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Symposium

About the SLOW LIFE Symposium

The SLOW LIFE Symposium convenes business leaders, scientists, NGOs, renowned thinkers and policy makers to help accelerate progress towards environmental sustainability. Our key themes are marine conservation, energy security, low-carbon infrastructure, waste management, water conservation, sustainable tourism, sustainable finance and threatened biodiversity.

The objective of the Symposium is the creation of new cross-disciplinary networks and partnerships that transcend both physical and perceived boundaries. Participants attend with the express aim of forging partnerships that address global issues and provide practical, scalable solutions that can be applied within a local, business or political context.

The Symposium is an event of the The Soneva Foundation and is sponsored by the Soneva Group. The Foundation was established by Sonu and Eva Shivdasani with a dual purpose: to have impact beyond our own expertise and to find the best projects and partners to balance our unavoidable carbon emissions. The focus of the Foundation is on clean energy, biodiversity and social impact. Hospitality for the Symposium is donated by the Soneva Group.

Symposium 1

Thursday 17th November

Prosperity Within Planetary Boundaries

Friday 18th November
09.00-10.30:

PLANETARY BOUNDARIES: THE BASICS

Welcome by Sonu Shivdasani and Jonathon Porritt Introductions Johan Rockström: How can we all Benefit from a Planetary Boundaries Framework? Discussion
11.00-12.30

SORTING THE ECONOMY

Kate Raworth: The Doughnut Economy and the Planetary Boundaries Diana Liverman: Putting People at the heart of the Planetary Boundaries Break-out groups 1. Philanthropy 2. Business and Investment 3. Public Engagement
14.00-15.30

OUR RESPECTIVE ROLES

Role of Business and Investors Role of Philanthropy Role of UN and Government Agencies
15.45-17.15

DOUGHNUT WORKSHOP

Venue: Ice Cream Parlour Facilitated by Kate Raworth
Saturday 19th November
09.00-10.30:

GETTING BEYOND THE PLANETARY BOUNDARIES BUBBLE

Venue: Ice Cream Parlour Is there an accessible, sellable narrative for the Planetary Boundaries?
11.00-12.30

MAKING IT RELEVANT

Venue: Ice Cream Parlour Break-out groups
13.30-14.45:

‘THE POWER OF ……’

Venue: Ice Cream Parlour The Power of Collaboration The Power of Hope The Power of Film
Sunday 20th November
09.00-10.30:

HOW ARE WE DOING?

11.00-12.30:

GETTING DOWN TO IT

Working Groups
14.30-16.30:

SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Presentations from Working Groups What this all means for me and my organisation Final comments and farewells
Friday 14th November Session 1:

Slow Life Symposium Welcome

Sonu Shivdasani, Chairman and CEO, Soneva Group; Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future
Session 2:

Finance for a Sustainable World

Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future. Pavan Sukhdev, Founder, Gist Advisory. Jamie Arbib, Founder, Tellus Mater
Session 3:

Food, Farming and Sustainable Land Use

Rikin Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer, Digital Green. Steven Badger, Mars Inc. David Monsma, Executive Director, Aspen Institute’s Energy and Environment Programme  
Saturday 15th November
Session 4:

Drops in the Ocean?

Minister Shainee, Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, Government of the Maldives. Johan Rockström, Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Jean Oelwang, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Unite. Hanli Prinsloo, Founder, I AM WATER. Cindy Forde, Director, BLUE Marine Foundation. Sean Dooley, Founder, Ocean Preservation Alliance. Stephen Hall, Director, Fishing for a Future
Session 5:

Resilient Reefs / Resilient Communities

Minister Thoriq, Ministry of Environment, Government of the Maldives. Terry Hughes, Distinguished Professor and Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. Lida Pet-Soede, Lead, Coral Triangle Programme, WWF. Bruce Bromley, Chief Financial Officer, Soneva Group  
Sunday 16th November Session 6:

The Future of Philanthropy: Open Enquiry

Peter Wheeler, Executive Vice President, The Nature Conservancy. Chris West, Director, Shell Foundation. Lily Cole, Model, Actress, Activist. Jean Oelwang, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Unite. John Kluge, Co-Founder, Toilet Hackers Jamie Arbib, Founder, Tellus Mater. Jim Norton, Adventure Capitalist, EcoTrust
Session 7:

The Future of Philanthropy: What Next?

Session 8:

Action Planning

Friday 8th November

Innovation Through Collaboration

Session 1:

What Are We Doing Here?

