Luxury that lasts: How Kerzner International embeds sustainability into its resorts and residences

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Kerzner International’s global partnership with EarthCheck enables the destination resort operator to deliver a luxury guest experience in a way that is sustainable and responsible.

Kerzner International is a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, ultra-luxury hotels and residences. Through their four distinctive brands – Atlantis Resorts and Residencies, One&Only Resorts, Rare Finds and SIRO – Kerzner has properties all over the world, providing guests with immersive experiences from Dubai and the Maldives to Rwanda and South Africa. 

Globally renowned for resorts in some of the world’s most exceptional destinations, Kerzner sought to implement a framework for sustainability across each of their properties, to ensure that the guest experience is delivered in a way that is responsible and has a positive impact.

As an organisation with a global footprint, it’s extremely important for us to have a globally recognised framework to adhere to.

Putting a framework in place

In 2019, Kerzner engaged EarthCheck to roll out EarthCheck Certified, the world’s leading environmental certification and benchmarking program for the travel and tourism industry. Kerzner has made membership in the globally recognised program mandatory across their portfolio. 

Based on the fundamental belief that what gets measured gets managed, the EarthCheck Certified program enables Kerzner to monitor the environmental and social sustainability of each of their properties on an ongoing basis, and compare their performance to global benchmarks, as well as benchmarks that are region, climate and sector-specific. 

Jamey Ford, Kerzner’s corporate EarthCheck Champion, says membership in the EarthCheck Certified program has enabled Kerzner to implement a Sustainability Management System that helps them to achieve international best practices. 

“As an organisation with a global footprint, it’s extremely important for us to have a globally recognised framework to adhere to,” he says. “And because EarthCheck’s platform is specifically tailored to the travel and tourism industry, the partnership works very well between us. 

“The EarthCheck Certified program has given us a framework to enter all of our data into, which gives us a clarity we have not had before. From our Global Office in Dubai, I now have access to a dashboard that gives me insight into the performance of all of our properties across the world. Having that structure in place really helps to drive us forward and ensure we’re improving year-on-year.” 

Based on this data, which is verified by third-party auditors, EarthCheck supplies Kerzner with insights into what they’re doing well and what they could be doing better, and provides guidance on how their performance can be optimised. 

Atlantis The Palm
Setting the Gold standard

EarthCheck helps Kerzner to evaluate their environmental footprint and measure the impact of their sustainable initiatives. This includes environmental initiatives focused on waste minimisation, water conservation, energy reduction, and habitat regeneration and restoration, as well as social initiatives that ensure local communities are employed, empowered and paid fair wages.

“One of the things I’m particularly proud of,” Jamey says, “is that one of our resorts, One&Only Reethi Rah, has achieved EarthCheck Gold certification for three consecutive years now. They’ve become the flag bearers for us – it’s a beautiful resort that’s put some fantastic initiatives in place, and that Gold certification shows they’re leading the way for us as a brand.” 

One&Only Reethi Rah has achieved EarthCheck Gold certification by putting in place initiatives to preserve the Maldives’ cultural heritage and support local people, and to protect nature and marine life, all while enhancing the experience of its guests.  

This includes the first specialist turtle rehabilitation habitat in the North Malé Atoll, where injured sea turtles recover under the expert care of the resort’s resident marine biologist. Guests at the resort can take part in daily feedings at the rehabilitation centre, providing them with an experience they’ll never forget. 

“We have some great initiatives across the portfolio,” Jamey says. “We have the Atlas Project at Atlantis Dubai, for instance, which includes an on-site water purification and bottling plant that will remove 2.7 million plastic bottles per year from our operation. 

“At Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, our Australian property in the Blue Mountains, we’ve planted more than 200,000 native trees, and our guests actually collect seeds that are helping to rebuild and restore the ecosystem after the bushfires there. 

“The EarthCheck platform has been a key pillar of these programs.”

By being EarthCheck Certified, it proves what they’re doing isn’t a marketing ploy. It’s real.

The seal of approval

Melinda Watt, EarthCheck’s Chief Scientist and Vice President Relationship Management, says the EarthCheck Certified program helps Kerzner to articulate their sustainability commitments and verify their sustainability credentials as they continue to expand their portfolio.  

“It gives validity to their sustainability initiatives, because we have auditors across the world who go on-site and ensure they’re doing what they say they’re doing,” she says. 

“By being EarthCheck Certified, it proves what they’re doing isn’t a marketing ploy. It’s real. And they can use these externally audited figures in their corporate reporting frameworks, whether that’s an ESG report, a CSR report or a sustainability report.

“It’s very important for a hotel group such as Kerzner to be able to provide those reports and insights, so they can show the world what they’re doing to work towards sustainability across their organisation, and guests can be assured they’re getting an authentic experience that is making a positive contribution to the local community.” 

Kerzner’s Jamey Ford says being EarthCheck Certified has had a number of benefits for the company. 

“First of all, it has helped us to accelerate an internal culture, to align towards a more effective and sustainable business,” he says.

“Secondly, it adds value to the offering for our guests. People today want to choose a hotel brand that is serious about sustainability, and they expect you to be giving something back to the community. Being EarthCheck Certified means our guests can see and understand the high standards we have implemented.

“And lastly, it provides us with a platform  to continue to scale up our environmental and social initiatives as our portfolio grows. EarthCheck is going to be absolutely integral to this growth. It’s inextricably linked to what we’re trying to do for the future.” 

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There are more than 476 million Indigenous Peoples, found in all regions of the world, from the Arctic to the tropical forests. They make up more than 6 per cent of our global population.


In the spirit of reconciliation, EarthCheck acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout the world and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Indigenous Peoples today.


EarthCheck acknowledges that Indigenous Peoples are guardians of the forests and biodiversity hotspots we all depend on. Research shows that lands managed by Indigenous Peoples, with secure rights, experience lower deforestation rates, store more carbon, hold more biodiversity, and benefit more people than other lands — including protected areas.


We recognise and support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration is a positive document that maps out a path for Indigenous Peoples to be free from discrimination and secure in their identities and life choices.

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EarthCheck Certified: Aligned globally

EarthCheck science and products were developed by the Australian Government Sustainable Tourism Co-operative Research Centre (STCRC) over ten years. Our science is reviewed annually to ensure that it meets international standards relative to greenhouse gas protocols, responsible tourism, and certification.

EarthCheck products and services are built on the Agenda 21 principles for Sustainable Development endorsed by 182 Heads of State at the United Nations Rio De Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 and aligned to the SDGs.

EarthCheck Certified provides a framework for organisations to achieve the desired outcomes for sustainable development as set out in the final report of the World Summit for Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002.

EarthCheck Certified complies with the Mohonk Agreement (2000), which outlines the guidelines and principles for an international sustainable tourism certification program. It is also a Recognised program of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

EarthCheck Certified is a verification standard accepted by CDP. It is also an approved program of the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA), London & Partners, the Mexican Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) and the City of Sydney.

EarthCheck Certified is an approved program for meeting the EU Energy Directive for the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle – BAFA) in Germany and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy) in the Netherlands.

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