By Dian Hasan | July 12, 2010
In the era where the entire world seems to have been swept by a “Green Fever”, where “eco-consciousness”, “sustainability”, and “giving back” are increasingly entering our daily vocabulary, I thought it’d be interesting to zoom in on the street-level to see first-hand a very special group of people who are “living a green life” across the world.
Now that’s a pretty wide net to cast! So rather than being stuck in a myriad of terminology and areas, arguing about what sustainable, green or eco-oriented means, I’ve chosen to narrow it down to the business world.
One approach that is gaining popularity is the “3Ps” of 1. Profit, 2. People, and 3. Planet, a business model that focuses on doing well (read: be profitable first), and positively impacting the immediate community and environment (read: empower and engage internal customers/staff, all stakeholders and the community, while maintaining low carbon footprint on the environment). This special group of entrepreneurs are now often referred to as Social-Entrepreneurs.
Social entrepreneurship is the work of a social entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change (a social venture). Whereas a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital. ~ Wikipedia
And I choose to focus on tourism, specifically on the hospitality and travel industry, to see not only how green efforts are put into practice, but more importantly to meet the special group of people who are making a difference. A small but growing community of men and women from all walks of life and backgrounds, for whom the call to take on a responsible cause is pursued with nothing short of a passion and fervor!
Andrew Miners (UK) and Marit Miners (Sweden), husband and wife team, founders of Misool Eco Resort. Andrew, avid diver, adventure traveler, and old Asia hand, has been involved in diving operations in the region for over 20 years. Marit, Columbia University anthropologist, diver, and yoga practicioner, met Andrew while vacationing in Thailand in 2000.
Misool Eco Resort, Batbitim Island, in Raja Ampat. Built at the epicenter of Raja Ampat, a remote area previously only accessible through boat-based “Liveaboard” diving expeditions. Misool is one of the few resorts in Raja Ampat area, and considered the chicest with the clearest Responsible Tourism mission.
Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. An area that forms part of The Coral Triangle, home to the world’s richest marine biodiversity. Raja Ampat is widely regarded as the crown jewel of The Coral Triangle, and ranks as among the world’s best diving areas, boasting the greatest concentration of coral and fish species on earth.
- The resort established “Misool Conservation Centre” organization that manages all the Responsible Tourism efforts.
- Community-run, empowering local community.
- Sustainable building materials (recycled drift wood from fallen trees from Yessa Island and surrounding areas.
- Solar Power, Wind Turbine.
- Reef protection/conservation efforts via Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, WWF (World Wildlife Fund), and other international eco-oriented organizations. Misool Eco Resort created its own Marine Conservation Area surrounding the resort island in 2005. The entire 174 sqm (425 sq km) is a No-Take Zone and a shark sanctuary, regularly patrolled by our Rangers with the help of grants from WildAid and the Coral Reef Alliance. Within just two years of establishing this area, shark numbers have increased dramatically and sharks are already returning to, growing, and mating in this shark sanctuary!
The arduous construction process, lead by Misool’s own Thorbin Nieman [top left], German-born master carpenter and dive master. The hoisting of wooden beams in place had to take advantage of high tides. Dive Center, under construction [bottom picture].