Sonu Shivdisani, Chairman and CEO, Soneva Group; Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future; Karena Albers, Co-Founder, WHOLE WORLD Water
Session 2:

Scaling Up

Jochen Zeitz, Director and Chairman of the Board’s Sustainable Development Committee, Kering; Co-Founder and Co-Chair, The B Team
Session 3:

New Thinking For A Connected World

Laura Turner, Chairperson, Captain Planet Foundation; Kelly Clark, Director, Tellus Mater Foundation; Martha Lane Fox, UK Digital Champion; Cross-Bench Peer, UK House of Lords
Session 4:

Rethinking The System

Johan Rockström, Executive Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre; Professor, Environmental Science, Stockholm University
Saturday 9th November

Innovating Within Natural Limits

Session 5:

Reflections and expectations

Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future; Jakob von Uexkull, Founder, World Future Council Foundation
Session 6:

Asking More Of The Corporation

Pavan Sukhdev, Founder and CEO, GIST Advisory; Founder and Director, Corporation 2020 and Johan Rockström, Executive Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre; Professor, Environmental Science, Stockholm University
Session 7:

Ocean Dimensions

David de Rothschild, Founder, Sculpt The Future Foundation; Daryl Hannah, Actor and Environmental Activist; Lida Pet-Soede, Lead, WWF Coral Triangle Programme Responses from Chris Gorell-Barnes, Co-Founder, BLUE Marine Foundation and Jon Bowermaster, Writer, Filmmaker and Adventurer
Sunday 10th November

Making It Happen

Session 8:

Reflections and Expectations

Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future and Leo Johnson, Visiting Fellow, Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, University of Oxford, Author, Turnaround Challenge
Session 9:

Innovation Bazaar


Session 10:

Innovation Bazaar


Session 11:

Next Steps?

Group discussion; final plenary; closing comments.
Session 1:

What Are We Doing Here?

Sonu Shivdisani, Chairman and CEO, Soneva Group; Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future; Karena Albers, Co-Founder, WHOLE WORLD Water
Friday 7th October

Progressive Solutions for Future Tourism - Challenges

Session 1:

Welcome Speech

Sonu Shivdasani, Chairman and CEO, Soneva Resorts
Session 2:

The Low-Carbon Countries Club

Mark Lynas, Climate Change Advisor to the President of Maldives
Session 3:

Consequences of Climate Inaction

Jakob von Uexkull, Founder, World Future Council Foundation
Session 4:

The Coming Global Energy Crisis and How it Might Affect Small Island States

Jeremy Leggett, Founder and Chairman, Solarcentury
Session 5:

Green School and Green Village

John Hardy, Co-Founder, Green School and Green Village
Session 6:

The lifeblood of the Planet: Preserving ocean biodiversity

Panel Discussion
  • Fabien Cousteau, Founder, Plant A Fish
  • Daryl Hannah, Actor, Environmental Activist/li>
  • Jon Bowermaster, Writer, Film-Maker and Adventurer/li>

Session 7:

Keynote Speech

Richard Branson, Chairman, The Virgin Group
Session 8:

Responsible Waste Management

Edward Norton, Chairman, and Michael Walker, CEO, Baswood
Saturday 8th October

Progressive Solutions for Future Tourism - Solutions

Session 9:

Small Island States and Luxury Tourism: Unlikely bedfellows or a natural alliance?

Jonathon Porritt, Founder and Director, Forum for the Future
Session 10:

Engaging Communities: The fifth pillar of sustainability

Tim Smit, Chief Executive and Co-Founder, The Eden Project
Session 11:

Keynote Speech

President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives
Session 12:

Maldives Renewable Energy Investment Framework

Mike Mason, Energy Advisor to the President of the Maldives
Session 13:

The devil or the angel? The role of tourism in environmental protection

Panel discussion Chair: Jonathon Porritt, Founder and Director, Forum for the Future
  • President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives
  • Edward Norton, Filmmaker; President of the Board, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust; United Nations Ambassador for Biodiversity
  • Sonu Shivdasani, Chairman and CEO, Soneva Resorts

Session 14:

Investment Opportunities in Renewable Technology for the Tourism Industry

Daniel Foa & Hiu Ng, Co-Founders, FairKlima Capital
Sunday 9th October

Progressive Solutions for Future Tourism - Solutions

Session 15:

Ecological age islands and resorts

Peter Head, Founder, The Ecological Sequestration Trust
Session 16:

Energy Autonomy of Small Island States

Panel Discussion Chair: Eric Scotto, Chairman and Co-Founder, Akuo Energy
  • Jean Ballandras, General Secretary of Regional Affairs of La Réunion
  • Mike Mason, Energy Advisor to the President of Maldives

Session 17:

Energy Futures and the Transport Sector: Laggards or Leaders?

