Diving into Sustainability: Lessons from ADEX 2024 Sustainable Diving Dialogue

Commencing with the 2024 Green Fins Award 

The Reef-World Foundation, as the global coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative, commenced this significant event by honouring the top-performing Green Fins operations worldwide with the prestigious Green Fins Award 2024. Ceningan Divers in Indonesia and Evolution Beach and Dive Resort in Malapascua, Philippines were the proud recipients, recognised for their remarkable accomplishments in achieving the best environmental performance score possible as a result of adopting sustainable practices following the Green Fins code of conduct. This means that they have achieved the lowest environmental impact. Following the award presentation, a panel discussion on sustainable diving businesses for a blue economy proceeded.

The winners of Green Fins Award 2024, Ceningan Divers and Evolution together with Chloe Harvey, Executive Director of The Reef-World Foundation

Dialogue Overview

The marine tourism industry plays a pivotal role in the journey towards a Blue Economy. From supporting Marine Protected Area management to conserving and restoring habitats, businesses have the power to make a significant impact on ocean conservation. The Reef-World Foundation is committed to empowering businesses to reduce their environmental impact by embracing sustainability and thrive in harmony with our oceans.

The event was organised by The Reef-World Foundation, chaired by the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia, UN Environment Programme (UNEP-COBSEA) and hosted by Underwater 360. Targeted at ocean advocates, eco-enthusiasts and the general public, the Dialogue convened industry leaders to delve into the impact of sustainable practices on the future of marine tourism. Together with the panellists, The Reef-World Foundation presented insights on transforming businesses for a Blue Economy. 

6 Years of These Sustainable Diving Events 

The ADEX Sustainable Diving Dialogue provided a platform for experts to share their experiences and insights on improving marine tourism businesses towards a sustainable blue economy. Moderated by Margarita Caballa from UNEP-COBSEA and Chloe Harvey, the Executive Director at The Reef-World Foundation, the dialogue explored key themes and challenges facing the industry.

These sustainable diving events have been running in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 (online), 2023 and 2024. It’s been 6 years that Underwater360 has been a key support to these events. And in this Sustainable Diving Dialogue, the spotlight was on the key industry leaders and individuals for their outstanding work and sustainable practices.

Expert Panel Insights

The panellists shared invaluable insights and experiences, highlighting the following key points:

Matt Reed, Co-owner of Evolution Beach and Dive Resort, emphasised the importance of integrating sustainability into business operations, showcasing their achievement of a zero impact score.

“For our business, we picked the name Evolution because we believe that every dive is a lesson, every dive is a chance to improve. And everybody can always get better. When people come to dive with us, we want them to be able to learn something. And over the years, Green Fins really helped us.” –

Matt Reed, Co-owner oof Evolution Beach and Dive Resort

Paul Strike, CEO & Co-founder of Fourth Element discussed the need to change consumer perceptions of plastic packaging and the importance of innovative solutions.

“We try very hard at Fourth Element to rethink our packaging. Education is key because there’s lots of products that don’t really need to be wrapped in plastic or cardboard.”

Paul Strike, CEO & Co-founder of Fourth Element

Julia Footnick, Co-owner of Purple Dive Penida highlighted the value of supporting women-led research in the marine space and advised upcoming businesses to prioritise sustainability from the outset.

“Providing different angles and approaches to research, and these research are obviously needed for Indonesia. Having these women professionals at the dive centres, they can be role models for other people. Other women especially.”

Julia Footnick, Co-owner of Purple Dive Penida

Paul Tanner, Territory Director from PADI shed light on efforts to encourage dive centres to become eco centres and amplify the importance of sustainable practices within the industry.

“65% of consumers are considering sustainability choices when they are purchasing any type of product. Assuming the percentage would be even higher for divers. Therefore, dive centres have to evolve.”

Paul Tanner, Territory Director from PADI

Michael Purnabimba, an ocean advocate, underscored the significance of consumer demand for sustainable services and shared insights into selecting businesses aligned with personal values.

“Our water and ocean is one. It’s our responsibility to preserve it. This is my belief.”

Micheal Purnabimba

Key Takeaways

As the dialogue concluded, several key takeaways emerged:

  • Sustainability should be at the heart of business operations, driving decision-making and innovation.
  • Consumer perceptions of plastic packaging and product sustainability are evolving, presenting opportunities for businesses to lead the way with eco-friendly alternatives.
  • Supporting women, including women-led research, and prioritising sustainability from the outset are critical for the long-term success of marine tourism businesses.
  • Consumer demand for sustainable services is on the rise, emphasising the need for businesses to prioritise environmental responsibility.

Closing Thoughts

The Reef-World Foundation is inspired by the collective commitment of industry leaders to embrace sustainability and drive positive change in the marine tourism sector. By working together, we can create a brighter, bluer future for our oceans and future generations.

Final Remarks

As we reflect on the insights shared during the ADEX Sustainable Diving Dialogue, let’s remain committed to charting a course towards a sustainable future for marine tourism. Together, we can make waves of change and ensure that our oceans thrive for generations to come.

Thank you for joining this journey towards sustainable diving practices and a thriving Blue Economy. Let’s dive deep into sustainability and create a brighter, bluer tomorrow!