspiring example of a flourishing marine ecosystem.

What difference does Misool Eco Resort want to make?

Misool’s mission is to safeguard the future of the most biodiverse reefs on Earth through the empowerment of local communities, providing a structure by which they are able to reclaim their traditional tenureship of reefs. We also hope to demonstrate to our peers in the travel industry that nature is a primary asset. When we protect nature, we protect our bottom line for today and tomorrow.

What are the barriers to making that difference?

In this specific niche sector of the tourism industry, little data exists to demonstrate why consumers make choices and we are yet to put a financial value on the overall sustainable tourism market in the marine tourism sector. This makes it easy for many operators to make excuses for cutting corners, focusing on a quick ROI rather than the long horizon.

Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

We’re working with educators, researchers, industry leaders and core media to ensure that this data is developed and that it becomes a guide for the industry’s future.

Is the tourism sector doing enough to deliver a sustainable travel and tourism?

No. It’s surprising that responsible tourism is relegated to specialist slots at large industry events. Green destinations should be lauded as the gold standard, rather than mentioned as an exceptional case in a niche market.

This was an issue that was discussed at the recent WTM London event among others – how do we reach new audiences, integrate responsible tourism practice and ensure we are not just having conversations amongst ourselves?

How can people find out more about Misool Eco Resort?

We’d love people to support both Misool Eco Resort and our conservation foundation, Misool Baseftin, on social media. Links below.

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/misool.eco.resort
https://www.facebook.com/misool.baseftin

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/misoolecoresort/
https://www.instagram.com/misool.baseftin/

We also send out quarterly newsletters too and anyone who would like to sign up for those should drop us a message via our social media accounts.

Check out our website for images, videos and info about how to visit us in Indonesia.
www.misoolecoresort.com

Who are your conservation heroes?

Who are our conservation heroes, you say? Well, aside from Misool’s incredible team of Rangers and field staff, we would like to put a huge shout out to Sylvia Earle and Jane Goodall, both of whom have inspired many of the Misool team and give us daily hope that we can protect nature for the enjoyment of future generations.

Awards

Ocean Awards 2017 Winners Announced

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ocean by victor via flickr

The winners of the second annual Ocean Awards, hosted by Boat International Media, the international authority on super-yachting, in partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation, have been revealed.

From the development of whale drones and virtual chase boats to the banning of shark fishing and absolving the Seychelles’ debt crisis, each finalist was celebrated for their outstanding contribution to the health of the oceans from every corner of the world.

Land Rover BAR, the yacht racing team founded by four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie, leads the list of winners honoured for their passion for improving the oceans, along with Palau’s former UN Ambassador for the Oceans and Seas, the late Stuart Beck. Professor Daniel Pauly and Dr Dirk Zeller – whose monumental study of the world’s fish catches for the Sea Around Us project took the media by storm – are also among those recognised for their efforts in advancing marine conservation through policy initiatives, new innovation and campaigning.

The awards, which are in association with Y.CO, were judged by an esteemed panel chaired by Charles Clover, executive director of Blue Marine Foundation. Also judging the awards were: Sir Charles Dunstone, co-founder and former chairman of Carphone Warehouse and chairman of the TalkTalk Group; Ben Goldsmith, CEO of Menhaden Capital, a new green-focused investment trust; and Charlie Birkett, co-founder and CEO of Y.CO, the challenger brand of the global superyacht industry.

Sacha Bonsor, editor in chief, Boat International Media, said: “Boat International Media is committed to fixing one of the world’s largest solvable problems – the crisis in our oceans. We are delighted to have built a platform of recognition for the outstanding organisations and individuals working towards improving the health of the oceans. Our inspirational nominees and winners are driving awareness and implementing the change that can save our oceans, and they should all be immensely proud.”

Charles Clover, executive director, Blue Marine Foundation, said: “Studies show that although the oceans are now under serious threat, with decisive action their resilience and carbon absorption can be improved and overfishing reversed within 20 years. There are still huge challenges ahead but the work of our winners is promising, motivating and worthy of celebration. This is one area of conservation where we are winning.”

Adrian Grenier, actor and founder of the Lonely Whale Foundation, who was also shortlisted for an Ocean award, said: “The biggest threat to our oceans right now is non-action. Our oceans are resilient but only if we take collective steps towards protecting and rebuilding them. We need to protect 30 per cent of our oceans by 2030. Today, we’ve protected just three per cent. We have a long way to go but I’m ready for the challenge and the opportunity to engage a new community of environment leaders.”

Helena Christensen, model and environmentalist, said: “I have huge respect and admiration for the sea. There is hardly anything more magical; its power is infinite and ever-changing. Ocean life depends on a thriving coral reef and we are destroying it.”