Panel Discussion Chair: Mark Lynas, Climate Change Advisor to the President of Maldives
  • Jose Mariano, Founder and CEO, zero2infinity
  • Richard Branson, Chairman, The Virgin Group

Session 18:

Sustainability as the New Normal: The role of the CEO

Panel Discussion Chair: Jonathon Porritt, Founder and Director, Forum for the Future
  • Richard Branson, Chairman, The Virgin Group
  • Sonu Shivdasani, Chairman and CEO, Soneva Resorts
  • Tim Smit, Chief Executive and Co-Founder, The Eden Project
Friday 8th October

Travel and Tourism: Surviving Climate Change

Session 1:

Welcome Speech

Sonu Shivdasani, CEO and Chairman of Soneva Resorts
Session 2:

Keynote Speech

President Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives Mark Lynas, Climate Change Advisor to the President of the Maldives
Session 3:

Leadership for a Low Carbon World

Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director of Forum for the Future
Session 4:

Powerful future! The Role of Renewable Energy for a Steadily Increasing Global Ecotourism

Stefan Schurig, World Future Council
Session 5:

Game Changing Energy Technologies of the Future

Lounette Dyer, Soleadeo Energy Consulting
Session 6:

The Solar Revolution: A Report From the Inflection Point

Jeremy Leggett, Solarcentury
Session 7:

Investing in Clean Energy

Eric Scotto, Akuo Energy
Session 8:

Low Carbon Profits in an Eco-Resort – Looking Beyond Energy

Anthony Michaels, Proteus Environmental Technologies
Saturday 9th October

The Living Building Challenge

Session 9:

Economics of Low Carbon Financing

Mike Mason, Climate Care
Session 10:

Sustainable, surplus-energy-tourism facilities

Professor Manfred Hegger, HHS Planer + Architekten AG
Session 11:

Masterplanning of Large-Scale Eco-Resort Destinations

Miguel Ruano, Miguel Ruano Associates Ltd.
Session 12:

Case Studies from India

Sanjay Prakash, Sanjay Prakash & Associates Pvt. Ltd.
Session 13:

Live The Deal – Changing Travel and Tourism for the Green Economy

Professor Geoffrey Lipman, UNWTO
Session 14:

Keynote Speech – The future of travel and tourism in a world of climate chaos

Jakob von Uexkull, World Future Council Foundation
Sunday 10th October

Improving our Footprint

Session 15:

Global Sustainable Tourism Trends

Costas Christ, WTTC
Session 16:

Ocean Challenges

Chris Gorell Barnes, BLUE Marine Foundation
Session 17:

Financing the Low Carbon Economy

John Pontin OBE, The Converging World
Session 18:

Airline Industry Actions to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Jonathon Counsell, British Airways

The Climate for Change

Friday 6th June Session 1:

The Challenges – An Industry Overview

Stephanie Draper, Forum for the Future  
Session 2:

Meeting the Challenges in Soneva Fushi

John Philipson, Soneva Fushi  
Session 3:

Sustainable Engineering for the Travel and Tourism Industry

Joachim Krueger, Solarlite; Oliver Kopsch, DecRen Water Consult  
Session 4:

Water Management Solutions

Oliver Kopsch, DecRen Water Consult  
Session 5:

International Business Leaders Forum

Lyndall de Marco, ITP  
Session 6:

Innovation and Low Carbon Technologies in Travel

John Pontin, The Converging World; Ricardo Moreira XCO2, Dale Jenson, Makai Ocean Engineering; Ralph Rusher, Soneva Fushi
Saturday 7th June Session 7:

The Built Environment – Challenges and Opportunities

Herbert Girardet, World Future Council  
Session 8:

Eco-Design Villa at Soneva Kiri, Thailand

Louis Thompson, Soneva Kiri  
Session 9:

A Tour of Soneva Fushi’s Waste Management System

Wayne Wadsworth, Soneva Fushi  
Session 10:

A Workshop on Social Responsibility

Jamie Waring, Six Senses  
Session 11:

A Workshop on Carbon Mitigation

Jakob von Uexkull, World Future Council  
Session 12:

A Workshop on Sustainable Hotels

Christopher Oakes, Six Senses
Sunday 8th June Session 13:

Breakout Group One – Food

Christopher Oakes, Six Senses  
Session 14:

Breakout Group Two – Education

Jan Peter Bergkvist, Scandic Hotels  
Session 15:

Breakout Group Three – Certification

Ricardo Moreira, XCO2  
Session 16:

Breakout Group Four – Climate Change and Carbon Mitigation

Juergen Siedel, Six Senses  
Session 17:

Planetary Discussion – Accelerated Change

Juergen Siedel, Six Senses  
Session 18:

Keynote Speech

Jakob von Uexkull, World Future Council

Sonu-Shivdasani

Sonu Shivdasani

Chairman and CEO, Soneva Group; Founder, SLOW LIFE Foundation

Sonu is the host of the SLOW LIFE Symposium.

