Ceningan Divers Celebrates Remarkable Sustainability Milestone

Ceningan Divers on Nusa Lembongan, Bali, has recently become the first zero-score Green Fins Certified Member in Indonesia — the only two globally!

To celebrate and understand how they’ve achieved this incredible sustainability milestone, the Reef-World team — which coordinates the Green Fins initiative in partnership with the UN Environment Programme — spoke to Robert Scales, Co-founder of Ceningan Divers. They have been a Green Fins Member since 2018 and underwent their fifth assessment by the Green Fins Indonesia team (country implementing partner, Coral Triangle Center) in February 2024.

Ceningan Divers Sustainability Team

Can you share some key initiatives or practices that have helped Ceningan Divers become a zero-scoring Green Fins Member?

The challenges of building a sustainable eco-resort, as outlined in our “Challenges of Building a Sustainable Eco Resort” presentation, and embracing sustainable low-impact dive tourism, have been pivotal to us. These efforts reflect our dedication to not only protect the marine environment but also to set a new standard within the industry.

Our journey towards sustainability has been both comprehensive and evolving. We’ve always aimed to integrate best practices into every aspect of our operations, guided by Green Fins’ principles.

  1. Educational outreach: One of our major strides has been establishing and expanding the Ceningan Divers Education Centre. Here, we educate not only our guests but also the broader communities about marine conservation, emphasising the critical role they play in protecting our underwater ecosystems.
  2. Sustainable operations: We’ve transitioned to more efficient boat engines to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, a move towards minimising our carbon footprint. Additionally, our adoption of natural cleaning agents and reef-safe sunscreens helps protect the marine environment from harmful chemicals.
  3. Community and team engagement: Our team outing in 2023, dedicated to understanding and participating in marine conservation and sustainable practices, serves as a testament to our commitment. It not only brought our team closer but also deepened our collective understanding of the impact of our actions on the marine environment.
Ceningan Divers staff during cleanups activities

We know being where you are today doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and persistence. Can you share which Green Fins best practices are the most challenging to implement and how you overcame them?

Adopting and adhering to Green Fins guidelines has not been without its challenges. The most significant has been managing waste effectively and promoting eco-friendly practices among our guests and the broader community.

Waste Management: Our zero-waste policy and innovative waste management solutions have been crucial in addressing this challenge. By implementing recycling programs and encouraging the use of reusable materials, we’ve made significant progress. Yet, constant vigilance and innovation are required to maintain and improve these efforts.

Community Collaboration: Ensuring adherence to eco-friendly practices requires ongoing community education and engagement. We’ve found that leading by example and involving the community in our conservation projects fosters a shared sense of responsibility and commitment to environmental stewardship.

Ceningan Divers dive guide giving a Green Fins briefing

Previously, you mentioned that you’ve seen a positive impact on your business and guests with your efforts to become more sustainable. Can you explain more about the positive impact that you see?

The positive impacts of our sustainability efforts are multifaceted, affecting our business, guests, and the broader environment.

Enhanced Guest Experience: By integrating sustainability into our operations, we’ve not only attracted eco-conscious divers but also enhanced the overall guest experience. Our focus on sustainable practices has led to a deeper appreciation among our guests for marine conservation, evidenced by the positive feedback on our conservation workshops and initiatives. Our presentation on sustainable tourism provides further insights into how divers can minimize their impact while enjoying the beauty of the underwater world.

Strengthened Industry Leadership: Our efforts have solidified Ceningan Divers’ position as a leader in sustainable marine tourism. By sharing our journey and practices, we hope to inspire and encourage other operators to embark on their sustainability journeys.

Ceningan Divers dive boat with guests

What advice would you give to other dive operators who want to start minimising or improving their environmental impact

For fellow dive operators seeking to minimise their environmental impact, the journey is as rewarding as it is challenging. My advice is rooted in our experiences and trial and errors. Don’t be afraid to take the ECO path, ask questions, find mentors and “copy” your “coopetitors” (for those of you that have not heard of the word, the definition is: a competitor who also cooperates)!

Embrace comprehensive education: Education is the cornerstone of effective environmental stewardship. By investing in educating your guests, team and the local community, you can foster a culture of sustainability that extends beyond your operations.

Lead by example: Demonstrating a commitment to sustainable practices in your operations can inspire others to follow suit. Sharing our experience in building a sustainable dive resort has been part of our approach to leading by example.

Ceningan Divers pool training

Are there any future sustainability initiatives or goals that Ceningan Divers has in mind to reduce its environmental footprint further?

Looking ahead, we are committed to expanding our contribution to marine conservation. Our future initiatives include enhancing our scientific data collection and coral restoration projects, further developing our educational programs and continuing to innovate in our sustainability practices. These efforts are aimed at not only improving the health of our local marine ecosystems but also providing valuable insights and models for the wider marine tourism industry.

To have an idea of how far they’ve come, read their interview from 2020. Thank you, and a huuuuuge congratulations to Rob and the Ceningan Divers team for achieving this milestone and your continuous hard work in making sustainable diving the norm in the industry!

For dive, snorkel and liveaboard operators interested in becoming environmentally friendly dive operators like CENINGAN DIVERS, sign up for Green Fins membership at www.greenfins.net/join.