THE DATAI PLEDGE PUBLISHES THIRD ANNUAL IMPACT REPORT
Malaysian sustainable tourism pioneer’s key achievements include the completion of a Carbon Sequestration Study and a major expansion of its Zero-Waste Programme
The Datai Pledge, the wide-reaching sustainability, conservation and community support programme of the iconic Malaysian resort The Datai Langkawi, has published its third annual Impact Report. Covering the year 2022, the report has been released following meticulous monitoring and documentation. It details key successes in various projects across all four pillars of The Datai Pledge. These aim to support marine life, terrestrial wildlife and local youth and community, as well as make the resort’s business operations more sustainable. Highlights include saving 365,642kg of waste from going to landfill; planting 2,570 saplings from the resort’s Native Tree Nursery in the rainforest; recording a doubling of biodiversity and an eightfold increase in fish biomass on the regenerated reefs in Datai Bay; and securing the approval of the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) for creating possibly the world-first trans-island wildlife corridor project.
Pictured (l-r): The Lab, an educational and activity hub for guests that’s made of upcycled glass bottles and other waste materials; seeds collected for cultivation at the Native Tree Nursery by Wildlife For The Future pillar team; Indo-pacific Humpback Dolphins, one of the many species studied by NGO pillar partner MareCet and Fish For The Future pillar team
Pure For The Future underpins The Datai Langkawi’s commitment to sustainable business operations and aims to steward the regeneration of the environment. In 2022, the resort continued its journey to becoming Carbon Neutral with a comprehensive cross-pillar programme with Wildlife For The Future, including completing a Carbon Sequestration Study based on the Carbon Stock Assessment with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and partnering with Pantas Climate Solutions to monitor carbon emissions. An already extensive zero-waste-to-the-landfill programme was expanded to The Els Club Teluk Datai golf course, contributing to the diversion of 365,642kg of waste from going to landfill and an overall 91.65 metric tons of CO2 avoided from polluting our environment - representing an overall efficiency for the programme of 75%. The resort produced 172,264 bottles of still water filled in recyclable bottles in-house; created 3,021 recycled candles from used candles; collected 2,923kg of waste during regular beach clean-ups; and partnered with FatHopes Energy to convert 3,283kg of used cooking oil into biofuel. The resort also continued its partnership with local social enterprise The Kanshalife Project, including donating MYR57,300 (approx. GBP9,660) for the construction of their premises, and the Geng Bersih Kampung project that has successfully renovated and converted a local home into a community space for eco-education workshops and training for children.
“People and planet are our concern; our focus has been to reduce our carbon footprint and waste, and support the local community with sustainable initiatives. Last year, we increased our efforts to create a circular economy through rethinking and repurposing waste and channelling usable resources back into the system to avoid the landfill. We have made great strides in reaching the wider community through supporting their sustainable enterprises and fostering community resilience against climate change.” said Remi Giromella, Pure For The Future pillar leader and Director of Quality Control and Improvement at The Datai Langkawi.
Fish For The Future initiatives in 2022 focused on promoting sustainable fishing whilst conserving and propagating the coral reefs and marine life, with continuous efforts to secure Protected Area status for Datai Bay. Key achievements included the successful construction and deployment into the bay of a new prototype artificial reef designed by Chief Advisor and renowned naturalist, Irshad Mobarak; the design and construction of a turtle hatchery and installing 10 turtle-friendly lights to increase the probability of turtles nesting on the beach; and removing 90kg of ghost nets and planting five varieties of coral in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries (DoF) and Dorken Reef Resources. A thorough assessment of artificial reef structures in Datai Bay was also completed in conjunction with the DoF and the Fisheries Research Institute, which found that species diversity had doubled, and fish biomass had increased eightfold in the bay since March 2020.
68 guests of The Datai Langkawi engaged in marine education activities hosted by Fish For The Future pillar partner MareCet, the only NGO in Malaysia dedicated to marine mammal conservation and protection of their habitats. The resort continues to fund MareCet’s long-running flagship Langkawi Dolphin Research Project, an ongoing investigation into the distribution, abundance, ranging patterns, social structure, behaviours and acoustic ecology of Indo-pacific Humpback Dolphins, Indo-pacific Finless Porpoises and more, as well as their interactions with humans. In the past year, MareCet has published four scientific papers in international peer-reviewed scientific journals and engaged 4,714 visitors in 30 locations through its Whales On-The-Wheels Mobile Marine education exhibition.
The Wildlife For The Future programme aims to conserve, regenerate and reconnect Langkawi’s fragmented rainforests to ensure the wildlife continues to flourish using a holistic approach. In 2022, 3,800 seedlings of 16 different species were cultivated at The Datai Langkawi’s Native Tree Nursery; while staff and guests planted approximately 2,570 saplings from the Nursery in the rainforest. Over 100 guests participated in Wildlife For The Future activities at the resort, raising a total of MYR12,300 (approx. GBP2,072).
The Datai Pledge team initiated an independent three-month research study of three rivers in the wider Teluk Datai area – discovering the critically vulnerable Copper Mahseer in Datai River; and also conducted phenology and tree identification studies within the resort grounds - identifying 22 species currently listed as vulnerable or critically endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, including seven ‘mother trees’ of the endangered Keruing Bukit species.