Full list of winners: Ocean Awards 2017

Seafarers’ Award: Ben Ainslie Racing, Land Rover BAR

Local Hero Award: Dennis Bryan Bait-it, Project Sharklink

Innovation Award: The Nature Conservancy

Responsible Business Award: Industry Group Agreement to Cod fishery in the northern part of North-East Atlantic

Policy Award: Claire Nouvian, Bloom

Public Education Award: Ian Urbina, The New York Times

Visionary Award: Stuart Beck, UN Ambassador for the Oceans and Seas

Science Award: Daniel Pauly and Dirk Zeller, Sea Around Us, the University of British Columbia

Additional Information

The Seafarers’ Award, which celebrates an individual or group from the seafaring community that has made the biggest difference over the past year to advance marine conservation, went to Land Rover’s Ben Ainslie Racing partnership. Known as Land Rover BAR, the movement was driven by Dr Susie Tomson and inspired the British America’s Cup sailing team’s sustainability strategy. The team is recognised for its project to bring back native oysters to southern British water and ‘say no to single use plastic’ campaigns while using technology sustainably via ‘virtual chase boat’.

The Local Hero Award was picked up by Dennis Bryan Bait-it of Philippines-based Project Sharklink. A co-founder of Project Sharklink, Bait-it has worked to enhance the benefits of diver tourism to his local community. He was also recognised for bringing together local fishermen tasked with protecting Monad Shoal, the only place in the world where it is possible to dive with thresher sharks, by patrolling waters and reporting illegal shark fishing activity.

The Nature Conservancy created a groundbreaking marine investment model when it brokered a debt swap between the government of the Seychelles and its Paris Club creditors, restructuring the Seychelles’ debt in exchange for a commitment by the 115-island archipelago to invest in marine conservation. This innovation provides a model for other small island developing states and saw the Conservancy awarded the Innovation Award.

The Industry Group Agreement to cod fishery in the northern part of Northeast Atlantic won the Award for Responsible Business. This follows the statement made by industry bodies including fishing unions, fleets, supermarkets and processors not to trawl for cod in the waters around Svalbard and up to the North Pole until evidence showed no harm would be caused. McDonald’s Corporation played a major role in convening industry stakeholders around the question of protecting vulnerable marine habits in the Arctic. Other members of the group include the Norwegian Fishing Vessel Owners Association, Tesco, Young’s Seafood Ltd and Marks & Spencer.

Claire Nouvian was awarded the Policy Award for her work with the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, leading to the EU to pass a ban on deep-sea bottom trawling in June 2016. Nouvian founded BLOOM in 2005, waging a campaign to highlight the damage caused by such practices.

Investigative journalist Ian Urbina was selected as the winner of the Public Education Award for his Outlaw Ocean Series, published in the New York Times between July 2015 and February 2016. Urbina travelled across 14 countries and five seas to bring the extent of lawlessness on the oceans into the public eye, encouraging criminal prosecutions and alerting governments to the enormity of the problem. There are now plans for a Netflix film of the series produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Following a visit to Palau to study coral reef preservation in 1976, Stuart Beck became a passionate supporter of the island nation, helping it gain independence, and later becoming its ambassador to the United Nations. Beck, who died last year, was honoured with the Visionary Award for his work in establishing Palau as one of the strongest advocates for marine protection on the world stage. Beck is succeeded in his role by his wife Tulik.

On the 19th January 2016, Nature Communications published a study by Prof. Daniel Pauly and Dr Dirk Zeller, which showed that over the past 60 years the global fish catch had been about 50 per cent greater than official estimates suggested. The study, based on 10 years of collecting data, resulted in substantial media attention and is encouraging many countries to improve their monitoring of fisheries, control and enforcement approaches. Pauly and Zeller were awarded the highly coveted Science Award.

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Awards

Switch2 Energy Awarded Trio Of International Management Standards

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heating and ventilation by Clive Darra via flickr

Switch2 Energy, district heating specialist, has received the ISO 14001:2015 environmental and OHSAS 18001: 2007 health and safety accreditations, which have been integrated with the company’s existing ISO 9001:2015 quality management system to mark a triple achievement.

The company was supported through the process by FPA Consulting, and LRQA, which recommended Switch2 for the double certification following a five-day audit process.

Kirsty Lambert, Managing Director, Switch2, said: “We have always had robust management systems and processes, but we now have a fully integrated management system that combines the world’s best environmental, health and safety and quality ISO standards.

“We have undertaken a rigorous business improvement and assurance process with professional support from FPA and LRQA and are very proud to have achieved a trio of ISO accreditations. These standards are at the heart of our strategy and operation, and are crucial in supporting the ongoing growth of our business.”

John Barke, Managing Director, FPA Consulting, said: “Congratulations to Kirsty and the team. They have worked hard to maximize the benefits that ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 can bring, in particular around customer service, satisfaction and managing business risk which is critical to their business resilience.”

Yorkshire-based Switch2 Energy has more than 35 years experience of smart metering and billing for the community energy and district heating sector. The company remotely manages and monitors its smart meters from its UK customer service centre, which offers complete billing and administration services to more than 430 heat networks and 70,000 homes.

Further information: www.switch2.co.uk

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