Sonu Shivdasani Awarded OBE in New Year Honours List 2023
Sonu Shivdasani has been honoured as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to tourism, sustainability and charity in the New Year Honours 2023 Overseas and International List. The Founder and CEO of Soneva resorts, and Founder of Six Senses Resorts, Sonu Shivdasani redefined tourism in the Maldives by combining hospitality with sustainability. Although majored in English Literature at Oxford University, Sonu went on to make a mark as a pioneering figure in the Maldivian Hospitality industry.
“Receiving an OBE is an incredible honour, and I share it with all of Soneva’s friends and family. This recognition reinforces our founding vision, which is placing purpose over profit,” said Sonu Shivdasani.
In 1987, Sonu and his wife, the other half of the ‘Soneva’ brand Eva Malmström visited the Maldives and fell in love with the country. In 1995, Soneva Fushi opened, followed by the launch of Six Senses Resorts. While developing Soneva and Six Senses, Sonu introduced greater environmental accountability within the hospitality sector. Sonu strongly believes that businesses must contribute to addressing the problems of the 21st century. With that in mind, Soneva’s resorts are carbon neutral with a mandatory carbon levy on all guest stays. This levy has funded the planting of half a million trees in Thailand, the construction of a 1.5-megawatt windmill in India, and the distribution of energy-efficient cooking stoves to rural communities in Myanmar and Darfur.
In addition to introducing several eco-friendly initiatives to the operations of Soneva resorts, along with the government Sonu convened the island council presidents of three local communities, to launch Soneva Namoona. Soneva Namoona is a project that reimagines waste management in the Maldives. In 2021, Sonu was recognised as a sustainability icon in hospitality in Travel + Leisure India & South Asia’s reader’s choice India’s Best Awards. He was also awarded for his Environmental, Social and Governance efforts by HOTELS Magazine.