Planning for the ‘Corridor for Life’ - believed to be the world’s first trans-island wildlife corridor – was also completed in partnership with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) doctorate researcher Ben Galea and the Malaysian Primatological Society. Further lobbying of government bodies and key stakeholders secured the agreement of the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) to spearhead the implementation of the project, which aims to reconnect pockets of fragmented forest from the east to the west of the island, enabling safe passage of animals, either on-ground or above.
The resort’s partner on Wildlife For The Future is Gaia, a social enterprise dedicated to conserving wildlife, specialising in the welfare of hornbills and preserving their habitats. In addition to The Datai Pledge’s work with Gaia on hornbill research and habitat creation, the programme is also funding specific projects such as the development of a fig tree nursery, the preferred food plant 0f hornbills.
Pictured (l-r): Students of SK Temonyong, the third Eco-School sponsored under the Youth For The Future pillar together with local NGO and pillar partner, GGAF; a Great Hornbill at The Datai Langkawi, one of the many species protected under the Wildlife For The Future pillar together with social enterprise Gaia
Under the Youth For The Future pillar, The Datai Pledge strengthened its support for the Global Eco-Schools Programme to include sponsorship of a third school in Langkawi. Designed to inform and engage students in respect and appreciation of nature through education and action on environmental issues, the programme is endorsed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) and supported by the Ministry of Education, as well as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Operated through The Datai Pledge’s NGO partner Green Growth Asia Foundation (GGAF), the programme aims to champion green projects that drive economic growth through education for sustainable development and social inclusivity. The resort also formalised its partnership with Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots Malaysia Award (RASMA), with a six-week volunteer sustainability and conservation programme for four participants – one of whom was subsequently offered a permanent position as an in-house naturalist for The Datai Langkawi.
Key goals for 2023 include implementing Carbon Footprint Management (CFM), installing solar panels, and optimising in-house waste management processes and technological capabilities as part of the Pure For The Future ambition to achieve Carbon Neutral status by 2024. Under the Fish For The Future pillar, objectives for 2023 include establishing at least three more artificial reef structures; deploying a sonar recording buoy in Datai Bay to collect data on marine mammals in partnership with MareCet; and creating a new PADI-certified marine research dive centre with at least one Dive Master-certified marine biologist, facilitating guest participation in marine research dives.
2023 will also see the commencement of Phase 1 of the ‘Corridor for Life’ project – a pilot to establish the methodology and build wider community, government and NGO support; upgrades to the Native Tree Nursery, including the addition of a Seed Bank and guest education facilities; and the launch of new co-curriculum programmes in schools such as Climate Ready Classrooms in partnerships with GGAF.
In recognition of its ongoing efforts in the framework of The Datai Pledge, The Datai Langkawi has achieved a third consecutive EarthCheck ECO Silver Certification in 2022 (the first hotel to achieve this for terrestrial tourism projects); as well as ASEAN Green Hotel Standard Certification 2022.
Notes to Editors:
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ABOUT THE DATAI PLEDGE
In 2020, The Datai Pledge was established as a Private Trust. It is founded on the belief that travel has the potential to be transformative; not only for the traveller but also for the host community. The Datai Pledge was created on the premise of protecting the biodiversity and supporting the local community of Langkawi, for today and the future. It comprises four pillars: Pure For The Future, Fish For The Future, Wildlife For The Future, and Youth For The Future, working to make the resort’s business operations more sustainable, support marine life, terrestrial wildlife and local youth, respectively. For guests of The Datai Langkawi, The Datai Pledge aims to create educational experiences that inspire and uphold our collective role in responsible living on a wider global level. The Datai Pledge’s vision is to integrate conservation and sustainability into the business operations, company ethos and guest experience of The Datai Langkawi and future properties, in order to protect and help regenerate the rich biodiversity and enable the local community to thrive. The Datai Pledge is working towards this goal through developing a robust programme in conjunction with local NGOs, social enterprises and community partners.
ABOUT THE DATAI LANGKAWI
One of the world’s most stunning resorts, The Datai Langkawi, is situated on the northwest tip of the island of Langkawi in Malaysia. Located in an ancient rainforest rich in wildlife and overlooking the tranquil Datai Bay awarded by National Geographic one of the Top 10 Beaches worldwide, the iconic property enchants with mesmerising nature, visionary architecture, understated elegance, and Malaysian hospitality. All the 121 rooms, villas, and suites at The Datai Langkawi, including the five-bedroom The Datai Estate Villa, offer breath-taking views of the surrounding nature. Elevated among treetops, set in the very heart of the rainforest, and located directly on the coastline, the dining outlets which include the award-winning The Gulai House, The Pavilion, The Dining Room, and The Beach Club, pay homage to the exotic flavours and culinary traditions of the region and beyond. Bespoke facilities include The Nature Centre, an educational facility and home to resident naturalists and marine biologists, and The Spa featuring Ramuan treatments, its own Akar retail range, and Voya facials. Leisure facilities include three pools, a state-of-the-art fitness centre at The Health Club; an array of wellness activities including Pilates and yoga, retail outlet The Boutique, a reserved space to showcase local arts and talents at The Atelier, as well as one of the most scenic golf courses in the world designed by golf legend Ernie Els, The Els Club Teluk Datai. The resort has founded The Datai Pledge in 2019 - a sustainability and conservation trust that supports Langkawi’s unique fauna, flora, and communities. All proceeds from The Datai Pledge aid this work and contribute to local non-profit organisation. The Datai Langkawi is managed by Datai Hotels and Resorts Sdn Bhd, a company incorporated to manage and operate hospitality properties in Malaysia and beyond.
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