Nikoi achieves Global Ecosphere Retreat® Status
The Long Run is delighted to announce that Nikoi Island in Indonesia has become its tenth member to achieve the renowned Global Ecosphere Retreat® (GER®) status, one of the most rigorous sustainability standards in the tourism industry.
Nikoi joins other GER® lodges such as Grootbos in South Africa, Caiman in Brazil, and Segera in Kenya who are global leaders in sustainable travel and nature-based solutions. With post pandemic travel ridden with greenwash, The Long Run and its members offer measurable sustainability achieved through a balance of conservation, community, culture, and commerce.
Nikoi Island is just two and a half hours away by boat from the vibrant heart of Singapore. The 37-acre private island resort offers guests a nature-led, barefoot luxury experience, created by owners committed to conserving the island’s biodiversity-rich rainforest, coral reef, white-sand beaches, and surrounding sea while empowering the local community. Fifteen villas were constructed from sustainably sourced, local, or salvaged materials, a committed team are mostly (except two roles) local, and food is sourced from Nikoi’s regenerative agriculture farm on the nearby island of Bintan.
Assessing Nikoi as part of the rigorous GER® onsite and offsite assessment, The Long Run found excellence in every key area of sustainability. Particularly outstanding is Nikoi’s fundamental role in creating a Marine Protected Area of 448,496 acres surrounding the island. Nikoi’s empowerment of local people, support for cultural events and festivals, and resilience during Covid are also global examples of The Long Run’s core values in practice.
Andrew Dixon, co-owner Nikoi Island says he is so proud of what the Nikoi team has achieved:
We joined The Long Run with some trepidation and since then The Long Run team have helped shape our journey to where we are today. Achieving GER status is a wonderful milestone, but it is only the beginning. We are looking forward to what we can achieve next and hopefully along the way inspire others along the same journey.
“Recently, we are most proud of managing to get a Marine Protected Area (MPAs) around Nikoi formally gazetted by the Governor. The total area gazetted is 138k ha and will help lay the framework for better management of other larger neighbouring areas that have been proposed as MPAs. It has taken us years to achieve this, and we have been helped greatly by Conservation International and Yayasan Ecology. Generous funding has been provided by several parties notably, Jord Environment Trust, Conservation International and Macquarie Bank.”
“Another notable achievement has been the plastic credit program that we have helped establish in partnership with Seven Clean Seas. During the pandemic, our staff who were furloughed help set up this program creating additional income for themselves and setting the program up so that it could engage full time staff to run it going forward. So far, more than 250,000kg of plastic (the equivalent of 12.5 million plastic bottles) has been collected from local beaches. Seven Clean Seas have now hired former waste pickers as full-time employees and opened a material sorting facility in the village of Kawal.”
Delphine Malleret King, Managing Director of The Long Run says:
“Nikoi has demonstrated leadership in sustainability from the very beginning. It has been an enriching journey to work with the Nikoi team and welcome Nikoi as a Global Ecosphere Retreat. A well-deserved recognition of true commitment from the whole team.”
Here is a snapshot of some of Nikoi’s landmark achievements within the 4Cs. Read Nikoi’s full Long Run profile HERE:
Nikoi’s commitment to conservation is to ensure that not only is the environment protected but where it has been damaged efforts are made to restore it. Nikoi has worked with leading conservationists, including Conservation International, to establish a monitoring program for the critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, dugong, whale shark, short clawed otter and several other rare and endangered species. So successful have conservation efforts been, the critically endangered short clawed sea otters return to the island each year to nest.
Nikoi’s commitment to minimizing energy consumption is unsurpassed and total energy and water consumption levels are well beyond best practice. Nikoi goes to huge lengths to reduce, recycle, reuse, or upcycle any waste and as a result is zero-waste (e.g., less than 10% of waste goes to landfill). No single use plastic bottles are shipped to the island (a policy that has been in place since opening in 2007). Nikoi has established a kitchen garden on Nikoi and a farm on Bintan —both operate using permaculture principles and only natural and organic fertilisers and pesticides.
The Island Foundation is a registered charity that Nikoi established in 2009 to help support local communities. Based on discussions with local community leaders, education was identified as the primary need and so The Island Foundation created eight learning centres in nearby villages. Alongside this, teacher training workshops run by The Island Foundation are recognised by the Ministry of Education and provide teachers with credit points to obtain higher salaries. The impact of the programs run by the foundation reaches over 15,000 villagers.
Nikoi’s staff except one are Indonesian and almost 100 per cent of food supplies come from Nikoi’s locally run permaculture farm, local markets, or small-scale suppliers. Nikoi was built and is operated using local and salvaged materials, labour and services providing contractors and staff with plenty of new trades and opportunities. This has not only made operational sense, but has created mutual respect with the local community, staff, and tradesmen all taking pride in the project.
Nikoi’s not-for-profit The Island Foundation works with local communities and villagers in Berakit to salvage the culture of the Orang Laut, indigenous sea-faring nomads. Twice a year Nikoi sponsors a local jong race (model sailing boats). These events have helped revive the racing of jongs on this coastline and helped create greater interest for the younger generation in this fascinating cultural tradition. Up to 250 competitors participate in these events helping bring together the community and take pride in their culture.
Nikoi and its sister property Cempedak have jointly sponsored a race of manned traditional sailing boats (keloks) helping to revive interest in these sailing boats. In addition, the Foundation has been helping the villagers document their history, stories, and traditions.
Nikoi operates on the overriding principle that a profitable business is the most sustainable one. A significant portion of the company’s profits are reinvested each year to continue to grow the business and develop further opportunities. The company takes a long term and holistic approach to commerce and by being seen as a valuable resource both in terms of employment and business opportunities for the community this will benefit all stakeholders in the long run. The most visible aspect of this has been the commitment to The Island Foundation.
All Nikoi’s permanent staff earn above market rates, have employment contracts, and are provided accommodation, uniforms, laundry, meals, and medical cover free of charge. The company has helped several local start-up businesses develop or expand. Nikoi prefers using local suppliers and service providers owned by local individuals. Nikoi has helped several employees establish micro-enterprises including bamboo straws and cooking classes.
About the Global Ecosphere Retreat® standard.
The Long Run’s members join as Fellow Members and embark on a supported, bespoke journey to work towards the Global Ecosphere Retreat® (GER®) standard. This standard is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and only awarded to organisations that demonstrate a holistic balance of conservation, community, culture, and commerce (the 4Cs).
GER® is considered ‘one of the world’s best standards for privately protected areas’ (Dr Jeff A. Langholz). It is ultimately for those nature-based tourism businesses that are exceptionally motivated to be a force for the greater good and are the best of the best in sustainable tourism.
The GER® standard is unparalleled by any other standard in that it:
- rigorously covers all conservation, community, culture, and commerce aspects of sustainability in tourism with equal weight.
- is not merely about compliance but is a vehicle to support nature-based tourism businesses in their journey of continuous improvement.
- is not only about businesses mitigating their negative environmental impact, but about positively impacting the well-being of the planet and the people.
- is earned rather than granted following a highly rigorous assessment by accomplished experts and professionals.
- requires businesses to own, directly manage, or influence a significant landscape or seascape making GER® specialist and committed to driving meaningful change.
- requires businesses to be commercially profitable or commit to attaining commercial viability, demonstrating that conserving nature is an economic imperative beyond the ethical arguments of posterity.
Once a property achieves GER® status, it is granted for six years with a compulsory mid-term (three year) review to ensure compliance and review where needed. To find out more, please contact The Long Run team.