As CEO and Chairman of the Soneva Group, Sonu set out to prove that sustainability and luxury go hand in hand. Each Soneva resort remains true to Sonu and Eva Shivdasani’s original vision of five star luxury accommodation but with a commitment to protecting the environment and respecting the local culture and fragile host eco system which is to remain undisturbed by the opening of any new resort. Each Soneva resort uses only natural and sustainable building materials, plastic is banned and as much produce as possible is grown or caught locally to support the group’s constant drive to annually improve its environmental impact and ultimately decarbonise.

Alongside the Soneva Group, Sonu and Eva have established the The Soneva Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation committed to supporting the development and operation of projects and campaigns that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact.

The SLOW LIFE Symposium is an event of The Soneva Foundation.

Jonathon-Porritt

Jonathon Porritt

Founder Director, Forum for the Future

Jonathon is the Chair of the SLOW LIFE Symposium.

Jonathon is Founder Director of Forum for the Future, is a non-profit organisation working globally with business and government to create a sustainable future. Jonathon’s priorities at the Forum include working with the executive board of M&S on Plan A, and working with Unilever CEO Paul Pollman and the Unilever Executive Team on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. He is a member of Aviva’s Socially Responsible Investment Advisory Committee.

Jonathon is also Co-Director of The Prince of Wales Business and Sustainability Programme. Previously, Jonathon was inaugural Chair of the UK government’s Sustainable Development Commission. He is a Non-Executive of Willmott Dixon Holdings, a Trustee of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, and is involved in the work of many NGOs and charities as Patron, Chair or Special Adviser.

He is the author of The World We Made, which presents a credible, positive vision of our planet that is green, fair, connected and collaborative.

Our Locations

Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

The Republic of the Maldives, an archipelago of 1,190 islands draped like a delicate necklace over the equator, is one of the world’s most low-lying countries. Beloved by locals and tourists alike, the beauty of these tranquil islands belies the great threat they face to their very existence.

For the Maldives is fighting a battle on two fronts. Rising sea levels threaten to submerge the Maldives by the end of the century. Increased carbon dioxide emissions are also warming and acidifying the world’s oceans, threatening to destroy coral reefs – the same pristine coral reefs that support tourism and fishing, the country’s two main industries.

Soneva Fushi is a fitting location for environmental problem solving to take place. Set on a 100 acre island in Baa Atoll, Soneva Fushi has a 70KW solar photovoltaic system, champions the use of natural building materials, eschews the use of plastic, refuses to serve fish unsustainably, produces its own drinking water and pioneers recycling and reconditioning in a nation with no such municipal facilities.

Soneva Kiri

Soneva Kiri, Thailand

350 kms southeast of Bangkok and 80 kms off the Thai mainland, the island of Koh Kood deserves its reputation for unspoilt natural beauty. Ancient rainforest blankets hillsides that slope down to deserted coconut palm shaded beaches and the Gulf of Thailand’s pristine cobalt waters. This is an environment worth protecting.

Soneva Kiri is nestled among palm-fringed hills around a secluded bay. Villas are constructed from sustainably sourced timber, much of the produce served is grown in the resort’s vegetable gardens and reef restoration projects are under way.

Recent Articles

Soneva Sustainability Report 2014-15

The Soneva Sustainability Report 2014-15 publishes the results of Soneva’s first Total Impact Assessment. [caption id="attachment_3317" align="alignleft" width="780"] Photo: Cat Vinton[/caption] In an effort to measure the total impact the company has on the natural world and on the…... more

Soneva wins WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Award in the Environment category

Soneva was announced as the winner of the prestigious Word Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow Award 2015 in the Environment category at the WTTC…... more

The Brewery: Capitalism within Planetary Boundaries

Participants at the 2014 SLOW LIFE Symposium. Successful initiatives such as WHOLE WORLD Water and Learn to Swim were born out of the SLOW LIFE Symposium. Following…... more